United States

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Introduction - United States:
CountryUnited States
BackgroundBritains American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nations history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the worlds most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
Location - United States:
LocationNorth America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
Geographic coordinates38 00 N, 97 00 W
Map referencesNorth America
Areatotal: 9,826,630 sq km
land: 9,161,923 sq km
water: 664,707 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
Area comparativeabout half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union
Land boundariestotal: 12,034 km
border countries: Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3,141 km
note: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is leased by the US and is part of Cuba; the base boundary is 28 km
Coastline19,924 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climatemostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
Terrainvast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
Elevation extremeslowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m
Natural resourcescoal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
Land usearable land: 18.01%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 81.78% (2005)
Irrigated land223,850 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardstsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the midwest and southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development
Environment current issuesair pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
Environment international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes
Geography noteworlds third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Mt. McKinley is highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent
People - United States:
Population301,139,947 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 20.2% (male 31,152,050/female 29,777,438)
15-64 years: 67.2% (male 100,995,752/female 101,365,035)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 15,858,477/female 21,991,195) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 36.6 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 37.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate0.894% (2007 est.)
Birth rate14.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate3.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.046 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.996 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.721 male(s)/female
total population: 0.967 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 6.37 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.02 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 78 years
male: 75.15 years
female: 80.97 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate2.09 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.6% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids950,000 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deaths17,011 (2005 est.)
Nationalitynoun: American(s)
adjective: American
Ethnic groupswhite 81.7%, black 12.9%, Asian 4.2%, Amerindian and Alaska native 1%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2% (2003 est.)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent (including persons of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin) living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.)
ReligionsProtestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10% (2002 est.)
LanguagesEnglish 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government - United States:
Country nameconventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA
Government typeConstitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
Capitalname: Washington, DC
geographic coordinates: 38 53 N, 77 02 W
time difference: UTC-5 (during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
note: the US is divided into six time zones
Dependent areasAmerican Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island
note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; it entered into a political relationship with all four political units: the Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994)
Administrative divisions50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Independence4 July 1776 (from Great Britain)
National holidayIndependence Day, 4 July (1776)
Constitution17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789
Legal systemfederal court system based on English common law; each state has its own unique legal system, of which all but one (Louisiana, which is still influenced by the Napoleonic Code) is based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President George W. BUSH (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by a college of representatives who are elected directly from each state; president and vice president serve four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 2 November 2004 (next to be held on 4 November 2008)
election results: George W. BUSH reelected president; percent of popular vote - George W. BUSH 50.9%, John KERRY 48.1%, other 1.0%
Legislative branchbicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, 2 members are elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third are elected every two years) and the House of Representatives (435 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held November 2008); House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held November 2008)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 49, Republican Party 49, independent 2; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 233, Republican Party 202
Judicial branchSupreme Court (nine justices; nominated by the president and confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate; appointed to serve for life); United States Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Party [Howard DEAN]; Green Party; Libertarian Party [William (Bill) REDPATH]; Republican Party [Robert M. (Mike) DUNCAN]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationAfDB, ANZUS, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SECI (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMOVIC, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; known as Old Glory; the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico
Economy - United States:
Economy overviewThe US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $43,500. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a two-tier labor market in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. The rise in GDP in 2004-06 was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity. Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the Gulf Coast region in August 2005, but had a small impact on overall GDP growth for the year. Soaring oil prices in 2005 and 2006 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2006. Imported oil accounts for about two-thirds of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $750 billion in 2006.
Gdp purchasing power parity $13.13 trillion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $13.21 trillion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate3.2% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $44,000 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 0.9%
industry: 20.4%
services: 78.6% (2006 est.)
Labor force151.4 million (includes unemployed) (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationfarming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.9%, managerial, professional, and technical 34.9%, sales and office 25%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2006)
Unemployment rate4.8% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line12% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 30.5% (1997)
Distribution of family income gini index45 (2004)
Inflation rate consumer prices 2.5% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 16.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.409 trillion
expenditures: $2.66 trillion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt64.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture productswheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Industriesleading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Industrial production growth rate4.2% (2006 est.)
Electricity production3.979 trillion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption3.717 trillion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports22.9 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity imports34.21 billion kWh (2004)
Oil production7.61 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil consumption20.73 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports1.048 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil imports13.15 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil proved reserves21.37 billion bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas production531.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption635.1 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports24.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports120.6 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves5.451 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance-$862.3 billion (2006 est.)
Exports$1.024 trillion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiesagricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2003)
Exports partnersCanada 22.2%, Mexico 12.9%, Japan 5.8%, China 5.3%, UK 4.4% (2006)
Imports$1.869 trillion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesagricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2003)
Imports partnersCanada 16%, China 15.9%, Mexico 10.4%, Japan 7.9%, Germany 4.8% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$69.19 billion (August 2006 est.)
Economic aid donorODA, $6.9 billion (1997)
Debt external$10.04 trillion (30 June 2006 est.)
Currency code US dollar (USD)
Exchange ratesBritish pounds per US dollar - 0.5418 (2006), 0.5500 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002)
: Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003), 1.5693 (2002)
: Japanese yen per US dollar - 116.18 (2006) 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002)
: euros per US dollar - .7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.8860 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
: Chinese yuan per US dollar - 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.2770 (2003), 8.2770 (2002)
Communications - United States:
Fiscal year1 October - 30 September
Telephones main lines in use172 million (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular233 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: a large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system
domestic: a large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries every form of telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout the country
international: country code - 1; 24 ocean cable systems in use; satellite earth stations - 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2000)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 4,789, FM 8,961, shortwave 19 (2006)
Television broadcast stations2,218 (2006)
Internet country code.us
Internet hosts195.139 million (2005)
Internet users208 million (2006)
Transportation - United States:
Airports14,858 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 5,119
over 3,047 m: 189
2,438 to 3,047 m: 221
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,426
914 to 1,523 m: 2,337
under 914 m: 946 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 9,739
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 157
914 to 1,523 m: 1,728
under 914 m: 7,847 (2006)
Heliports149 (2006)
Pipelinespetroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2003)
Railwaystotal: 226,612 km
standard gauge: 226,612 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Roadwaystotal: 6,430,366 km
paved: 4,165,110 km (includes 75,009 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,265,256 km (2005)
Waterways41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce)
note: Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with Canada (2007)
Merchant marinetotal: 465 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,590,325 GRT/13,273,133 DWT
by type: barge carrier 7, bulk carrier 67, cargo 91, chemical tanker 20, container 76, passenger 19, passenger/cargo 58, petroleum tanker 76, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 27, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 20
foreign-owned: 51 (Australia 2, Canada 4, Denmark 24, Germany 2, Greece 1, Malaysia 4, Netherlands 4, Norway 2, Singapore 2, Sweden 5, Taiwan 1)
registered in other countries: 700 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Australia 3, Bahamas 121, Belize 5, Bermuda 27, Cambodia 8, Canada 2, Cayman Islands 41, Comoros 2, Cyprus 7, Greece 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 21, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 3, Italy 15, North Korea 3, South Korea 7, Liberia 93, Luxembourg 3, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 143, Netherlands 13, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 13, Panama 94, Peru 1, Philippines 8, Portugal 1, Puerto Rico 3, Qatar 1, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 21, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 7, Spain 7, Sweden 1, Trinidad and Tobago 1, UK 6, Vanuatu 1, Wallis and Futuna 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsCorpus Christi, Duluth, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Texas City
note: 13 ports north of New Orleans (South Louisiana Ports) on the Mississippi River handle 290,000,000 tons of cargo annually
Military - United States:
Military branchesArmy, Navy and Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard; note - Coast Guard administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy
Military service age and obligation18 years of age; 17 years of age with written parental consent (2006)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 67,742,879
females age 18-49: 67,070,144 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 54,609,050
females age 18-49: 54,696,706 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 2,143,873
females age 18-49: 2,036,201 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): the US admitted 62,643 refugees during FY04/05 including, 10,586 (Somalia), 8,549 (Laos), 6,666 (Russia), 6,479 (Cuba), 3,100 (Haiti), 2,136 (Iran) (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdp4.06% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalthe U.S. has intensified domestic security measures and is collaborating closely with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across the international borders; abundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; 1990 Maritime Boundary Agreement in the Bering Sea still awaits Russian Duma ratification; managed maritime boundary disputes with Canada at Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and around the disputed Machias Seal Island and North Rock; The Bahamas and US have not been able to agree on a maritime boundary; US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other states; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island; Tokelau included American Samoas Swains Island among the islands listed in its 2006 draft constitution
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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An Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests attempting to measure intelligence. Although the term "IQ" is still in common use, the scoring of modern IQ tests such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is now based on a projection of the subject's measured rank on the Gaussian bell curve with a center value (average IQ) of 100, and a standard deviation of 15, although different tests may have different standard deviations. The average IQ scores for many populations have been rising at an average rate of three points per decade since the early 20th century with most of the increase in the lower half of the IQ range: a phenomenon called the Flynn effect. It is disputed whether these changes in scores reflect real changes in intellectual abilities, or merely methodological problems with past or present testing. (Wikipedie)

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