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United States

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United States of America
Flag Great Seal

In God we trust” (official)[1][2][3]
Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner



Projection of North America with the United States in green

The contiguous United States plus Alaska and Hawaiiin green
The United States and its territories

The United States and its territories
Capital Washington, D.C.
38°53′N 77°01′W
Largest city New York City
40°43′N 74°00′W
Official languages None at federal level
Recognised regional languages
National language English[b]
Demonym American
Government Federal presidentialconstitutional republic
 –  President Barack Obama
 –  Vice President Joe Biden
 –  Speaker of the House John Boehner
 –  Chief Justice John Roberts
Legislature Congress
 –  Upper house Senate
 –  Lower house House of Representatives
Independence from Great Britain
 –  Declared July 4, 1776 
 –  Recognized September 3, 1783 
 –  Constitution June 21, 1788 
 –  Current composition August 21, 1959 
 –  Total 9,857,306[4] km2 (3rd)
3,805,927[4] sq mi
 –  Water (%) 2.23
 –  2015 estimate 320,206,000[5] (3rd)
 –  Density 34.2/km2 (180th)
88.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate
 –  Total $16.72 trillion [6](1st)
 –  Per capita $52,800 [6] (14th)
GDP (nominal) 2013 estimate
 –  Total $16.768 trillion[7](1st)
 –  Per capita $53,042[8] (9th)
Gini (2012) 40.8[9]
medium · 95th (2013)
HDI (2013) Steady 0.914[10]
very high · 5th
Currency United States dollar ($) (USD)
Time zone (UTC−5 to −10)
 –  Summer (DST)  (UTC−4 to −10[d])
Drives on the right[e]
Calling code +1
ISO 3166 code US
Internet TLD .us   .gov   .mil   .edu
a. ^ English is the official language of at least 28 states; some sources give higher figures, based on differing definitions of “official”.[11] English and Hawaiian are both official languages in the state of Hawaii.French is a de facto language in the states ofMaine and Louisiana, while New Mexico state law grants Spanish a special status.[12][13][14][15] Cherokee is an official language in the Cherokee Nation tribal jurisdiction area and in the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians based in east and northeast Oklahoma.[16][17][18]
b. ^ English is the de facto language of American government and the sole language spoken at home by 80 percent of Americans aged five and older. 28 states and five territories have made English an official language. Other official languages include HawaiianSamoanChamorro,CarolinianSpanish and Cherokee.
c. ^ Whether the United States or China is larger has been disputed. The figure given is from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency‘s The World Factbook. Other sources give smaller figures. All authoritative calculations of the country’s size include only the 50 states and the District of Columbia, not the territories.
d. ^ See Time in the United States for details about laws governing time zones in the United States.
e. ^ Except U.S. Virgin Islands.

The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (U.S.), America, and sometimesthe States, is a federal republic[19][20] consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is located in the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.80 million square miles (9.85 million km2)[4] and with around 318 million people, the United States is the world’s fourth-largest country by total area and third-largest by population. It is one of the world’s mostethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries.[21] Thegeography and climate of the United States are also extremely diverse, and the country is home to a wide variety of wildlife.[22]

Paleo-Indians migrated from Eurasia to what is now the U.S. mainland around 15,000 years ago,[23] with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along theEast Coast. Disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, as the colonies were fighting Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire.[24][25] The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee manyfundamental civil rights and freedoms.

Driven by the doctrine of manifest destiny, the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century.[26] This involved displacing native tribesacquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states, until by 1848 the nation spanned the continent.[26] During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War ended legal slavery in the country.[27] By the end of that century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean,[28] and the economy driven in part by the Industrial Revolutionbegan to soar.[29] The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country’s status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower.[30]

The United States is a developed country and has the world’s largest national economy,[31] benefiting from an abundance of natural resources and high worker productivity.[32] While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, the country continues to be one of the world’s largest manufacturers.[33] Accounting for 37% ofglobal military spending,[34] it is the world’s foremost economic and military power, a prominent political andcultural force, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.[35]


In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere “America” after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (LatinAmericus Vespucius).[36] The first documentary evidence of the phrase “United States of America” is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq.George Washington’s aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army. Addressed to Lt. Col. Joseph Reed, Moylan expressed his wish to carry the “full and ample powers of the United States of America” to Spain to assist in the revolutionary war effort.[37]

The first publicly published evidence of the phrase “United States of America” was in an anonymously written essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776.[38][39] In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson included the phrase “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in all capitalized letters in the headline of his “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence.[40][41] In the final Fourth of July version of the Declaration, the pertinent section of the title was changed to read, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America”.[42] In 1777 the Articles of Confederation announced, “The Stile of this Confederacy shall be ‘The United States of America'”.[43]

The short form “United States” is also standard. Other common forms include the “U.S.”, the “USA”, and “America”. Colloquial names include the “U.S. of A.” and, internationally, the “States”. “Columbia“, a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 1700s, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name “District of Columbia“.[44] In non-English languages, the name is frequently the translation of either the “United States” or “United States of America”, and colloquially as “America”. In addition, an abbreviation (e.g. USA) is sometimes used.[45]

The phrase “United States” was originally treated as plural, a description of a collection of independent states—e.g., “the United States are”—including in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865. It became common to treat it as singular, a single unit—e.g., “the United States is”—after the end of the Civil War. The singular form is now standard; the plural form is retained in the idiom “these United States”.[46] The difference has been described as more significant than one of usage, but reflecting the difference between a collection of states and a unit.[47]

The standard way to refer to a citizen of the United States is as an “American“. “United States”, “American” and “U.S.” are used to refer to the country adjectivally (“American values”, “U.S. forces”). “American” is rarely used in English to refer to subjects not connected with the United States.[48]


Native Americans meeting with Europeans, 1764

Native American and European contact

The first North American settlers migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge approximately 15,000 or more years ago.[23][49][50] Some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies. After European explorers and traders made the first contacts, the native population declined for various reasons, including diseases, such as smallpox and measles,[51][52] and violence.[53][54][55]

In the early days of colonization many settlers were subject to food shortages, disease and attacks from Native Americans. Native Americans were also often at war with neighboring tribes and allied with Europeans in their colonial wars.[56] At the same time, however, many natives and settlers came to depend on each other. Settlers traded for food and animal pelts, natives for guns, ammunition and other European wares.[57] Natives taught many settlers where, when and how to cultivate corn, beans and squash. European missionaries and others felt it was important to “civilize” the Indians and urged them to concentrate on farming and ranching rather than depending on hunting and gathering.[58][59]


Signing of the Mayflower Compact, 1620

After Columbus‘ first voyage to the New World in 1492, other explorers followed with settlement into the Floridas and the American Southwest.[60][61] There were also some French attempts to colonize the east coast, and later more successful settlements along the Mississippi River. Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 atJamestown and the Pilgrims’ Plymouth Colony in 1620. Early experiments in communal living failed until the introduction of private farm holdings.[62] Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom. The continent’s first elected legislative assembly, Virginia’s House of Burgesses created in 1619, and the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.[63][64]

Most settlers in every colony were small farmers, but other industries developed within a few decades as varied as the settlements. Cash crops included tobacco, rice and wheat. Extraction industries grew up in furs, fishing and lumber. Manufacturers produced rum and ships, and by the late colonial period Americans were producing one-seventh of the world’s iron supply.[65] Cities eventually dotted the coast to support local economies and serve as trade hubs. English colonists were supplemented by waves of Scotch-Irish and other groups. As coastal land grew more expensive freed indentured servants pushed further west.[66] Slave cultivation of cash crops began with the Spanish in the 1500s, and was adopted by the English, but life expectancy was much higher in North America because of less disease and better food and treatment, leading to a rapid increase in the numbers of slaves.[67][68][69] Colonial society was largely divided over the religious and moral implications of slavery and colonies passed acts for and against the practice.[70][71] But by the turn of the 18th century, African slaves were replacing indentured servants for cash crop labor, especially in southern regions.[72]

With the colonization of Georgia in 1732, the 13 colonies that would become the United States of America were established.[73] All had local governments with elections open to most free men, with a growing devotion to the ancient rights of Englishmen and a sense of self-government stimulating support for republicanism.[74] With extremely high birth rates, low death rates, and steady settlement, the colonial population grew rapidly. Relatively small Native American populations were eclipsed.[75] The Christian revivalist movement of the 1730s and 1740s known as the Great Awakening fueled interest in both religion and religious liberty.[76]

In the French and Indian War, British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies. Excluding the Native Americans, who were being conquered and displaced, those 13 colonies had a population of over 2.1 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain. Despite continuing new arrivals, the rate of natural increase was such that by the 1770s only a small minority of Americans had been born overseas.[77] The colonies’ distance from Britain had allowed the development of self-government, but their success motivated monarchs to periodically seek to reassert royal authority.[78]

Independence and expansion

The Declaration of Independence: theCommittee of Five presenting their draft to the Second Continental Congress in 1776

The American Revolutionary War was the first successful colonial war of independence against a European power. Americans had developed an ideology of “republicanism” asserting that government rested on the will of the people as expressed in their local legislatures. They demanded their rights as Englishmen, “no taxation without representation”. The British insisted on administering the empire through Parliament, and the conflict escalated into war.[79] Following the passage of the Lee Resolution, on July 2, 1776, which was the actual vote for independence, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, which proclaimed, in a long preamble, that humanity is created equal in their unalienable rights and that those rights were not being protected by Great Britain, and finally declared, in the words of the resolution, that the Thirteen Colonies were independent states and had no allegiance to the British crown in the United States. July fourth is celebrated annually as Independence Day. In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak government that operated until 1789.[80]

Britain recognized the independence of the United States following their defeat at Yorktown.[81] In the peace treaty of 1783, American sovereignty was recognized from the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River. Nationalists led the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in writing the United States Constitutionratified in state conventions in 1788. The federal government was reorganized into three branches, on the principle of creating salutary checks and balances, in 1789. George Washington, who had led the revolutionary army to victory, was the first president elected under the new constitution. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791.[82]

Although the federal government criminalized the international slave trade in 1808, after 1820 cultivation of the highly profitable cotton crop exploded in theDeep South, and along with it the slave population.[83][84][85] The Second Great Awakening, beginning about 1800, converted millions to evangelical Protestantism. In the North it energized multiple social reform movements, including abolitionism;[86] in the South, Methodists and Baptists proselytized among slave populations.[87]

Americans’ eagerness to expand westward prompted a long series of American Indian Wars.[88] The Louisiana Purchase of French-claimed territory in 1803 almost doubled the nation’s size.[89] The War of 1812, declared against Britain over various grievances and fought to a draw, strengthened U.S. nationalism.[90] A series of U.S. military incursions into Florida led Spain to cede it and other Gulf Coast territory in 1819.[91] Expansion was aided by steam power, whensteamboats began traveling along America’s large water systems, which were connected by new canals, such as the Erie and the I&M; then, even faster railroads began their stretch across the nation’s land.[92]

U.S. territorial acquisitions–portions of each territory were granted statehood since the 18th century.

From 1820 to 1850, Jacksonian democracy began a set of reforms which included wider male suffrage; it led to the rise of the Second Party System of Democrats and Whigs as the dominant parties from 1828 to 1854. The Trail of Tears in the 1830s exemplified the Indian removal policy that moved Indians into the west to their own reservations. The U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845 during a period of expansionist Manifest destiny.[93]The 1846 Oregon Treaty with Britain led to U.S. control of the present-day American Northwest.[94] Victory in theMexican–American War resulted in the 1848 Mexican Cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest.[95]

The California Gold Rush of 1848–49 spurred western migration and the creation of additional western states.[96]After the American Civil War, new transcontinental railways made relocation easier for settlers, expanded internal trade and increased conflicts with Native Americans.[97] Over a half-century, the loss of the buffalo was an existential blow to many Plains Indians cultures.[98] In 1869, a new Peace Policy sought to protect Native-Americans from abuses, avoid further warfare, and secure their eventual U.S. citizenship.[99]

Civil War and Reconstruction Era

Further information: American Civil War and Reconstruction Era

From the beginning of the United States, inherent divisions over slavery between the North and the South in American society ultimately led to the American Civil War.[100] Initially, states entering the Union alternated between slave and free states, keeping a sectional balance in the Senate, while free states outstripped slave states in population and in the House of Representatives. But with additional western territory and more free-soil states, tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over federalism and disposition of the territories, whether and how to expand or restrict slavery.[101]

With the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, the first president from the largely anti-slavery Republican Party, conventions in thirteen states ultimately declared secession and formed the Confederate States of America, while the U.S. federal government maintained that secession was illegal.[101] The ensuing war was at first for Union, then after 1863 as casualties mounted and Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation, a second war aim became abolition of slavery. The war remains the deadliest military conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 618,000 soldiers as well as many civilians.[102]

Following the Union victory in 1865, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution brought about the prohibition of slavery, gave U.S. citizenship to the nearly four million African Americans who had been slaves,[103] and promised them voting rights. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power[104] aimed at reintegrating and rebuilding the Southern states while ensuring the rights of the newly freed slaves.[105] But following the Reconstruction Era, throughout the South Jim Crow laws soon effectively disenfranchised most blacks and some poor whites. Over the subsequent decades, in both the North and the South blacks and some whites faced systemic discrimination, including racial segregation and occasional vigilante violence, sparking national movementsagainst these abuses.[105]


Further information: Labor history of the United States

Ellis Island, in New York City, was a major gateway for the influx of immigration from Europe

In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe supplied a surplus of labor for the country’s industrialization and transformed its culture.[106] National infrastructure including telegraph andtranscontinental railroads spurred economic growth and greater settlement and development of the American Old West. The later invention of electric light and the telephone would also impact communication and urban life.[107] The end of theIndian Wars further expanded acreage under mechanical cultivation, increasing surpluses for international markets.[108]Mainland expansion was completed by the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.[109] In 1898 the U.S. entered the world stage with important sugar production and strategic facilities acquired in Hawaii.[110] Puerto RicoGuam, and the Philippines were ceded by Spain in the same year, following the Spanish–American War.[111]

Rapid economic development at the end of the 19th century produced many prominent industrialists, and the U.S. economy became the world’s largest.[112] Dramatic changes were accompanied by social unrest and the rise of populistsocialist, andanarchist movements.[113] This period eventually ended with the advent of the Progressive Era, which saw significant reforms in many societal areas, including women’s suffragealcohol prohibition, regulation of consumer goods, greater antitrust measures to ensure competition and attention to worker conditions.

World War I, Great Depression, and World War II

Further information: World War IGreat Depression and World War II

U.S. troops approaching Omaha Beach during World War II

The United States remained neutral at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, though by 1917, it joined the Allies, helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson took a leading diplomatic role at the Paris Peace Conference and advocated strongly for the U.S. to join the League of Nations. However, the Senate refused to approve this, and did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles that established the League of Nations.[114]

In 1920, the women’s rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women’s suffrage.[115] The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of radio for mass communication and the invention of early television.[116] The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal, which included the establishment of the Social Security system.[117]The Great Migration of millions of African Americans out of the American South began around WWI and extended through the 1960s;[118] whereas the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration.[119]

The United States was at first effectively neutral during World War II‘s early stages but began supplying material to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to join the Allies against theAxis powers.[120] Though the nation lost more than 400,000 soldiers,[121] it emerged relatively undamaged from the war with even greater economic and military influence.[122] Allied conferences at Bretton Woods and Yalta outlined a new system of international organizations that placed the United States and Soviet Unionat the center of world affairs. As an Allied victory was won in Europe, a 1945 international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war.[123] The United States developed the first nuclear weapons and used them on Japan; the Japanese surrendered on September 2, ending World War II.[124]

Cold War and civil rights era

US President Ronald Reagan (left) and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, meeting in Geneva in 1985

After World War II the United States and the Soviet Union jockeyed for power during what is known as the Cold War, driven by an ideological divide between capitalism and communism.[125] They dominated the military affairs of Europe, with the U.S. and its NATO allies on one side and the USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies on the other. The U.S. developed a policy of “containment” toward Soviet bloc expansion. While they engaged in proxy wars and developed powerful nuclear arsenals, the two countries avoided direct military conflict. The U.S. often opposed Third World left-wing movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored. American troops fought Communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War of 1950–53. The Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the first artificial satellite and its 1961 launch of the first manned spaceflight initiated a “Space Race” in which the United States became the first to land a man on the moon in 1969.[126] A proxy war was expanded in Southeast Asia with the Vietnam War.[fn 1]

At home, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion and a rapid growth of its population and middle class. Construction of an Interstate Highway System transformed the nation’s infrastructure over the following decades. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments.[133][134] A growing civil rights movement usednonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination, with Martin Luther King, Jr. becoming a prominent leader and figurehead. A combination of court decisions and legislation, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sought to end racial discrimination.[135][136][137] Meanwhile, a counterculture movementgrew which was fueled by opposition to the Vietnam warblack nationalism, and the sexual revolution. The launch of a “War on Poverty” expanded entitlement and welfare spending.[138]

The 1970s and early 1980s saw the onset of stagflation. After his election in 1980, President Ronald Reagan responded to economic stagnation with free-market oriented reforms. Following the collapse of détente, he abandoned “containment” and initiated the more aggressive “rollback” strategy towards the USSR.[139][140][141][142][143] After a surge in female labor participation over the previous decade, by 1985 the majority of women aged 16 and over were employed.[144] The late 1980s brought a “thaw” in relations with the USSR, and its collapse in 1991 finally ended the Cold War.[145][146][147][148]

Contemporary history

The former World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan on 9/11

One World Trade Center, built in its former place

After the Cold War, the 1990s saw the longest economic expansion in modern U.S. history, ending in 2001.[149] Originating in U.S. defense networks, the Internet spread to international academic networks, and then to the public in the 1990s, greatly impacting the global economy, society, and culture.[150] OnSeptember 11, 2001Al-Qaeda terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagonnear Washington, D.C., killing nearly 3,000 people.[151] In response the United States launched the War on Terror, which includes the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the 2003–11 Iraq War.[152][153]

Beginning in 1994, the U.S. participates in the world’s largest trade bloc in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), linking 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services. The goal of the agreement among the U.S., Canada and Mexico was met to eliminate trade and investment barriers among them by January 1, 2008; trade among the partners has soared since the agreement went into force.[154]

Barack Obama, the first African American,[155] and multiracial[156] president, was elected in 2008 amid the Great Recession,[157] which began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.[158]

Geography, climate, and environment

A composite satellite image of the contiguous United States and surrounding areas

The land area of the contiguous United States is 2,959,064 square miles (7,663,941 km2). Alaska, separated from the contiguous United States by Canada, is the largest state at 663,268 square miles (1,717,856 km2). Hawaii, occupying an archipelago in the central Pacific, southwest of North America, is 10,931 square miles (28,311 km2) in area.[159]

The United States is the world’s third or fourth largest nation by total area (land and water), ranking behind Russia and Canada and just above or below China. The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted and how the total size of the United States is measured: calculations range from 3,676,486 square miles (9,522,055 km2)[160] to 3,717,813 square miles (9,629,091 km2)[161] to 3,794,101 square miles (9,826,676 km2).[6] to 3,805,927 square miles (9,857,306 km2).[4] Measured by only land area, the United States is third in size behind Russia and China, just ahead of Canada.[162]

The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of thePiedmont.[163] The Appalachian Mountains divide the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest.[164] The MississippiMissouri River, the world’s fourth longest river system, runs mainly north–south through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.[164]

The Rocky Mountains, at the western edge of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) inColorado.[165] Farther west are the rocky Great Basin and deserts such as the Chihuahua and Mojave.[166] The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast, both ranges reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m). The lowest and highest points in the continental United States are in the state of California,[167] and only about 84 miles (135 km) apart.[168] At 20,320 feet (6,194 m), Alaska’s Mount McKinley is the tallest peak in the country and in North America.[169] Active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska’s Alexander and Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii consists of volcanic islands. Thesupervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent’s largest volcanic feature.[170]

The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south.[171] The southern tip of Florida is tropical, as is Hawaii.[172] The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Western mountains have an alpine climate. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean incoastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Extreme weather is not uncommon—the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and most of the world’s tornadoes occur within the country, mainly in Tornado Alley areas in the Midwest.[173]


The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.

The U.S. ecology is megadiverse: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland.[174] The United States is home to 428 mammal species, 784 bird species, 311 reptile species, and 295 amphibian species.[175] About 91,000 insect species have been described.[176] The bald eagle is both the national bird and national animal of the United States, and is an enduring symbol of the country itself.[177]

There are 58 national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas.[178] Altogether, the government owns about 28% of the country’s land area.[179] Most of this is protected, though some is leased for oil and gas drilling, mining, logging, or cattle ranching; about .86% is used for military purposes.[180][181]

Environmental issues have been on the national agenda since 1970. Environmental controversies include debates on oil and nuclear energy, dealing with air and water pollution, the economic costs of protecting wildlife, logging and deforestation,[182][183] and international responses to global warming.[184][185] Many federal and state agencies are involved. The most prominent is theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA), created by presidential order in 1970.[186] The idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since 1964, with the Wilderness Act.[187] The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is intended to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats, which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.[188]



Largest ancestry groups by county, 2000

Race/Ethnicity (2013)
By race:[189]
White 77.7%
African American 13.2%
Asian 5.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 0.2%
Multiracial (2 or more) 2.4%
By ethnicity:[189]
Hispanic/Latino (of any race) 17.1%
Non-Hispanic/Latino (of any race) 82.9%

The Statue of Liberty in New York City is a symbol of both the U.S. and the ideals of freedom, democracy, and opportunity.[190]

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the country’s population now to be 320,267,000,[5] The U.S. population almost quadrupled during the 20th century, from about 76 million in 1900.[191] The third most populous nation in the world, after China and India, the United States is the only major industrialized nation in which large population increases are projected.[192]

The United States has a very diverse population; 37 ancestry groups have more than one million members.[193] German Americans are the largest ethnic group (more than 50 million) – followed byIrish Americans (circa 37 million), Mexican Americans (circa 31 million) and English Americans(circa 28 million).[194][195]

White Americans are the largest racial groupBlack Americans are the nation’s largest racial minority and third largest ancestry group.[193] Asian Americans are the country’s second largest racial minority; the three largest Asian American ethnic groups are Chinese AmericansFilipino Americans, and Indian Americans.[193]

The United States has a birth rate of 13 per 1,000, which is 5 births below the world average.[196]Its population growth rate is positive at 0.7%, higher than that of many developed nations.[197] In fiscal year 2012, over one million immigrants (most of whom entered through family reunification) were granted legal residence.[198] Mexico has been the leading source of new residents since the 1965 Immigration ActChina,India, and the Philippines have been in the top four sending countries every year since the 1990s.[199] As of 2012, approximately 11.4 million residents are illegal immigrants.[200]

According to a survey conducted by the Williams Institute, nine million Americans, or roughly 3.4% of the adult population identify themselves as homosexualbisexual, or transgender.[201][202] A 2012 Gallup poll also concluded that 3.5% of adult Americans identified as LGBT. The highest percentage came from the District of Columbia (10%), while the lowest state was North Dakota at 1.7%.[203] In a 2013 survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 96.6% of Americans identify as straight, while 1.6% identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identify as being bisexual.[204]

In 2010, the U.S. population included an estimated 5.2 million people with some American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry (2.9 million exclusively of such ancestry) and 1.2 million with some native Hawaiian or Pacific island ancestry (0.5 million exclusively).[205] The census counted more than 19 million people of “Some Other Race” who were “unable to identify with any” of its five official race categories in 2010.[205]

The population growth of Hispanic and Latino Americans (the terms are officially interchangeable) is a major demographic trend. The 50.5 million Americans of Hispanic descent[205] are identified as sharing a distinct “ethnicity” by the Census Bureau; 64% of Hispanic Americans are of Mexican descent.[206] Between 2000 and 2010, the country’s Hispanic population increased 43% while the non-Hispanic population rose just 4.9%.[207] Much of this growth is from immigration; in 2007, 12.6% of the U.S. population was foreign-born, with 54% of that figure born in Latin America.[208]

Fertility is also a factor; in 2010 the average Hispanic (of any race) woman gave birth to 2.35 children in her lifetime, compared to 1.97 for non-Hispanic black women and 1.79 for non-Hispanic white women (both below the replacement rate of 2.1).[209] Minorities (as defined by the Census Bureau as all those beside non-Hispanic, non-multiracial whites) constituted 36.3% of the population in 2010,[210] and over 50% of children under age one,[211] and are projected to constitute the majority by 2042.[212] This contradicts the report by the National Vital Statistics Reports, based on the U.S. census data, which concludes that 54% (2,162,406 out of 3,999,386 in 2010) of births were non-Hispanic white.[209]

About 82% of Americans live in urban areas (including suburbs);[6] about half of those reside in cities with populations over 50,000.[213] In 2008, 273 incorporated places had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than one million residents, and four global cities had over two million (New York CityLos AngelesChicago, and Houston).[214] There are 52metropolitan areas with populations greater than one million.[215] Of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas, 47 are in the West or South.[216] The metro areas of Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Phoenix all grew by more than a million people between 2000 and 2008.[215]


Languages spoken at home by more than 1,000,000 persons in the U.S.
as of 2010

Language Percent of
Number of
English (only) 80% 233,780,338
Combined total of all languages
other than English
20% 57,048,617
(excluding Puerto Rico and Spanish Creole)
12% 35,437,985
(including Cantonese and Mandarin)
0.9% 2,567,779
Tagalog 0.5% 1,542,118
Vietnamese 0.4% 1,292,448
French 0.4% 1,288,833
Korean 0.4% 1,108,408
German 0.4% 1,107,869

English (American English) is the de facto national language. Although there is noofficial language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2010, about 230 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language.[218][219] Some Americans advocate making English the country’s official language, as it is in 28 states.[11]

Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii, by state law.[220] While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French.[221] Other states, such asCalifornia, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents including court forms.[222] Many jurisdictions with large numbers of non-English speakers produce government materials, especially voting information, in the most commonly spoken languages in those jurisdictions.

Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan[223] and Chamorro[224] are recognized by American Samoa and Guam, respectively; Carolinian and Chamorro are recognized by the Northern Mariana Islands;[225] Cherokee is officially recognized by the Cherokee Nation within the Cherokee tribal jurisdiction area in eastern Oklahoma;[226] Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico and is more widely spoken than English there.[227]


Religious affiliation in the U.S. (2007)[228]

Affiliation % of U.S. population
Christian 78.5
Evangelical Protestant 26.3
Catholic 23.9
Mainline Protestant 18.1
Black Protestant 6.9
Mormon 1.7
Other Christian 1.6
Judaism 1.7
Buddhism 0.7
Islam 0.6
Hinduism 0.4
Other faith 1.2
Unaffiliated 16.1
Don’t know/refused answer 0.8
Total 100

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids Congress from passing laws respecting its establishmentChristianity is by far the most common religion practiced in the U.S., but other religions are followed, too. In a 2013 survey, 56% of Americans said that religion played a “very important role in their lives”, a far higher figure than that of any other wealthy nation.[229] In a 2009 Gallup poll 42% of Americans said that they attended church weekly or almost weekly; the figures ranged from a low of 23% in Vermont to a high of 63% in Mississippi.[230] As with other Western countries, the U.S. is becoming less religious.Irreligion is growing rapidly among Americans under 30.[231] Polls show that overall American confidence in organized religion is declining,[232] and that younger Americans in particular are becoming increasingly irreligious.[233]

According to a 2014 survey, 78.5% of adults identified themselves as Christian,[234] Protestantdenominations accounted for 51.3%, while Roman Catholicism, at 23.9%, was the largest individual denomination.[235] The total reporting non-Christian religions in 2012 was 4.9%, up from 4% in 2007.[235] Other religions include Judaism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Islam (0.6%), Hinduism (0.4%), and Unitarian Universalism (0.3%).[235] The survey also reported that 16.1% of Americans described themselves as agnosticatheist or simply having no religion, up from 8.2% in 1990.[235][236][237]There are also Baha’iSikhJainShintoConfucianTaoistDruidNative AmericanWiccan,humanist and deist communities.[238]

Protestantism is the largest Christian religious grouping in the United States. Baptists collectively form the largest branch of Protestantism, and the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest individual Protestant denomination. About 26 percent of Americans identify as Evangelical Protestants, while 18 percent are Mainline and 7 percent belong to a traditionally Black church.Roman Catholicism in the United States has its origin in the Spanish and French colonization of the Americas, and later grew due to Irish, Italian, Polish, German and Hispanic immigration. Rhode Island is the only state where a majority of the population is Catholic. Lutheranism in the U.S. has its origin in immigration from Northern EuropeNorth and South Dakota are the only states in which a plurality of the population is Lutheran. Utah is the only state whereMormonism is the religion of the majority of the population. The Mormon Corridor also extends to parts of IdahoNevada and Wyoming.[239]

The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the Southern United States in which socially conservative Evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation’s average. By contrast, religion plays the least important role in New England and in the Western United States.[230]

Family structure

In 2007, 58% of Americans age 18 and over were married, 6% were widowed, 10% were divorced, and 25% had never been married.[240] Women now work mostly outside the home and receive a majority of bachelor’s degrees.[241]

The U.S. teenage pregnancy rate, 79.8 per 1,000 women, is the highest among OECD nations.[242] Between 2007 and 2010, the highest teenage birth rate was inMississippi, and the lowest in New Hampshire.[243] Abortion is legal throughout the U.S., owing to Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. While the abortion rate is falling, the abortion ratio of 241 per 1,000 live births and abortion rate of 15 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 remain higher than those of most Western nations.[244] In 2011, the average age at first birth was 25.6 and 40.7% of births were to unmarried women.[245] The total fertility rate (TFR) was estimated for 2013 at 1.86 births per woman.[246] Adoption in the United States is common and relatively easy from a legal point of view (compared to other Western countries).[247] In 2001, with over 127,000 adoptions, the U.S. accounted for nearly half of the total number of adoptions worldwide.[248] The legal status of same-sex couples adopting varies by jurisdiction. Polygamy is illegal throughout the U.S.[249]

Government and politics

The United States Capitol,
where Congress meets:
the Senate, left; the House, right

The White House, home of the U.S. President

The United States is the world’s oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, “in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law“.[250] The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country’s supreme legal document.[251] For 2013, the U.S. ranked 19th on the Democracy Index[252] and 17th on theCorruption Perceptions Index.[253]

In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local. The local government‘s duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is very rare at lower levels.[254]

Political system of the United States

The federal government is composed of three branches:

The House of Representatives has 435 voting members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population every tenth year. At the 2010 census, seven states had the minimum of one representative, while California, the most populous state, had 53.[259]

The Senate has 100 members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. The President serves a four-year term and may be elected to the office no more than twice. The President is not elected by direct vote, but by an indirectelectoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned to the states and the District of Columbia.[260] The Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of the United States, has nine members, who serve for life.[261]

The state governments are structured in roughly similar fashion; Nebraska uniquely has a unicameral legislature.[262] The governor (chief executive) of each state is directly elected. Some state judges and cabinet officers are appointed by the governors of the respective states, while others are elected by popular vote.

The original text of the Constitution establishes the structure and responsibilities of the federal government and its relationship with the individual states.Article One protects the right to the “great writ” of habeas corpus. The Constitution has been amended 27 times;[263] the first ten amendments, which make up theBill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment form the central basis of Americans’ individual rights. All laws and governmental procedures are subject tojudicial review and any law ruled by the courts to be in violation of the Constitution is voided. The principle of judicial review, not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was established by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803)[264] in a decision handed down by Chief Justice John Marshall.[265]

Political divisions

The United States is a federal union of 50 states. The original 13 states were the successors of the 13 colonies that rebelled against British rule. Early in the country’s history, three new states were organized on territory separated from the claims of the existing states: Kentucky from VirginiaTennessee fromNorth Carolina; and Maine from Massachusetts. Most of the other states have been carved from territories obtained through war or purchase by the U.S. government. One set of exceptions includes VermontTexas, and Hawaii: each was a well-established independent republic before joining the union. During theAmerican Civil WarWest Virginia broke away from Virginia. The most recent state—Hawaii—achieved statehood on August 21, 1959.[266] The states do not have the right to unilaterally secede from the union.[267]

The states compose the vast bulk of the U.S. land mass. The District of Columbia is a federal district which contains the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. The United States also possesses five major overseas territories: Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; andAmerican SamoaGuam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.[268] Those born in the major territories are birthright U.S. citizens except Samoans. Samoans born in American Samoa are born U.S. nationals, and may become naturalized citizens.[269] American citizens residing in the territories have fundamental constitutional protections and elective self-government, with a territorial Member of Congress, but they do not vote for president as states. Territories have personal and business tax regimes different from that of states.[270]

The United States also observes tribal sovereignty of the Native Nations. Though reservations are within state borders, the reservation is a sovereign entity. While the United States recognizes this sovereignty, other countries may not.[271]

Map of USA with state names 2.svg

About this image

Parties and elections

(From left to right) HouseMajority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,House Speaker John Boehner,President Barack ObamaSenateMajority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House in 2011

The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history.[272] For elective offices at most levels, state-administered primary elections choose the major party nominees for subsequent general elections. Since the general election of 1856, the major parties have been the Democratic Partyfounded in 1824, and the Republican Partyfounded in 1854. Since the Civil War, only one third-party presidential candidate—former president Theodore Roosevelt, running as aProgressive in 1912—has won as much as 20% of the popular vote. The third-largest political party is the Libertarian Party. The President and Vice-president are elected through the Electoral College system.[273]

Within American political culture, the Republican Party is considered center-right or conservative and the Democratic Party is considered center-left or liberal.[274] The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as “blue states“, are relatively liberal. The “red states” of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.

The winner of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Democrat Barack Obama, is the 44th U.S. president.

In the 114th United States Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are controlled by the Republican Party. The Senate currently consists of 54 Republicans, and 44 Democrats with two independents who caucus with the Democrats; the House consists of 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats, with one vacancy.[275] In state governorships, there are 31 Republicans, 18 Democrats and one independent.[276] Among the DC mayor and the 5 territorial governors, there are 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats (one is also in the PPD), and 2 Independents.[277]

Since the founding of the United States until the 2000s, the country’s governance has been primarily dominated by White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs). However, the situation has changed recently and of the top 17 positions (four national candidates of the two major party in the 2012 presidential election, four leaders in 112th United States Congress, and nine Supreme Court Justices) there is only one WASP.[278][279][280]

The United Nations Headquartershas been situated in Midtown Manhattan since 1952.

Foreign relations

The United States has an established structure of foreign relations. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and New York City is home to the United Nations Headquarters. It is a member of the G7,[281] G20, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.C., and many have consulatesaround the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. However, CubaIranNorth Korea,Bhutan, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) do not have formal diplomatic relations with the United States (although the U.S. still supplies Taiwan with military equipment).[282]

The United States has a “special relationship” with the United Kingdom[283] and strong ties with Canada,[284] Australia,[285]New Zealand,[286] the Philippines,[287] Japan,[288] South Korea,[289] Israel,[290] and several European Union countries, including FranceItalyGermany, and Spain. It works closely with fellow NATO members on military and security issues and with its neighbors through the Organization of American States and free trade agreements such as the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. In 2008, the United States spent a net $25.4 billion on official development assistance, the most in the world. As a share of America’s large gross national income (GNI), however, the U.S. contribution of 0.18% ranked last among 22 donor states. By contrast, private overseas giving by Americans is relatively generous.[291]

The U.S. exercises full international defense authority and responsibility for three sovereign nations through Compact of Free Association with Micronesia, theMarshall Islands and Palau, all of which are Pacific island nations which were part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands beginning after World War II, and gained independence in subsequent years.[292]

Government finance

Taxes are levied in the United States at the federal, state and local government level. These include taxes on income, payroll, property, sales, imports, estates and gifts, as well as various fees. In 2010 taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP.[293] During FY2012, the federal government collected approximately $2.45 trillion in tax revenue, up $147 billion or 6% versus FY2011 revenues of $2.30 trillion. Primary receipt categories included individual income taxes ($1,132B or 47%), Social Security/Social Insurance taxes ($845B or 35%), and corporate taxes ($242B or 10%).[294]

U.S. taxation is generally progressive, especially the federal income taxes, and is among the most progressive in the developed world,[295] but the incidence ofcorporate income tax has been a matter of considerable ongoing controversy for decades.[296][297] In 2009 the top 10% of earners, with 36% of the nation’s income, paid 78.2% of the federal personal income tax burden, while the bottom 40% had a negative liability.[298] However, payroll taxes for Social Security are a flatregressive tax, with no tax charged on income above $113,700 and no tax at all paid on unearned income from things such as stocks and capital gains.[299][300] The historic reasoning for the regressive nature of the payroll tax is that entitlement programs have not been viewed as welfare transfers.[301][302] The top 10% paid 51.8% of total federal taxes in 2009, and the top 1%, with 13.4% of pre-tax national income, paid 22.3% of federal taxes.[298] In 2013 the Tax Policy Center projected total federal effective tax rates of 35.5% for the top 1%, 27.2% for the top quintile, 13.8% for the middle quintile, and −2.7% for the bottom quintile.[303][304] State and local taxes vary widely, but are generally less progressive than federal taxes as they rely heavily on broadly borne regressivesales and property taxes that yield less volatile revenue streams, though their consideration does not eliminate the progressive nature of overall taxation.[297][305]

During FY 2012, the federal government spent $3.54 trillion on a budget or cash basis, down $60 billion or 1.7% vs. FY 2011 spending of $3.60 trillion. Major categories of FY 2012 spending included: Medicare & Medicaid ($802B or 23% of spending), Social Security ($768B or 22%), Defense Department ($670B or 19%), non-defense discretionary ($615B or 17%), other mandatory ($461B or 13%) and interest ($223B or 6%).[294]

National debt

US federal debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP, from 1790 to 2013

The total national debt in the United States was $18.527 trillion (106% of the GDP), according to an estimate for 2014 by the International Monetary Fund.[306] In January 2015, U.S. federal government debt held by the public was approximately $13 trillion, or about 72% of U.S. GDP. Intra-governmental holdings stood at $5 trillion, giving a combined total debt of $18.080 trillion.[307][308] By 2012, total federal debt had surpassed 100% of U.S. GDP.[309] The U.S. has a credit rating of AA+ from Standard & Poor’s, AAA from Fitch, and Aaa from Moody’s.[310]

Historically, the U.S. public debt as a share of GDP increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 30 years. In recent decades, large budget deficits and the resulting increases in debt have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government’s fiscal policies.[311] However, these concerns are not universally shared.[312]


The carrier strike groups of theKitty HawkRonald Reagan, andAbraham Lincoln with aircraft from the Marine CorpsNavy, and Air Force.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona (February 4, 2004)

The President holds the title of commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces and appoints its leaders, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The United States Department of Defense administers the armed forces, including theArmyNavyMarine Corps, and Air Force. The Coast Guard is run by the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and by the Department of the Navy during times of war. In 2008, the armed forces had 1.4 million personnel on active duty. TheReserves and National Guard brought the total number of troops to 2.3 million. The Department of Defense also employed about 700,000 civilians, not including contractors.[313]

Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System.[314] American forces can be rapidly deployed by the Air Force’s large fleet of transport aircraft, the Navy’s 10 active aircraft carriers, and Marine expeditionary units at sea with the Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The military operates 865 bases and facilities abroad,[315] and maintains deployments greater than 100 active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries.[316] The extent of this global military presence has prompted some scholars to describe the United States as maintaining an “empire of bases”.[317]

The military budget of the United States in 2011 was more than $700 billion, 41% of global military spending and equal to the next 14 largest national military expenditures combined. At 4.7% of GDP, the rate was the second-highest among the top 15 military spenders, after Saudi Arabia.[318] U.S. defense spending as a percentage of GDP ranked 23rd globally in 2012 according to the CIA.[319] Defense’s share of U.S. spending has generally declined in recent decades, from Cold War peaks of 14.2% of GDP in 1953 and 69.5% of federal outlays in 1954 to 4.7% of GDP and 18.8% of federal outlays in 2011.[320]

The proposed base Department of Defense budget for 2012, $553 billion, was a 4.2% increase over 2011; an additional $118 billion was proposed for the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.[321] The last American troops serving in Iraq departed in December 2011;[322] 4,484 service members were killed during the Iraq War.[323] Approximately 90,000 U.S. troops were serving in Afghanistan in April 2012;[324] by November 8, 2013 2,285 had been killed during the War in Afghanistan.[325]

Law enforcement and crime

Law enforcement in the U.S. is maintained primarily by local police departments. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is the largest in the country.[326]

Law enforcement in the United States is primarily the responsibility of local police and sheriff‘s departments, with state police providing broader services. Federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Marshals Service have specialized duties, including protecting civil rightsnational security and enforcing U.S. federal courts‘ rulings and federal laws.[327] At the federal level and in almost every state, a legal system operates on a common law. State courts conduct most criminal trials; federal courts handle certain designated crimes as well as certain appeals from the state criminal courts. Plea bargaining in the United States is very common; the vast majority of criminal cases in the country are settled by plea bargain rather than jury trial.[328][329]

In 2012 there were 4.7 murders per 100,000 persons in the United States, a 54% decline from the modern peak of 10.2 in 1980.[330][331][332] Among developed nations, the United States has above-average levels of violent crime and particularly high levels of gun violence and homicide.[333] A cross-sectional analysis of the World Health Organization Mortality Database from 2003 showed that United States “homicide rates were 6.9 times higher than rates in the other high-income countries, driven by firearm homicide rates that were 19.5 times higher.”[334] Gun ownership rights continue to be the subject of contentious political debate. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports estimates that there were 3,246 violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012, for a total of over 9 million total crimes.[335]

Capital punishment is sanctioned in the United States for certain federal and military crimes, and used in 32 states.[336] No executions took place from 1967 to 1977, owing in part to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down arbitrary imposition of the death penalty. In 1976, that Court ruled that, under appropriate circumstances, capital punishment may constitutionally be imposed. Since the decision there have been more than 1,300 executions, a majority of these taking place in three states: Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma.[337] Meanwhile, several states have either abolished or struck down death penalty laws. In 2010, the country had the fifth highest number of executions in the world, following China, IranNorth Korea, and Yemen.[338]

The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate and total prison population in the world.[339][340][341][342] At the start of 2008, more than 2.3 million people were incarcerated, more than one in every 100 adults.[343] The prison population has quadrupled since 1980.[344] African-American males are jailed at about six times the rate of white males and three times the rate of Hispanic males.[345] The country’s high rate of incarceration is largely due to changes insentencing guidelines and drug policies.[346] In 2008, Louisiana had the highest incarceration rate, and Maine the lowest.[347] In 2012, Louisiana had the highest rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in the U.S., and New Hampshire the lowest.[348]


Economic indicators
Nominal GDP $17.555 trillion (Q3 2014) [349]
Real GDP growth 3.9% (Q3 2014, annualized)
2.2% (2013) [350]
CPI inflation 2.1% (May 2014) [351]
Employment-to-population ratio 58.9% (May 2014) [352]
Unemployment 5.6% (December 2014) [353]
Labor forceparticipation rate 62.8% (October 2014) [354]
Total public debt $17.5 trillion (Q2 2014) [355]
Household net worth $81.8 trillion (Q1 2014) [356]

United States export treemap (2011): The U.S. is the world’s second-largest exporter.

The United States has a capitalist mixed economy which is fueled by abundant natural resources and high productivity.[357] According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $16.8 trillion constitutes 24% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 19% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity (PPP).[31] Its national GDP was about 5% larger at PPP in 2014 than the European Union‘s, whose population is around 62% higher.[358] However, the US’s nominal GDP is estimated to be $17.528 trillion as of 2014, which is about 5% smaller than that of the European Union.[359] From 1983 to 2008, U.S. real compounded annual GDP growth was 3.3%, compared to a 2.3% weighted average for the rest of the G7.[360] The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP.[31] The U.S. dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency.[361]

The United States is the largest importer of goods and second largest exporter, though exports per capita are relatively low. In 2010, the total U.S. trade deficit was $635 billion.[362] Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany are its top trading partners.[363] In 2010, oil was the largest import commodity, while transportation equipment was the country’s largest export.[362] China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. public debt.[364]The largest holder of the U.S. debt are American entities, including federal government accounts and the Federal Reserve, who hold the majority of the debt.[365][366][367][368]

In 2009, the private sector was estimated to constitute 86.4% of the economy, with federal government activity accounting for 4.3% and state and local government activity (including federal transfers) the remaining 9.3%.[369] While its economy has reached a postindustrial level of development and its service sectorconstitutes 67.8% of GDP, the United States remains an industrial power.[370] The leading business field by gross business receipts is wholesale and retail trade; by net income it is manufacturing.[371] In thefranchising business model, McDonald’s and Subway are the two most recognized brands in the world. Coca-Cola is the most recognized soft drink company in the world.[372]

Chemical products are the leading manufacturing field.[373] The United States is the largest producer of oil in the world, as well as its second largest importer.[374] It is the world’s number one producer of electrical and nuclear energy, as well as liquid natural gas, sulfur, phosphates, and salt. The National Mining Associationprovides data pertaining to coal and minerals that include berylliumcopperleadmagnesiumzinctitaniumand others.[375][376]

Agriculture accounts for just under 1% of GDP,[370] the United States is the world’s top producer of corn[377]and soybeans.[378] The National Agricultural Statistics Service maintains agricultural statistics for products that include peanutsoatsryewheatricecottoncornbarleyhaysunflowers, and oilseeds. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides livestock statistics regarding beefpoultrypork, and dairy products. The country is the primary developer and grower of genetically modified food, representing half of the world’s biotech crops.[379]

Consumer spending comprises 71% of the U.S. economy in 2013.[380] In August 2010, the American labor force consisted of 154.1 million people. With 21.2 million people, government is the leading field of employment. The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with 16.4 million people. About 12% of workers are unionized, compared to 30% in Western Europe.[381] The World Bank ranks the United States first in the ease of hiring and firing workers.[382] The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation[383] and is one of just a few countries in the world without paid family leave as a legal right, with the others being Papua New GuineaSuriname and Liberia.[384] In 2009, the United States had the third highest workforce productivity per person in the world, behind Luxembourg and Norway. It was fourth in productivity per hour, behind those two countries and theNetherlands.[385]

The 2008-2012 global recession had a significant impact on the United States, with output still below potential according to the Congressional Budget Office.[386] It brought high unemployment (which has been decreasing but remains above pre-recession levels), along with low consumer confidence, the continuing decline in home values and increase in foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, an escalating federal debt crisis, inflation, and rising petroleum and food prices. There remains a record proportion of long-term unemployed, continued decreasing household income, and tax and federal budget increases.[387][388][389] A 2011 poll found that more than half of all Americans think the U.S. is still in recession or even depression, despite official data that shows a historically modest recovery.[390] In 2013 the Census Bureau defined poverty rate decreased to roughly 14.5% of the population.[391]

Income, poverty and wealth

Productivity and real median family income growth 1947–2009

Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, and in 2007 had the second highestmedian household income.[392][393] According to the Census Bureau real median household income was $50,502 in 2011, down from $51,144 in 2010.[394] The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013.[395] Americans on average have over twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as European Union residents, and more than every EU nation.[396] For 2013 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 5th among 187 countries in its Human Development Index and 28th in its inequality-adjusted HDI(IHDI).[397]

There has been a widening gap between productivity and median incomes since the 1970s.[398] While inflation-adjusted (“real”)household income had been increasing almost every year from 1947 to 1999, it has since been flat and even decreased recently.[399] The rise in the share of total annual income received by the top 1 percent, which has more than doubled from 9 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2011, has had a significant impact on income inequality,[400] leaving the United States with one of the widest income distributions among OECD nations.[401][402][403] The post-recession income gains have been very uneven, with the top 1 percent capturing 95 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2012.[404]

Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country’s household wealth, while the bottom half claim only 2%.[405] The highest 10% of income earners pay a majority of federal taxes,[406] and about half of all taxes.[407][408] Growing income inequality and wealth concentration have resulted in affluent individuals, powerful business interests and other economic elites gaining increased influence over public policy.[409][410][411]

Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth is down $14 trillion.[412] At the end of 2008, household debt amounted to $13.8 trillion.[413]

There were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. in January 2009, with almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. In 2011 16.7 million children lived in food-insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels, though only 1.1% of U.S. children, or 845,000, saw reduced food intake or disrupted eating patterns at some point during the year, and most cases were not chronic.[414] According to a 2014 report by the Census Bureau, one in five young adults lives in poverty today, up from one in seven in 1980.[415]


The University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, is one of the many public universities in the United States.

American public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the United States Department of Educationthrough restrictions on federal grants. In most states, children are required to attend school from the age of six or seven (generally, kindergarten or first grade) until they turn 18 (generally bringing them through twelfth grade, the end of high school); some states allow students to leave school at 16 or 17.[416] About 12% of children are enrolled in parochial ornonsectarian private schools. Just over 2% of children are homeschooled.[417] The U.S. spends more on education per student than any nation in the world, spending more than $11,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $12,000 per high school student.[418] Some 80% of U.S. college students attend public universities.[419]

The United States has many competitive private and public institutions of higher education. According to prominent international rankings, 13 or 15 American colleges and universities are ranked among the top 20 in the world.[420][421] There are also local community colleges with generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition. Of Americans 25 and older, 84.6% graduated from high school, 52.6% attended some college, 27.2% earned a bachelor’s degree, and 9.6% earned graduate degrees.[422] The basic literacy rate is approximately 99%.[6][423] The United Nations assigns the United States an Education Index of 0.97, tying it for 12th in the world.[424]

As for public expenditures on higher education, the U.S. trails some other OECD nations but spends more per student than the OECD average, and more than all nations in combined public and private spending.[418][425] As of 2012, student loan debt exceeded one trillion dollars, more than Americans owe on credit cards.[426]


The United States is home to many cultures and a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values.[21][427] Aside from the Native AmericanNative Hawaiianand Native Alaskan populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors settled or immigrated within the past five centuries.[428] Mainstream American culture is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as traditions brought by slaves from Africa.[21][429] More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has added to a cultural mix that has been described as both a homogenizingmelting pot, and a heterogeneous salad bowl in which immigrants and their descendants retain distinctive cultural characteristics.[21]

Core American culture was established by Protestant British colonists and shaped by the frontier settlement process, with the traits derived passed down to descendants and transmitted to immigrants through assimilation. Americans have traditionally been characterized by a strong work ethic, competitiveness, and individualism, as well as a unifying belief in an “American creed” emphasizing liberty, equality, private property, democracy, rule of law, and a preference for limited government.[430] Americans are extremely charitable by global standards. According to a 2006 British study, Americans gave 1.67% of GDP to charity, more than any other nation studied, more than twice the second place British figure of 0.73%, and around twelve times the French figure of 0.14%.[431][432]

The American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobility, plays a key role in attracting immigrants.[433] Whether this perception is realistic has been a topic of debate.[434][435][436][437][360][438] While mainstream culture holds that the United States is a classless society,[439] scholars identify significant differences between the country’s social classes, affecting socialization, language, and values.[440] Americans’ self-images, social viewpoints, and cultural expectations are associated with their occupations to an unusually close degree.[441] While Americans tend greatly to value socioeconomic achievement, being ordinary or average is generally seen as a positive attribute.[442]


Apple pie is a food commonly associated with American cuisine.

Mainstream American cuisine is similar to that in other Western countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain with about three-quarters of grain products made of wheat flour[443] and many dishes use indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup which were consumed by Native Americans and early European settlers.[444] These home grown foods are part of a shared national menu on one of America’s most popular holidays;Thanksgiving, when some Americans make traditional foods to celebrate the occasion.[445]

Roasted turkey is a traditional menu item of an American Thanksgivingdinner.[446]

Characteristic dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrants. French fries, Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are widely consumed.[447] Americans generally prefer coffee to tea.[448] Marketing by U.S. industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and milk ubiquitousbreakfast beverages.[449][450]

American eating habits owe a great deal to that of their British culinary roots with some variations. Even though American lands could grow newer vegetables England could not, most colonist would not eat these new foods until accepted by Europeans.[451] Over time American foods changed to a point that food critic, John L. Hess stated in 1972: “Our founding fathers were as far superior to our present political leaders in the quality of their food as they were in the quality of their prose and intelligence”.[452]

The American fast food industry, the world’s largest,[453] pioneered the drive-through format in the 1940s.[454] Fast food consumption has sparked health concerns. During the 1980s and 1990s, Americans’ caloric intake rose 24%;[447] frequent dining at fast food outlets is associated with what public health officials call the American “obesity epidemic“.[455] Highly sweetened soft drinks are widely popular, and sugared beverages account for nine percent of American caloric intake.[456]

Literature, philosophy, and the arts

Mark Twain, American author and humorist

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, American art and literature took most of its cues from Europe. Writers such as Nathaniel HawthorneEdgar Allan Poe, and Henry David Thoreau established a distinctive American literary voice by the middle of the 19th century. Mark Twain and poet Walt Whitman were major figures in the century’s second half; Emily Dickinson, virtually unknown during her lifetime, is now recognized as an essential American poet.[457] A work seen as capturing fundamental aspects of the national experience and character—such as Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick (1851), Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), and F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby (1925)—may be dubbed the “Great American Novel“.[458]

Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, most recently Toni Morrison in 1993. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are often named among the most influential writers of the 20th century.[459] Popular literary genres such as the Westernand hardboiled crime fiction developed in the United States. The Beat Generation writers opened up new literary approaches, as havepostmodernist authors such as John BarthThomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo.[460]

The transcendentalists, led by Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, established the first major American philosophical movement. After the Civil War, Charles Sanders Peirce and then William James and John Dewey were leaders in the development of pragmatism. In the 20th century, the work of W. V. O. Quine and Richard Rorty, and later Noam Chomsky, brought analytic philosophy to the fore of American philosophical academia. John Rawls and Robert Nozick led a revival of political philosophyCornel West and Judith Butlerhave led a continental tradition in American philosophical academia. Globally influential Chicago school economists like Milton FriedmanJames M. Buchanan, and Thomas Sowell have transcended discipline to impact various fields in social and political philosophy.[461][462]

In the visual arts, the Hudson River School was a mid-19th-century movement in the tradition of European naturalism. The realist paintings of Thomas Eakins are now widely celebrated. The 1913 Armory Show in New York City, an exhibition of European modernist art, shocked the public and transformed the U.S. art scene.[463] Georgia O’KeeffeMarsden Hartley, and others experimented with new, individualistic styles. Major artistic movements such as the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein developed largely in the United States. The tide of modernism and then postmodernism has brought fame to American architects such as Frank Lloyd WrightPhilip Johnson, and Frank Gehry.[464]

One of the first major promoters of American theater was impresario P. T. Barnum, who began operating a lower Manhattanentertainment complex in 1841. The team of Harrigan and Hart produced a series of popular musical comedies in New York starting in the late 1870s. In the 20th century, the modern musical form emerged on Broadway; the songs of musical theater composers such as Irving BerlinCole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim have become pop standards. Playwright Eugene O’Neill won the Nobel literature prize in 1936; other acclaimed U.S. dramatists include multiple Pulitzer Prize winners Tennessee WilliamsEdward Albee, and August Wilson.[466]

Though little known at the time, Charles Ives‘s work of the 1910s established him as the first major U.S. composer in the classical tradition, while experimentalists such as Henry Cowell and John Cage created a distinctive American approach to classical composition. Aaron Copland and George Gershwin developed a new synthesis of popular and classical music.Choreographers Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham helped create modern dance, while George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins were leaders in 20th-century ballet. Americans have long been important in the modern artistic medium of photography, with major photographers including Alfred StieglitzEdward Steichen, and Ansel Adams.[467]


The rhythmic and lyrical styles of African-American music have deeply influenced American music at large, distinguishing it from European traditions. Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and what is now known as old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences. Jazz was developed by innovators such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellingtonearly in the 20th century. Country music developed in the 1920s, and rhythm and blues in the 1940s.[468]

Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were among the mid-1950s pioneers of rock and roll. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan emerged from the folk revival to become one of America’s most celebrated songwriters and James Brown led the development of funk. More recent American creations include hip hop and house music. American pop stars such as Presley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna have become global celebrities,[468] as have contemporary musical artists such as Lady GagaKaty PerryRihanna, and Beyoncé.


Hollywood, a northern district of Los Angeles, California, is one of the leaders in motion picture production.[469] The world’s first commercial motion picture exhibition was given in New York City in 1894, using Thomas Edison‘sKinetoscope.[470] The next year saw the first commercial screening of a projected film, also in New York, and the United States was in the forefront of sound film‘s development in the following decades. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around Hollywood, although in the 21st century an increasing number of films are not made there, and film companies have been subject to the forces of globalization.[471]

Marilyn Monroe, an icon of Hollywood

Director D. W. Griffith, American’s top filmmaker during the silent film period, was central to the development of film grammar, and producer/entrepreneur Walt Disney was a leader in both animated film and movie merchandising.[472] Directors such as John Fordredefined the image of the American Old West and history, and, like others such as John Huston, broadened the possibilities of cinema with location shooting, with great influence on subsequent directors. The industry enjoyed its golden years, in what is commonly referred to as the “Golden Age of Hollywood“, from the early sound period until the early 1960s, with screen actors such as John Wayne and Marilyn Monroebecoming iconic figures. In the 1970s, film directors such as Martin ScorseseFrancis Ford Coppola and Robert Altman were a vital component in what became known as “New Hollywood” or the “Hollywood Renaissance”,[473] grittier films influenced by French and Italian realist pictures of the post-war period.[474] Since, directors such as Steven SpielbergGeorge Lucas andJames Cameron have gained renown for their blockbuster films, often characterized by high production costs, and in return, high earnings at the box office, with Cameron’s Avatar (2009) earning more than $2 billion.[475] Notable films topping the American Film Institute‘s AFI 100 list include Orson Welles‘s Citizen Kane (1941), which is frequently cited as the greatest film of all time,[476][477]Casablanca (1942), The Godfather (1972), Gone with the Wind (1939), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Graduate (1967), On the Waterfront (1954), Schindler’s List (1993), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Sunset Boulevard (1950).[478] The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, have been held annually by theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1929,[479] and the Golden Globe Awards have been held annually since January 1944.[480]


Swimmer Michael Phelps and then-President George W. BushAugust 10, 2008 at the National Aquatic Center inBeijing. Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time.[481][482]

While most major U.S. sports have evolved out of European practices, basketballvolleyballskateboarding, and snowboarding are American inventions, some of which have become popular in other countries. Lacrosse and surfing arose from Native American and Native Hawaiian activities that predate Western contact.[483] The Iroquois field their own separate national team, the Iroquois Nationals, in recognition of the confederacy’s creation of lacrosse. Eight Olympic Games have taken place in the United States.The United States has won 2,400 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, more than any other country, and 281 in the Winter Olympic Games, the second most behind Norway.[484]

The market for professional sports in the United States is roughly $69 billion, roughly 50% larger than that of all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa combined.[485] Baseball has been regarded as the national sport since the late 19th century, withMajor League Baseball (MLB) being the top league, while American football is now by several measures the most popular spectator sport,[486] with the National Football League (NFL) having the highest average attendance of any sports league in the world and aSuperbowl watched by millions globally. Basketball and ice hockey are the country’s next two leading professional team sports, with the top leagues being the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL). These four major sports, when played professionally, each occupy a season at different, but overlapping, times of the year. College football andbasketball attract large audiences.[487] Boxing and horse racing were once the most watched individual sports,[488] but they have been eclipsed by golf and auto racing, particularly NASCAR.[489] In the 21st century, televised mixed martial arts has also gained a strong following of regular viewers.[490][491] While soccer is less popular in the United States than in many other nations, the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the men’s national soccer team has been to the past six World Cups and thewomen are first in the women’s world rankings.



The Interstate Highway System, which extends 46,876 miles (75,440 km)[492]

Personal transportation is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of 4 million miles of public roads,[493]including one of the world’s longest highway systems.[494] The world’s second largest automobile market,[495] the United States has the highest rate of per-capita vehicle ownership in the world, with 765 vehicles per 1,000 Americans.[496]About 40% of personal vehicles are vans, SUVs, or light trucks.[497] The average American adult (accounting for all drivers and non-drivers) spends 55 minutes driving every day, traveling 29 miles (47 km).[498]

Mass transit accounts for 9% of total U.S. work trips.[499][500] While transport of goods by rail is extensive, relatively few people use rail to travel,[501] though ridership on Amtrak, the national intercity passenger rail system, grew by almost 37% between 2000 and 2010.[502] Also, light rail development has increased in recent years.[503] Bicycle usage for work commutes is minimal.[504]

The civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated since 1978, while most major airports are publicly owned.[505] The three largest airlines in the world by passengers carried are U.S.-based; American Airlines is number one after its 2013 acquisition by US Airways.[506] Of the world’s 30 busiest passenger airports, 12 are in the United States, including the busiest, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.[507]


The Hoover Dam when completed in 1936 was both the world’s largest electric-power generating station and the world’s largest concretestructure.

The United States energy market is about 29,000 terawatt hours per year.[508] Energy consumption per capita is 7.8 tons of oil equivalent per year, the 10th highest rate in the world. In 2005, 40% of this energy came from petroleum, 23% from coal, and 22% from natural gas. The remainder was supplied by nuclear power and renewable energy sources.[509] The United States is the world’s largest consumer of petroleum.[510]

For decades, nuclear power has played a limited role relative to many other developed countries, in part because of public perception in the wake of a 1979 accident. In 2007, several applications for new nuclear plants were filed.[511] The United States has 27% of global coal reserves.[512] It is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and crude oil.[513]

Science and technology

Astronaut James Irwin walking on the Moon next to Apollo 15‘slanding module and lunar rover in 1971. The effort to reach the Moon was triggered by the Space Race.

The United States has been a leader in scientific research and technological innovation since the late 19th century. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephoneThomas Edison‘s research laboratory, one of the first of its kind, developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera.[514]The latter lead to emergence of the worldwide entertainment industry. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies ofRansom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.[515]

The rise of Nazism in the 1930s led many European scientists, including Albert EinsteinEnrico Fermi, and John von Neumann, to immigrate to the United States.[516] During World War II, the Manhattan Project developed nuclear weapons, ushering in theAtomic Age, while the Space Race produced rapid advances in rocketry, materials science, and aeronautics.[517][518]

The invention of the transistor in the 1950s, a key active component in practically all modern electronics, lead to many technological developments and a significant expansion of the U.S. technology industry.[519][520][521] This in turn lead to the establishment of many new technology companies and regions around the county such as Silicon Valley in California. Advancements by American microprocessor companies such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Intel along with both computer software and hardware companies that include Adobe SystemsApple ComputerIBMGNU-LinuxMicrosoft, and Sun Microsystems created and popularized the personal computer. The ARPANET was developed in the 1960s to meet Defense Department requirements, and became the first of a series of networks which evolved into the Internet.[522]

These advancements then lead to greater personalization of technology for individual use.[523] As of April 2010, 77% of American households owned at least onecomputer, and 68% had broadband Internet service.[524] 85% of Americans also own a mobile phone as of 2011.[525]

In the 21st century, 64% of research and development funding comes from the private sector.[526] The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor.[527]


Health spending per capita, in US$ PPP-adjusted, compared amongst various first world nations.

The United States has a life expectancy of 78.4 years at birth, up from 75.2 years in 1990, ranking it 50th among 221 nations, and 27th out of the 34 industrialized OECD countries, down from 20th in 1990.[528][529] Increasing obesity in the United States and health improvements elsewhere have contributed to lowering the country’s rank in life expectancy from 1987, when it was 11th in the world.[530] Obesity rates in the United States are among thehighest in the world.[531] Approximately one-third of the adult population is obese and an additional third is overweight;[532] the obesity rate, the highest in the industrialized world, has more than doubled in the last quarter-century.[533] Obesity-related type 2 diabetes is considered epidemic by health care professionals.[534]The infant mortality rate of 6.17 per thousand places the United States 169th highest out of 224 countries.[535]

In 2010, coronary artery diseaselung cancerstrokechronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and traffic accidents caused the most years of life lost in the U.S. Low back pain, depressionmusculoskeletal disorders, neck pain, and anxiety caused the most years lost to disability. The most deleterious risk factors were poor diet, tobacco smoking, obesity, high blood pressurehigh blood sugar, physical inactivity, and alcohol use.Alzheimer’s disease, drug abuse, kidney disease and cancer, and falls caused the most additional years of life lost over their age-adjusted 1990 per-capita rates.[529] U.S. teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are substantially higher than in other Western nations, especially among blacks and Hispanics.[536] U.S. underage drinking among teenagers is among the lowest in industrialized nations.[537]

The U.S. is a global leader in medical innovation. America solely developed or contributed significantly to 9 of the top 10 most important medical innovations since 1975 as ranked by a 2001 poll of physicians, while the EU and Switzerland together contributed to five. Since 1966, Americans have received more Nobel Prizes in Medicine than the rest of the world. From 1989 to 2002, four times more money was invested in private biotechnology companies in America than in Europe.[538][539] The U.S. health-care system far outspends any other nation, measured in both per capita spending and percentage of GDP.[540] Health-care coverage in the United States is a combination of public and private efforts and is not universal. In 2014, 13.4% of the population did not carry health insurance.[541] The subject of uninsured and underinsured Americans is a major political issue.[542][543] In 2006, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate universal health insurance.[544] Federal legislation passed in early 2010 would ostensibly create a near-universal health insurance system around the country by 2014, though the bill and its ultimate impact are issues of controversy.[545][546]


Corporate headquarters of theAmerican Broadcasting Company in New York City

The four major broadcasters in the U.S. are the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), theAmerican Broadcasting Company (ABC) and Fox. Americans are the heaviest television viewers in the world,[547] and the average viewing time continues to rise, reaching five hours a day in 2006.[548] The four major broadcast television networks are all commercial entities. Americans listen to radio programming, also largely commercial, on average just over two-and-a-half hours a day.[549]

In 1998, the number of U.S. commercial radio stations had grown to 4,793 AM stations and 5,662 FM stations. In addition, there are 1,460 public radio stations. Most of these stations are run by universities and public authorities for educational purposes and are financed by public and/or private funds, subscriptions and corporate underwriting. Much public-radio broadcasting is supplied by NPR (formerly National Public Radio). NPR was incorporated in February 1970 under the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967; its television counterpart, PBS, was also created by the same legislation. (NPR and PBS are operated separately from each other.) As of September 30, 2014 there are 15,433 licensed full-power radio stations in the US according to the FCC.[550]

Well-known newspapers are The New York TimesUSA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Although the cost of publishing has increased over the years, the price of newspapers has generally remained low, forcing newspapers to rely more on advertising revenue and on articles provided by a major wire service, such as the Associated Press or Reuters, for their national and world coverage. With very few exceptions, all the newspapers in the U.S. are privately owned, either by large chains such as Gannett or McClatchy, which own dozens or even hundreds of newspapers; by small chains that own a handful of papers; or in a situation that is increasingly rare, by individuals or families. Major cities often have “alternative weeklies” to complement the mainstream daily paper(s), for example, New York City’s The Village Voice or Los Angeles’ LA Weekly, to name two of the best-known. Major cities may also support a local business journal, trade papers relating to local industries, and papers for local ethnic and social groups. Early versions of the American newspaper comic strip and the American comic bookbegan appearing in the 19th century. In 1938, Superman, the quintessential comic book superhero of DC Comics, developed into an American icon.[551] Aside fromweb portals and search engines, the most popular websites are FacebookYouTubeWikipediaAmazoneBay, and Twitter.[552]

In Spanish, the second most widely spoken mother tongue behind English, more than 800 publications are published.[553][554]

See also


  1. Jump up^ Beginning between 1945, 1954, 1962 (depending on different sources) and ending in the mid-1970s. Several start dates of the war are given by different sources: 1945,[127]1954,[128] 1959,[129] and 1962;[130] the end date is also debated. Major U.S. involvement stopped in 1973,[131] yet most recognize the end of the Second Indochina War as when the Republic of Vietnam was toppled in 1975.[132]


  1. Jump up^ 36 U.S.C. § 302 National motto
  2. Jump up^ Simonson, 2010
  3. Jump up^ Dept. of Treasury, 2011
  4. Jump up to:a b c d State and other areas“, U.S. Census Bureau, MAF/TIGER database as of August 2010, excluding the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands. viewed October 22, 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b “U.S. and World Population Clock”. U.S. Census Bureau. RetrievedJanuary 17, 2015.
  6. Jump up to:a b c d e “United States”The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. June 20, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2015. (area given in square kilometers)
  7. Jump up^ “GDP (current US$)”World Bank Open Data. The World Bank. RetrievedJanuary 20, 2015.
  8. Jump up^ “GDP per capita (current US$)”World Bank Open Data. The World Bank. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  9. Jump up^ “UNDP Human Development Report: 2013 Income Gini Coefficient”Newsroom.Human Development Report. November 15, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  10. Jump up^ “2014 Human Development Report Summary”. United Nations Development Programme. 2014. pp. 21–25. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  11. Jump up to:a b Feder, Jody (January 25, 2007). “English as the Official Language of the United States: Legal Background and Analysis of Legislation in the 110th Congress”. (Congressional Research Service). Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  12. Jump up^ New Mexico Code 1-16-7 (1981).
  13. Jump up^ New Mexico Code 14-11-13 (2011).
  14. Jump up^ Cobarrubias, Juan; Fishman, Joshua A. (1983). Progress in Language Planning: International Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 195. ISBN 90-279-3358-8. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  15. Jump up^ García, Ofelia (2011). Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. John Wiley & Sons. p. 167. ISBN 1-4443-5978-9. RetrievedDecember 27, 2011.
  16. Jump up^ “Keetoowah Cherokee is the Official Language of the UKB” (PDF). United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. Keetoowah Cherokee News. April 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  17. Jump up^ “UKB Constitution and By-Laws in the Keetoowah Cherokee Language” (PDF).United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  18. Jump up^ “The Cherokee Nation and its Language”University of Minnesota: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  19. Jump up^ The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge, Second Edition: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind. St. Martin’s Press. 2007. p. 670. ISBN 978-0-312-37659-8.
  20. Jump up^ Onuf, Peter S. (1983). The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional Controversies in the United States, 1775–1787. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1167-2.
  21. Jump up to:a b c d Adams, J.Q.; Strother-Adams, Pearlie (2001). Dealing with Diversity. Chicago: Kendall/Hunt. ISBN 0-7872-8145-X.
  22. Jump up^ “Wildlife Library”. National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved December 23,2014.
  23. Jump up to:a b Maugh II, Thomas H. (July 12, 2012). “Who was first? New info on North America’s earliest residents”Los Angeles Times.
  24. Jump up^ Greene, Jack P.; Pole, J.R., eds. (2008). A Companion to the American Revolution. pp. 352–361.
  25. Jump up^ Bender, Thomas (2006). A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History. New York: Hill & Wang. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-8090-7235-4.
  26. Jump up to:a b Carlisle, Rodney P.; Golson, J. Geoffrey (2007). Manifest Destiny and the Expansion of America. Turning Points in History Series. ABC-CLIO. p. 238.ISBN 978-1-85109-833-0.
  27. Jump up^ “The Civil War and emancipation 1861–1865″Africans in America. Boston, MA: WGBH. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
    Britannica Educational Publishing (2009). Wallenfeldt, Jeffrey H., ed. The American Civil War and Reconstruction: People, Politics, and Power. America at War. Rosen Publishing Group. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-61530-045-7.
  28. Jump up^ White, Donald W. (1996). “1: The Frontiers”. The American Century. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-05721-0. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  29. Jump up^ “Work in the Late 19th Century”Library of Congress. Retrieved January 16,2015.
  30. Jump up^ Tony Judt; Denis Lacorne (June 4, 2005). With Us Or Against Us: Studies in Global Anti-Americanism. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4039-8085-4.
    Richard J. Samuels (December 21, 2005). Encyclopedia of United States National Security. SAGE Publications. p. 666. ISBN 978-1-4522-6535-3.
    Paul R. Pillar (January 1, 2001). Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy. Brookings Institution Press. p. 57. ISBN 0-8157-0004-0.
    Gabe T. Wang (January 1, 2006). China and the Taiwan Issue: Impending War at Taiwan Strait. University Press of America. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-7618-3434-2.
    Understanding the “Victory Disease,” From the Little Bighorn to Mogadishu and Beyond. DIANE Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4289-1052-2.
    Akis Kalaitzidis; Gregory W. Streich (2011). U.S. Foreign Policy: A Documentary and Reference Guide. ABC-CLIO. p. 313. ISBN 978-0-313-38375-5.
  31. Jump up to:a b c “World Economic Outlook Database: United States”. International Monetary Fund. October 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  32. Jump up^ “U.S. Workers World’s Most Productive”. CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  33. Jump up^ “Manufacturing, Jobs and the U.S. Economy”. Alliance for American Manufacturing. 2013.
  34. Jump up^ “Trends in world military expenditure, 2013″. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. April 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  35. Jump up^ Cohen, 2004: History and the Hyperpower
    BBC, April 2008: Country Profile: United States of America
    “Geographical trends of research output”. Research Trends. Retrieved March 16,2014.
    “The top 20 countries for scientific output”. Open Access Week. RetrievedMarch 16, 2014.
    “Granted patents”. European Patent Office. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  36. Jump up^ “Cartographer Put ‘America’ on the Map 500 years Ago”USA Today (Washington, D.C.). Associated Press. April 24, 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  37. Jump up^ DeLear, Byron (July 4, 2013) Who coined ‘United States of America’? Mystery might have intriguing answer. “Historians have long tried to pinpoint exactly when the name ‘United States of America’ was first used and by whom. A new find suggests the man might have been George Washington himself.” Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA).
  38. Jump up^ “To the inhabitants of Virginia,” by A PLANTER. Dixon and Hunter’s Virginia Gazette #1287 – April 6, 1776, Williamsburg, Virginia. Letter is also included in Peter Force‘s American Archives Vol. 5
  39. Jump up^ Carter, Rusty (August 18, 2012). “You read it here first”The Virginia Gazette. Archived from the original on August 22, 2012. He did a search of the archives and found the letter on the front page of the April 6, 1776, edition, published by Hunter & Dixon.
  40. Jump up^ DeLear, Byron (August 16, 2012). “Who coined the name ‘United States of America’? Mystery gets new twist.” Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA).
  41. Jump up^ “Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence”. Princeton University. 2004. Archived from the original on August 5, 2004.
  42. Jump up^ “The Charters of Freedom”. National Archives. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  43. Jump up^ Mary Mostert (2005). The Threat of Anarchy Leads to the Constitution of the United States. CTR Publishing, Inc. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-9753851-4-2.
  44. Jump up^ Doug Brokenshire (Stanford University) (1996). Washington State Place Names. Caxton Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-87004-562-2.
  45. Jump up^ For example, the U.S. embassy in Spain calls itself the embassy of the “Estados Unidos”, literally the words “states” and “united”, and also uses the initials “EE.UU.”, the doubled letters implying plural use in Spanish [1] Elsewhere on the site “Estados Unidos de América” is used [2]
  46. Jump up^ Zimmer, Benjamin (November 24, 2005). “Life in These, Uh, This United States”. University of Pennsylvania—Language Log. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  47. Jump up^ G. H. Emerson, The Universalist Quarterly and General Review, Vol. 28 (Jan. 1891), p. 49, quoted in Zimmer paper above.
  48. Jump up^ Wilson, Kenneth G. (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-231-06989-8.
  49. Jump up^ “What is the earliest evidence of the peopling of North and South America?”. Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History. June 2004. Archived from the original on November 28, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  50. Jump up^ Kudeba, Nicolas (February 28, 2014). “Chapter 1 – The First Big Steppe – Aboriginal Canadian History”The History of Canada PodcastArchived from the original on March 1, 2014.
  51. Jump up^ The Cambridge encyclopedia of human paleopathology“. Arthur C. Aufderheide, Conrado Rodríguez-Martín, Odin Langsjoen (1998). Cambridge University Press. p. 205. ISBN 0-521-55203-6
  52. Jump up^ Bianchine, Russo, 1992 pp. 225–232
  53. Jump up^ Thornton, 1987 p. 49
  54. Jump up^ Kessel, 2005 pp. 142–143
  55. Jump up^ Mercer Country Historical Society, 2005
  56. Jump up^ Juergens, 2011, p. 69
  57. Jump up^ Ripper, 2008 p. 6
  58. Jump up^ Ripper, 2008 p. 5
  59. Jump up^ Calloway, 1998, p. 55
  60. Jump up^ Taylor, pp. 33–34
  61. Jump up^ Taylor, pp. 72, 74
  62. Jump up^ Walton, 2009, pp. 29–31
  63. Jump up^ Remini, 2007, pp. 2–3
  64. Jump up^ Johnson, 1997, pp. 26–30
  65. Jump up^ Walton, 2009, chapter 3
  66. Jump up^ Lemon, 1987
  67. Jump up^ Clingan, 2000, p. 13
  68. Jump up^ Tadman, 2000, p. 1534
  69. Jump up^ Schneider, 2007, p. 484
  70. Jump up^ Lien, 1913, p. 522
  71. Jump up^ Davis, 1996, p. 7
  72. Jump up^ Quirk, 2011, p. 195
  73. Jump up^ Bilhartz, Terry D.; Elliott, Alan C. (2007). Currents in American History: A Brief History of the United States. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-1817-7.
  74. Jump up^ Wood, Gordon S. (1998). The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787. UNC Press Books. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-8078-4723-7.
  75. Jump up^ Walton, 2009, pp. 38–39
  76. Jump up^ Foner, Eric. The Story of American Freedom, 1998 ISBN 0-393-04665-6 p.4-5.
  77. Jump up^ Walton, 2009, p. 35
  78. Jump up^ Otis, James (1763). “The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved”. Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  79. Jump up^ Humphrey, Carol Sue (2003). The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 To 1800. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 8–10. ISBN 978-0-313-32083-5.
  80. Jump up^ Fabian Young, Alfred; Nash, Gary B.; Raphael, Ray (2011). Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation. Random House Digital. pp. 4–7. ISBN 978-0-307-27110-5.
  81. Jump up^ Greene and Pole, A Companion to the American Revolution p 357. Jonathan R. Dull, A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution (1987) p. 161. Lawrence S. Kaplan, “The Treaty of Paris, 1783: A Historiographical Challenge,” International History Review, Sept 1983, Vol. 5 Issue 3, pp 431–442
  82. Jump up^ Boyer, 2007, pp. 192–193
  83. Jump up^ Cogliano, Francis D. (2008). Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy. University of Virginia Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-8139-2733-6.
  84. Jump up^ Walton, 2009, p. 43
  85. Jump up^ Gordon, 2004, pp. 27,29
  86. Jump up^ Clark, Mary Ann (May 2012). Then We’ll Sing a New Song: African Influences on America’s Religious Landscape. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-4422-0881-0.
  87. Jump up^ Heinemann, Ronald L., et al., Old Dominion, New Commonwealth: a history of Virginia 1607-2007, 2007 ISBN 978-0-8139-2609-4, p.197
  88. Jump up^ Billington, Ray Allen; Ridge, Martin (2001). Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier. UNM Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-8263-1981-4.
  89. Jump up^ “Louisiana Purchase”. National Park Services. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  90. Jump up^ Wait, Eugene M. (1999). America and the War of 1812. Nova Publishers. p. 78.ISBN 978-1-56072-644-9.
  91. Jump up^ Klose, Nelson; Jones, Robert F. (1994). United States History to 1877. Barron’s Educational Series. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8120-1834-9.
  92. Jump up^ Winchester, pp. 198, 216, 251, 253
  93. Jump up^ Morrison, Michael A. (1999). Slavery and the American West: The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny and the Coming of the Civil WarUniversity of North Carolina Press. pp. 13–21. ISBN 978-0-8078-4796-1.
  94. Jump up^ Kemp, Roger L. (2010). Documents of American Democracy: A Collection of Essential WorksMcFarland. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-7864-4210-2.
  95. Jump up^ McIlwraith, Thomas F.; Muller, Edward K. (2001). North America: The Historical Geography of a Changing ContinentRowman & Littlefield. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7425-0019-8.
  96. Jump up^ Rawls, James J. (1999). A Golden State: Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California. University of California Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-520-21771-3.
  97. Jump up^ Black, Jeremy (2011). Fighting for America: The Struggle for Mastery in North America, 1519–1871Indiana University Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-253-35660-4.
  98. Jump up^ Wishart, David J. (2004). Encyclopedia of the Great PlainsUniversity of Nebraska Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-8032-4787-1.
  99. Jump up^ Smith (2001), Grant, pp. 523–526
  100. Jump up^ Stuart Murray (2004). Atlas of American Military History. Infobase Publishing. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-4381-3025-5.
  101. Jump up to:a b Patrick Karl O’Brien (2002). Atlas of World History. Oxford University Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-19-521921-0.
  102. Jump up^ Vinovskis, Maris (1990). Toward A Social History of the American Civil War: Exploratory Essays. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 4.ISBN 0-521-39559-3.
  103. Jump up^ “1860 Census”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 10, 2007. Page 7 lists a total slave population of 3,953,760.
  104. Jump up^ De Rosa, Marshall L. (1997). The Politics of Dissolution: The Quest for a National Identity and the American Civil War. Edison, NJ: Transaction. p. 266.ISBN 1-56000-349-9.
  105. Jump up to:a b G. Alan Tarr (2009). Judicial Process and Judicial Policymaking. Cengage Learning. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-495-56736-3.
  106. Jump up^ John Powell (2009). Encyclopedia of North American Immigration. Infobase Publishing. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-4381-1012-7.
  107. Jump up^ Winchester, pp. 351, 385
  108. Jump up^ “Toward a Market Economy”CliffsNotes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. RetrievedDecember 23, 2014.
  109. Jump up^ “Purchase of Alaska, 1867″Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  110. Jump up^ Huntrods, Diane. “Sugarcane Profile”Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Iowa State University. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  111. Jump up^ “The Spanish-American War, 1898″Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  112. Jump up^ Kirkland, Edward. Industry Comes of Age: Business, Labor, and Public Policy(1961 ed.). pp. 400–405.
  113. Jump up^ Zinn, 2005
  114. Jump up^ McDuffie, Jerome; Piggrem, Gary Wayne; Woodworth, Steven E. (2005). U.S. History Super Review. Piscataway, NJ: Research & Education Association. p. 418.ISBN 0-7386-0070-9.
  115. Jump up^ Voris, Jacqueline Van (1996). Carrie Chapman Catt: A Public Life. Women and Peace Series. New York City: Feminist Press at CUNY. p. vii. ISBN 1-55861-139-8.Carrie Chapmann Catt led an army of voteless women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920. … Catt was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women.
  116. Jump up^ Winchester pp. 410–411
  117. Jump up^ Axinn, June; Stern, Mark J. (2007). Social Welfare: A History of the American Response to Need (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 978-0-205-52215-6.
  118. Jump up^ Lemann, Nicholas (1991). The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 6. ISBN 0-394-56004-3.
  119. Jump up^ James Noble Gregory (1991). American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507136-8.
    “Mass Exodus From the Plains”American Experience. WGBH Educational Foundation. 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
    Fanslow, Robin A. (April 6, 1998). “The Migrant Experience”American Folklore Center. Library of Congress. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
    Walter J. Stein (1973). California and the Dust Bowl Migration. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-8371-6267-6.
  120. Jump up^ Yamasaki, Mitch. “Pearl Harbor and America’s Entry into World War II: A Documentary History” World War II Internment in Hawaii. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  121. Jump up^ Leland, Anne; Oboroceanu, Mari–Jana (February 26, 2010). “American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved February 18, 2011. p. 2.
  122. Jump up^ Kennedy, Paul (1989). The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. New York: Vintage. p. 358. ISBN 0-679-72019-7. Indeed, World War II ushered in the zenith of U.S. power in what came to be called the American Century, as Leffler 2010, p. 67, indicates: “Truman presided over the greatest military and economic power the world had ever known. War production had lifted the United States out of the Great Depression and had inaugurated an era of unimagined prosperity. Gross national product increased by 60 percent during the war, total earnings by 50 percent. Despite social unrest, labor agitation, racial conflict, and teenage vandalism, Americans had more discretionary income than ever before. Simultaneously, the U.S. government had built up the greatest war machine in human history. By the end of 1942, the United States was producing more arms than all the Axis states combined, and, in 1943, it made almost three times more armaments than did the Soviet Union. In 1945, the United States had two-thirds of the world’s gold reserves, three-fourths of its invested capital, half of its shipping vessels, and half of its manufacturing capacity. Its GNP was three times that of the Soviet Union and more than five times that of Britain. It was also nearing completion of the atomic bomb, a technological and production feat of huge costs and proportions.”
  123. Jump up^ “The United States and the Founding of the United Nations, August 1941 – October 1945″. U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian. October 2005. Archived from the original on June 12, 2007. RetrievedJune 11, 2007.
  124. Jump up^ Pacific War Research Society (2006). Japan’s Longest Day. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 4-7700-2887-3.
  125. Jump up^ Wagg, Stephen; Andrews, David (September 10, 2012). East Plays West: Sport and the Cold War. Routledge. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-134-24167-5.
  126. Jump up^ Collins, Michael (1988). Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space. New York: Grove Press.
  127. Jump up^ Gary Donaldson (January 1, 1996). America at War Since 1945: Politics and Diplomacy in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-275-95660-8.
  128. Jump up^ “Battlefield: Timeline”Battlefield Vietnam Web Site. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  129. Jump up^ R. J. Rummel (January 1, 1997). Death by Government. Transaction Publishers. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-56000-927-6.
  130. Jump up^ “Vietnam War 1962–75″Australian War Memorial. Government of Australia. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  131. Jump up^ Ip, Michael (March 29, 2013). “Looking Back: The End of the Vietnam War”ABC News. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  132. Jump up^ Allan Todd (May 19, 2011). History for the IB Diploma: The Cold War. Cambridge University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-521-18932-3.
  133. Jump up^ Winchester, pp. 305-308
  134. Jump up^ Blas, Elisheva. “The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” Society for History Education. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  135. Jump up^ Dallek, Robert (2004). Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President. Oxford University Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-19-515920-2.
  136. Jump up^ “Our Documents – Civil Rights Act (1964)”. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  137. Jump up^ “Remarks at the Signing of the Immigration Bill, Liberty Island, New York”. October 3, 1965. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  138. Jump up^ Social Security History, the United States Social Security Administration
  139. Jump up^ Soss, 2010, p. 277
  140. Jump up^ Fraser, 1989
  141. Jump up^ Ferguson, 1986, pp. 43–53
  142. Jump up^ Williams, pp. 325–331
  143. Jump up^ Niskanen, William A. (1988). Reaganomics: an insider’s account of the policies and the people. Oxford University Press. p. 363. ISBN 978-0-19-505394-4.
  144. Jump up^ “Women in the Labor Force: A Databook”. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2013. p. 11. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  145. Jump up^ Howell, Buddy Wayne (2006). The Rhetoric of Presidential Summit Diplomacy: Ronald Reagan and the U.S.-Soviet Summits, 1985—1988. Texas A&M University. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-549-41658-6.
  146. Jump up^ Kissinger, Henry (2011). Diplomacy. Simon & Schuster. pp. 781–784. ISBN 978-1-4391-2631-8.
    Mann, James (2009). The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War. Penguin. p. 432. ISBN 978-1-4406-8639-9.
  147. Jump up^ Hayes, 2009
  148. Jump up^ US, 2013
  149. Jump up^ Dale, Reginald (February 18, 2000). “Did Clinton Do It, or Was He Lucky?”.The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
    Mankiw, N. Gregory (2008). Macroeconomics. Cengage Learning. p. 559. ISBN 978-0-324-58999-3.
  150. Jump up^ Winchester, pp. 420-423
  151. Jump up^ Flashback 9/11: As It Happened. Fox News. September 9, 2011. RetrievedMarch 6, 2013.
    “America remembers Sept. 11 attacks 11 years later”. CBS News. Associated Press. September 11, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
    “Day of Terror Video Archive”. CNN. 2005. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  152. Jump up^ Walsh, Kenneth T. (December 9, 2008). “The ‘War on Terror’ Is Critical to President George W. Bush’s Legacy”U.S. News & World Report. RetrievedMarch 6, 2013.
    Atkins, Stephen E. (2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 872. ISBN 978-1-59884-921-9.
  153. Jump up^ Wong, Edward (February 15, 2008). “Overview: The Iraq War”The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
    Johnson, James Turner (2005). The War to Oust Saddam Hussein: Just War and the New Face of Conflict. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7425-4956-2.
    Durando, Jessica; Green, Shannon Rae (December 21, 2011). “Timeline: Key moments in the Iraq War”USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  154. Jump up^ “North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)” Office of the United States Trade Representative. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
    Thakur; Manab Thakur Gene E Burton B N Srivastava (1997). International Management: Concepts and Cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. pp. 334–335.ISBN 978-0-07-463395-3.
    Akis Kalaitzidis; Gregory W. Streich (September 13, 2011). U.S. Foreign Policy: A Documentary and Reference Guide. ABC-CLIO. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-313-38376-2.
  155. Jump up^ “Barack Obama elected as America’s first black president” A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
    Dorothy Littlejohn Guthrie (September 30, 2011). Integrating African American Literature in the Library and Classroom. ABC-CLIO. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-59884-751-2.
    Gregory Parks; Matthew Hughey (January 4, 2011). The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America?. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-19-978129-4.
  156. Jump up^ “Barack Obama: Face Of New Multiracial Movement?”NPR. November 12, 2008. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
    Eric J. Bailey (May 9, 2013). The New Face of America: How the Emerging Multiracial, Multiethnic Majority is Changing the United States: How the Emerging Multiracial, Multiethnic Majority Is Changing the United States. ABC-CLIO. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-313-38570-4. This new cultural trend of acknowledging and recognizing one’s multiracial heritage was also influenced, of course, by the United States’ election of its first multiracial president — Barack Obama.
    Miguel E. Gallardo; Brian W. McNeill (February 11, 2011). Intersections of Multiple Identities: A Casebook of Evidence-Based Practices with Diverse Populations. Taylor & Francis. p. XXVII. ISBN 978-1-135-59467-1. As demonstrated by the constantly changing demographics of our multiracial society, and most prominently by Barack Obama, the first multiracial President of the United States, it is no longer enough to simply understand diverse groups of individuals as identifying only with a single ethnic or cultural background
    Jose Ashford; Craig LeCroy (June 26, 2009). Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multidimensional Perspective. Cengage Learning. p. 174. ISBN 0-495-60169-1. This is in part related to the growing presence of prominent multiracial Americans in media, including golf phenomenon Tiger Woods, Academy Award-winning actress Halle Barry, and more recently, and significantly, President Barack Obama.
  157. Jump up^ Washington, Jesse; Rugaber, Chris (September 9, 2011). “African-American Economic Gains Reversed By Great Recession”Huffington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
    Hargreaves, Steve (November 5, 2008). “Obama rides economy to White House”. CNN. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
    One Year In, a Closer Look at the Obama Presidency. MacNeil/Lehrer Production. 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  158. Jump up^ Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions, NBER, accessed January 11, 2015.
  159. Jump up^ “2010 Census Area” U.S. Census Bureau. p. 41. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  160. Jump up^ “United States”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 25, 2008. (area given in square miles)
  161. Jump up^ “Population by Sex, Rate of Population Increase, Surface Area and Density”.Demographic Yearbook 2005. UN Statistics Division. Retrieved March 25, 2008.(area given in square kilometers)
  162. Jump up^ “Area”The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. RetrievedJanuary 15, 2015.
  163. Jump up^ “Geographic Regions of Georgia”Georgia Info. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  164. Jump up to:a b Lew, Alan. “PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE US”GSP 220 – Geography of the United States. North Arizona University. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  165. Jump up^ Harms, Nicole. “Facts About the Rocky Mountain Range”Travel Tips. USA Today. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  166. Jump up^ “Great Basin”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  167. Jump up^ “Mount Whitney, California”. Peakbagger. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  168. Jump up^ “Find Distance and Azimuths Between 2 Sets of Coordinates (Badwater 36-15-01-N, 116-49-33-W and Mount Whitney 36-34-43-N, 118-17-31-W)”. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  169. Jump up^ Poppick, Laura. “Mount McKinley: Why the tallest mountain in US is where it is”. NBC News. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  170. Jump up^ O’Hanlon, Larry. “Supervolcano: What’s Under Yellowstone?”. Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
  171. Jump up^ Boyden, Jennifer. “Climate Regions of the United States”Travel Tips. USA Today. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  172. Jump up^ “Köppen Classification Map, clearly showing South Florida has a tropical climate”. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  173. Jump up^ Perkins, Sid (May 11, 2002). “Tornado Alley, USA”Science News. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2006.
  174. Jump up^ Morin, Nancy. “Vascular Plants of the United States”Plants. National Biological Service. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  175. Jump up^ Osborn, Liz. “Number of Native Species in United States”. Current Results Nexus. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  176. Jump up^ “Numbers of Insects (Species and Individuals)”. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  177. Jump up^ Lawrence, E.A. (1990). “Symbol of a Nation: The Bald Eagle in American Culture”. The Journal of American Culture 13 (1): 63–69. doi:10.1111/j.1542-734X.1990.1301_63.x.
  178. Jump up^ “National Park Service Announces Addition of Two New Units” (Press release). National Park Service. February 28, 2006. Retrieved June 13, 2006.
  179. Jump up^ Lipton, Eric; Krauss, Clifford (August 23, 2012). “Giving Reins to the States Over Drilling”. New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  180. Jump up^ Gorte, Ross W.; Vincent, Carol Hardy.; Hanson, Laura A.; Marc R., Rosenblum.“Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data” Congressional Research Service. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  181. Jump up^ “Chapter 6: Federal Programs to Promote Resource Use, Extraction, and Development” U.S. Department of the Interior. RetrievedJanuary 19, 2015.
  182. Jump up^ The National Atlas of the United States of America (January 14, 2013). “Forest Resources of the United States”. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  183. Jump up^ “Land Use Changes Involving Forestry in the United States: 1952 to 1997, With Projections to 2050″ (PDF). 2003. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  184. Jump up^ Daynes & Sussman, 2010, pp. 3, 72, 74–76, 78
  185. Jump up^ Hays, Samuel P. (2000). A History of Environmental Politics since 1945.
  186. Jump up^ Collin, Robert W. (2006). The Environmental Protection Agency: Cleaning Up America’s Act. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-313-33341-5.
  187. Jump up^ Turner, James Morton (2012). The Promise of Wilderness
  188. Jump up^ Endangered species Fish and Wildlife Service. General Accounting Office, DIANE Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4289-3997-4.
  189. Jump up to:a b “USA”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  190. Jump up^ “Statue of Liberty”World Heritage. UNESCO. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  191. Jump up^ “Statistical Abstract of the United States”United States Census Bureau. 2005.
  192. Jump up^ “Executive Summary: A Population Perspective of the United States”. Population Resource Center. May 2000. Archived from the original on June 4, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  193. Jump up to:a b c “Ancestry 2000″. U.S. Census Bureau. June 2004. Retrieved June 13,2007.
  194. Jump up^ “Population by Selected Ancestry Group and Region: 2009″ (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  195. Jump up^ Oleaga, Michael. “Immigration Numbers Update: 13 Million Mexicans Immigrated to US in 2013, But Chinese Migrants Outnumber Other Latin Americans”. Latin Post. Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  196. Jump up^ “Field Listing: Birth Rate”Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factboook. 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  197. Jump up^ “Population growth (annual %)”United Nations Population Division. The World Bank. 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  198. Jump up^ “U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2012″Office of Immigration StatisticsAnnual Flow Report.
  199. Jump up^ “Immigrants in the United States, 2010: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population”Center for Immigrant Studies. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  200. Jump up^ Baker, Bryan; Rytina, Nancy (March 2013). “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2012″Office of Immigration Statistics. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved October 21,2014.
  201. Jump up^ “What percentage of the U.S. population is gay, lesbian or bisexual?”. Washington Post. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  202. Jump up^ Donaldson James, Susan (April 8, 2011). “Gay Americans Make Up 4 Percent of Population”. ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  203. Jump up^ “LGBT Percentage Highest in D.C., Lowest in North Dakota”. Gallup. RetrievedJune 14, 2014.
  204. Jump up^ Somashekher, Sandhya (July 15, 2014). “Health survey gives government its first large-scale data on gay, bisexual population”Washington Post. RetrievedNovember 19, 2014.
    Bigelow, William (July 15, 2015). “CDC: Nation’s Percentage of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals Less than Supposed”Breitbart. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
    Sieczkowski, Cavan (July 15, 2014). “Health Survey: About 2 Percent Of Americans Are Gay Or Lesbian”Huffington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
    Painter, Kim (July 15, 2014). “Just over 2% tell CDC they are gay, lesbian, bisexual”USA Today. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  205. Jump up to:a b c Humes, Karen R.; Jones, Nicholas A.; Ramirez, Roberto R. (March 2011).“Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010″. U.S. Census Bureau. RetrievedMarch 29, 2011.
  206. Jump up^ “B03001. Hispanic or Latino Origin by Specific Origin”2007 American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
  207. Jump up^ “2010 Census Data”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  208. Jump up^ “Tables 41 and 42—Native and Foreign-Born Populations”Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 11,2009.
  209. Jump up to:a b “National Vital Statistics Reports: Volume 61, Number 1. Births: Final Data for 2012″. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 2012. RetrievedNovember 25, 2012.
  210. Jump up^ U.S. Census Bureau: “U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Final State 2010 Census Population Totals for Legislative Redistricting” see custom table, 2nd worksheet
  211. Jump up^ Exner, Rich (July 3, 2012). “Americans under age one now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot”The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH). RetrievedJuly 29, 2012.
  212. Jump up^ “An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury” (Press release). August 14, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  213. Jump up^ “United States — Urban/Rural and Inside/Outside Metropolitan Area”. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010.
  214. Jump up^ “Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2008 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008″2008 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2009. Archived from the original on December 7, 2009.
  215. Jump up to:a b “Table 5. Estimates of Population Change for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Rankings: July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008″2008 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. March 19, 2009. Archived from the original on December 7, 2009.
  216. Jump up^ “Raleigh and Austin are Fastest-Growing Metro Areas”. U.S. Census Bureau. March 19, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  217. Jump up^ “United States”Modern Language Association. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  218. Jump up^ “Language Spoken at Home by the U.S. Population, 2010″, American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, in World Almanac and Book of Facts 2012, p. 615.
  219. Jump up^ “Foreign Language Enrollments in United States Institutions of Higher Learning”. MLA. Fall 2002. Retrieved October 16, 2006.
  220. Jump up^ “The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Article XV, Section 4″. Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau. November 7, 1978. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  221. Jump up^ Dicker, Susan J. (2003). Languages in America: A Pluralist View. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. pp. 216, 220–25. ISBN 1-85359-651-5.
  222. Jump up^ “California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 412.20(6)”. Legislative Counsel, State of California. Retrieved December 17, 2007. “California Judicial Council Forms”. Judicial Council, State of California. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  223. Jump up^ “Samoan”UCLA Language Materials Project. UCLA. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
    Frederick T.L. Leong; Mark M. Leach (April 15, 2010). Suicide Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups: Theory, Research, and Practice. Routledge. p. 185.ISBN 978-1-135-91680-0.
    Robert D. Craig (2002). Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. Scarecrow Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-8108-4237-3.
  224. Jump up^ Nessa Wolfson; Joan Manes (1985). Language of Inequality. Walter de Gruyter. p. 176. ISBN 978-3-11-009946-1.
    Lawrence J. Cunningham; Janice J. Beaty (January 2001). A History of Guam. Bess Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-57306-047-9.
    Eur (2002). The Far East and Australasia 2003. Psychology Press. p. 1137.ISBN 978-1-85743-133-9.
  225. Jump up^ Yaron Matras; Peter Bakker (2003). The Mixed Language Debate: Theoretical and Empirical Advances. Walter de Gruyter. p. 301. ISBN 978-3-11-017776-3. in the Northern Marianas, Chamarro, Carolinian ( = the minority language of a group of Carolinian immigrants), and English received the status of co-official languages in 1985(Rodriguez-Ponga 1995:24-28).
  226. Jump up^ James W. Parins (November 4, 2013). Literacy and Intellectual Life in the Cherokee Nation, 1820–1906. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-8061-5122-9.
  227. Jump up^ “Translation in Puerto Rico”Puerto Rico Channel. Retrieved December 29,2013.
  228. Jump up^ “Affiliations”. 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  229. Jump up^ “Religion”. Gallup. June 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  230. Jump up to:a b “Mississippians Go to Church the Most; Vermonters, Least”. Gallup. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  231. Jump up^ Merica, Dan (June 12, 2012). “Pew Survey: Doubt of God Growing Quickly among Millennials”. CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  232. Jump up^ Hooda, Samreen (July 12, 2012). “American Confidence In Organized Religion At All Time Low”Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  233. Jump up^ “Religion Among the Millennials”. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  234. Jump up^ “Church Statistics and Religious Affiliations”. Pew Research. RetrievedSeptember 23, 2014.
  235. Jump up to:a b c d Nones” on the Rise”. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  236. Jump up^ Kosmin, Barry A., Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (December 19, 2001). “American Religious Identification Survey 2001″. CUNY Graduate Center. RetrievedSeptember 16, 2011.
  237. Jump up^ “United States”. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  238. Jump up^ Media, Minorities, and Meaning: A Critical Introduction — Page 88, Debra L. Merskin – 2010
  239. Jump up^ Walsh, Margaret (January 2005). The American West. Visions and Revisions. Cambridge University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-521-59671-8.
  240. Jump up^ “Table 55—Marital Status of the Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1990 to 2007″Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  241. Jump up^ “Women’s Advances in Education”. Columbia University, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. 2006. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  242. Jump up^ “Teenage birth rate statistics – countries compared”. NationMaster. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  243. Jump up^ “U.S. teen birth rates fall to historic lows”. CBS News. April 10, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  244. Jump up^ Strauss, Lilo T., et al. (November 24, 2006). “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2003″MMWR. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Reproductive Health. Retrieved June 17, 2007.
  245. Jump up^ “FASTSTATS – Births and Natality”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevntion. November 21, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  246. Jump up^ Wetzstein, Cheryl (May 28, 2014). “U.S. fertility plummets to record low”.The Washington Times. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  247. Jump up^ Jardine, Cassandra (October 31, 2007). “Why adoption is so easy in America”.The Daily Telegraph (London).
  248. Jump up^ “Child Adoption: Trends and policies”. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 2009.
  249. Jump up^ Hagerty, Barbara Bradley (May 27, 2008). “Some Muslims in U.S. Quietly Engage in Polygamy”National Public RadioAll Things Considered. Retrieved July 23,2009.
  250. Jump up^ Scheb, John M.; Scheb, John M. II (2002). An Introduction to the American Legal System. Florence, KY: Delmar, p. 6. ISBN 0-7668-2759-3.
  251. Jump up^ Killian, Johnny H. “Constitution of the United States”. The Office of the Secretary of the Senate. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  252. Jump up^ “Democracy Index 2013″The Economist.
  253. Jump up^ “Corruption Perceptions Index 2014″. Transparency International. RetrievedDecember 14, 2014.
  254. Jump up^ Mikhail Filippov; Peter C. Ordeshook; Olga Shvetsova (February 9, 2004).Designing Federalism: A Theory of Self-Sustainable Federal Institutions. Cambridge University Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-521-01648-3.
    Barbara Bardes; Mack Shelley; Steffen Schmidt (January 1, 2013). American Government and Politics Today: Essentials 2013 – 2014 Edition. Cengage Learning. pp. 265–266. ISBN 1-285-60571-3.
  255. Jump up^ “The Legislative Branch”. United States Diplomatic Mission to Germany. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  256. Jump up^ “The Process for impeachment”. ThinkQuest. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  257. Jump up^ “The Executive Branch”. The White House. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  258. Jump up^ Kermit L. Hall; Kevin T. McGuire (September 9, 2005). Institutions of American Democracy: The Judicial Branch. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-988374-5.
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (March 18, 2013). Learn about the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test. Government Printing Office. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-16-091708-0.
    Bryon Giddens-White (July 1, 2005). The Supreme Court and the Judicial Branch. Heinemann Library. ISBN 978-1-4034-6608-2.
    Charles L. Zelden (2007). The Judicial Branch of Federal Government: People, Process, and Politics. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-702-9.
    “Federal Courts”. United States Courts. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  259. Jump up^ Bloch, Matt; Ericson, Matthew; Quealy, Kevin (May 30, 2013). “Census 2010: Gains and Losses in Congress”The New York Times.
  260. Jump up^ “What is the Electoral College”. National Archives. Retrieved August 21,2012.
  261. Jump up^ Cossack, Roger (July 13, 2000). “Beyond politics: Why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life”. CNN. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012.
  262. Jump up^ “Nebraska (state, United States) : Agriculture”Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  263. Jump up^ Feldstein, Fabozzi, 2011, p. 9
  264. Jump up^ Schultz, 2009, pp. 164, 453, 503
  265. Jump up^ Schultz, 2009, p. 38
  266. Jump up^ Borreca, Richard (October 18, 1999). The Goal Was Democracy for All”.Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  267. Jump up^ Zuczek, Richard. “Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era” Texas v. White (1869)ISBN 0-313-33073-5 p. 649.
  268. Jump up^ See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(36) and 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(38) U.S. Federal Code, Immigration and Nationality Act. 8 U.S.C. § 1101a
  269. Jump up^ Jenkins, William O. (2009). American Samoa: Issues Associated with Potential Changes to the Current System for Adjudicating Matters of Federal Law. DIANE Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-4379-0704-9.
  270. Jump up^ US General Accounting Office, U.S. Insular Areas. Application of the U.S. Constitution. November 1997. p. 9. Appendix I, pp. 23–38. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  271. Jump up^ Fonseca, Felicia (July 17, 2010). “Native American nations debate sovereignty after Iroquois passport dispute”Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Associated Press. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  272. Jump up^ Etheridge, Eric; Deleith, Asger (August 19, 2009). “A Republic or a Democracy?”New York Times blogs. Retrieved November 7, 2010. The US system seems essentially a two-party system. …
  273. Jump up^ Avaliktos, Neal (January 1, 2004). The Election Process Revisited. Nova Publishers. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-59454-054-7.
  274. Jump up^ Grigsby, Ellen (2008). Analyzing Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Cengage Learning. pp. 106–7. ISBN 0-495-50112-3.
  275. Jump up^ “Congressional Profile Resources”Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
  276. Jump up^ MultiState Associates Incorporated. 2015 Governors and Legislatures. Viewed January 14, 2015.
  277. Jump up^ National Governor’s Association. Current Governors, viewed January 14, 2015; DeBonis, Mike. “Bowser is elected D.C. Mayor“, Washington Post November 5, 2014, viewed January 14, 2015.
  278. Jump up^ “CHART: No more WASPs in Presidential Races”. US News and World Reports. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  279. Jump up^ Knickerbocker, Brad (August 19, 2012). “US government and politics no longer run by WASPs. Does it matter?”DC Decoder (blog) (Boston MA: The Christian Science Monitor). Retrieved December 27, 2012.
  280. Jump up^ “For the first time, no WASPs in election”. NPR. August 19, 2012. RetrievedAugust 3, 2013.
  281. Jump up^ “What is the G8?”. University of Toronto. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  282. Jump up^ Kan, Shirley A. (August 29, 2014). “Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990″. Federation of American Scientist. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
    “Taiwan’s Force Modernization: The American Side”Defense Industry Daily. September 11, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  283. Jump up^ Dumbrell, John; Schäfer, Axel (2009). America’s ‘Special Relationships': Foreign and Domestic Aspects of the Politics of Alliance. p. 45.ISBN 9780203872703.
  284. Jump up^ Ek, Carl, and Ian F. Fergusson (September 3, 2010). “Canada–U.S. Relations”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  285. Jump up^ Vaughn, Bruce (August 8, 2008). “Australia: Background and U.S. Relations”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  286. Jump up^ Vaughn, Bruce (May 27, 2011). “New Zealand: Background and Bilateral Relations with the United States”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 28,2011.
  287. Jump up^ Lum, Thomas (January 3, 2011). “The Republic of the Philippines and U.S. Interests”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  288. Jump up^ Chanlett-Avery, Emma, et al. (June 8, 2011). “Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress” (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  289. Jump up^ Manyin, Mark E., Emma Chanlett-Avery, and Mary Beth Nikitin (July 8, 2011).“U.S.–South Korea Relations: Issues for Congress”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  290. Jump up^ Zanotti, Jim (July 31, 2014). “Israel: Background and U.S. Relations”. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  291. Jump up^ Shah, Anup (April 13, 2009). “U.S. and Foreign Aid Assistance”. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  292. Jump up^ Charles L. Zelden (2007). The Judicial Branch of Federal Government: People, Process, and Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-85109-702-9.
    Loren Yager; Emil Friberg; Leslie Holen (July 2003). Foreign Relations: Migration from Micronesian Nations Has Had Significant Impact on Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. DIANE Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7567-3394-0.
  293. Jump up^ Porter, Eduardo (August 14, 2012). “America’s Aversion to Taxes”The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2012. In 1965, taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to 24.7 percent of the nation’s output. In 2010, they amounted to 24.8 percent. Excluding Chile and Mexico, the United States raises less tax revenue, as a share of the economy, than every other industrial country.
  294. Jump up to:a b “CBO Historical Tables-February 2013″. Congressional Budget Office. February 5, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  295. Jump up^ Taxation in the US:

  296. Jump up^ Tax incidence of corporate tax in the United States:

  297. Jump up to:a b Matthews, Dylan (September 19, 2012). “Other countries don’t have a “47%The Washington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  298. Jump up to:a b “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009″. Congressional Budget Office. July 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  299. Jump up^ Agadoni, Laura. “Characteristics of a Regressive Tax”. Houston Chronicle Small Business blog.
  300. Jump up^ “TPC Tax Topics | Payroll Taxes”. Retrieved January 13,2014.
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