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Countries > United States of America United States of America Flag
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Capital: Washington, D.C.
Population: 263,300,000
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United States of America Map

Geography

Location: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico

Geographic coordinates: 38 00 N, 97 00 W

Map references: North America

Area:
total: 9,629,091 sq km
land: 9,158,960 sq km
water : 470,131 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia

Area - comparative: about one-half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe

Land boundaries:
total: 12,248 km
border countries : Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Cuba 29 km (US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay), Mexico 3,326 km
note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba

Coastline: 19,924 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone : 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida and arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains

Terrain: vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m

Natural resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber

Land use:
arable land: 19%
permanent crops : 0%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 30%
other: 26% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 214,000 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic coast; tornadoes in the midwest; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska is a major impediment to development

Environment - current issues: air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; very limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes

Geography - note: world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada)

People

Population: 280,562,489 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21% (male 30,116,782; female 28,765,183)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 92,391,120; female 93,986,468)
65 years and over : 12.6% (male 14,748,522; female 20,554,414) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.89% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 14.1 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 8.7 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:3.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years : 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years:0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population:0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:77.4 years
male: 74.5 years
female :80.2 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Nationality:
noun: American(s)
adjective: American

Ethnic groups:white 77.1%, black 12.9%, Asian 4.2%, Amerindian and Alaska native 1.5%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.3%, other 4% (2000)

Religions:Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%, none 10% (1989)

Languages: English, Spanish (spoken by a sizable minority)

Literacy:
definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 97% (1979 est.)

Government

Country name:
conventional long form : United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA

Data code: US

Government type: federal republic; strong democratic tradition

National capital: Washington, DC

Administrative divisions: 50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Dependent areas: American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island
note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but recently entered into a new political relationship with all four political units: the Northern Mariana Islands is a Commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986)

Independence: 4 July 1776 (from England)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 July (1776)

Constitution: 17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001) and Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval
elections:president and vice president elected on the same ticket by a college of representatives who are elected directly from each state; president and vice president serve four-year terms; election last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 2 November 2004)
election results: George W. BUSH elected president; percent of popular vote - George W. BUSH (Republican Party) 48%, Albert A. GORE, Jr. (Democratic Party) 48%, Ralph NADER (Green Party) 3%, other 1%

Legislative branch:bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, one-third are renewed every two years; two members are elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (435 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 4 November 2002); House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 4 November 2002)
election results : Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 50, Republican Party 49, independent 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Republican Party 221, Democratic Party 211, independent 2, vacant 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (its nine justices are appointed for life by the president with confirmation by the Senate); United States Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party [Terence McAULIFFE, national committee chairman]; Green Party [leader NA]; Republican Party [Governor Marc RACICOT, national committee chairman]

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), ANZUS, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE (observer), CP, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, FAO, G- 2, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, INURSO, MTCR, NACC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIH, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UNRWA, UNTAES, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Flag description: thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small white five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; known as Old Glory; the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico

Economy

Economy - overview: The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $36,300. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy considerably greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, lay off surplus workers, and develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to entry in their rivals' home markets than the barriers to entry of foreign firms in US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment, although their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The years 1994-2000 witnessed solid increases in real output, low inflation rates, and a drop in unemployment to below 5%. The year 2001 witnessed the end of the boom psychology and performance, with output increasing only 0.3% and unemployment and business failures rising substantially. The response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. Moderate recovery is expected in 2002, with the GDP growth rate rising to 2.5% or more. A major short-term problem in first half 2002 was a sharp decline in the stock market, fueled in part by the exposure of dubious accounting practices in some major corporations. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $10.082 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $36,300 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry:18%
services:80% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 2.8% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 141.8 million (includes unemployed) (2001)
by occupation: mmanagerial and professional 31%, technical, sales and administrative support 28.9%, services 13.6%, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and crafts 24.1%, farming, forestry, and fishing 2.4% (2001)

Unemployment rate: 5% (2001)

Budget:
revenues:$1.828 trillion
expenditures: $1.703 trillion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)

Industries: leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining

Industrial production growth rate: -3.7% (2001 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 702.7 million kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 3.5357 trillion kWh (1995)3,799.944 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 3.613 trillion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: wheat, other grains, corn, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest products; fish

Exports:
total value: $723 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities : capital goods, automobiles, industrial supplies and raw materials, consumer goods, agricultural products
partners: CCanada 22.4%, Mexico 13.9%, Japan 7.9%, UK 5.6%, Germany 4.1%, France, Netherlands (2001)

Imports:
total value: $1.148 trillion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: crude oil and refined petroleum products, machinery, automobiles, consumer goods, industrial raw materials, food and beverages
partners : Canada 19%, Mexico 11.5%, Japan 11.1%, China 8.9%, Germany 5.2%, UK, Taiwan (2001)

Debt - external:$862 billion (1995 est.)

Economic aid:
donor : ODA, $6.9 billion (1997)

Currency: 1 United States dollar (USD) = 100 cents

Exchange rates:British pounds per US dollar - 0.6981 (January 2002), 0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6106 (1997); Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.6003 (January 2002), 1.5488 (2001), 1.4851 (2000), 1.4857 (1999), 1.4835 (1998), 1.3846 (1997); French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997); Italian lire per US dollar - 1,668.7 (January 1999), 1,763.2 (1998), 1,703.1 (1997); Japanese yen per US dollar - 132.66 (January 2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998), 120.99 (1997); German deutsche marks per US dollar - 1.69 (January 1999), 1.9692 (1998), 1.7341 (1997); euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.08540 (2000), 0.93863 (1999)

Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Communications

Telephones: 194 million (1997)

Telephone system: very large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system
domestic: large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries every form of telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout the country
international : 24 ocean cable systems in use; satellite earth stations - 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2000)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4,762, FM 5,542, shortwave 18 (1998)

Radios: 575 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: more than 1,500 (including nearly 1,000 stations affiliated with the five major networks - NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and PBS; in addition, there are about 9,000 cable TV systems) (1997)

Televisions: 219 million (1997)

Transportation

Railways:
total: 212,433 km mainline routes
standard gauge: 212,433 km 1.435-m gauge

Highways:
total : 6,370,031 km
paved:5,733,028 km (including 74,091 km of expressways)
unpaved: 637,003 km (1997)

Waterways: 41,009 km of navigable inland channels, exclusive of the Great Lakes

Pipelines: petroleum products 276,000 km; natural gas 331,000 km (1991)

Ports and harbors: Anchorage, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Duluth, Hampton Roads, Honolulu, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Port Canaveral, Portland (Oregon), Prudhoe Bay, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle, Tampa, Toledo

Merchant marine:
total:264 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,911,641 GRT/9,985,660 DWT
ships by type :barge carrier 1, bulk 11, cargo 14, chemical tanker 16, collier 1, combination bulk 4, combination tanker 11, container 86, multi-functional large-load carrier 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 81, roll on/roll off 28, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1, Canada 4, Denmark 15, France 1, Germany 1, Netherlands 3, Norway 7, Puerto Rico 4, Singapore 11, Sweden 1, United Kingdom 3 (2002 est.)

Airports: 14,695 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total:5,127
over 3,047 m: 183
2,438 to 3,047 m:222
1,524 to 2,437 m:1,342
914 to 1,523 m: 2,413
under 914 m : 967 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total:9,568
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m :165
914 to 1,523 m: 1,679
under 914 m :7,716 (2001)

Heliports: 132 (2001)

Military

Military branches: Department of the Army, Department of the Navy (includes Marine Corps), Department of the Air Force
note: the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Transportation, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 70,819,436 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: NA (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 2,053,179 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $276.7 billion (FY99 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.2% (FY99 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: maritime boundary disputes with Canada (Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Machias Seal Island); US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation; Republic of Marshall Islands claims Wake Island

Illicit drugs: consumer of cocaine shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean; consumer of heroin, marijuana, and increasingly methamphetamines from Mexico; consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamines; drug money-laundering center