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USA/US (United States of America)

About USA

Official NameUnited States of America
Short form / AbbreviationUnited States / U.S.A. / U.S.
Area9,826,675 sq km
Population316,668,567 (July 2013 estimate)
CapitalWashington, D.C.
CurrencyUnited States Dollar (USD)
National Income (Per Capita)USD 49,800 (2012 estimate)
GDPUSD 15.66 trillion (2012 estimate)
Independence Day4th July 1776
National Emblem The Bald Eagle
National AnthemThe Star-Spangled Banner
National AnimalNone
National BirdNone
National FlowerRose (Rosa)
Literacy99% (2003 estimate)
Time Zone(s)8 Time Zones
UTC -4 (AST) ; UTC -5 (EST) ; UTC -6 (CST) ; UTC -7 (MST) ;
UTC -8 (PST) ; UTC -9 (AKST) ; UTC -10 (HAST) ; UTC -11 (SST).
ClimateMostly Temperate

MapsofWorld Top Ten
Top Ten US Cities
Los Angeles, California
  1. New York City, New York
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Houston, Texas
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  6. Phoenix, Arizona
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. San Jose, California
Top Ten US Museums
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City
  2. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  3. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
  4. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
  6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
  7. Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.
  8. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
  9. Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis

Top Ten US Tourist Spots
New York City, New York
  1. New York City, New York
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Florida Keys, Florida
  6. San Francisco, California
  7. Los Angeles, California
  8. Hawaii
  9. Chicago, Illinois
  10. Four Corners Region, (Southwest U.S.A.), Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah
Top Ten US Landmarks
Statue of Liberty, New York
  1. Statue of Liberty, New York
  2. Niagara Falls, New York
  3. Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
  4. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
  5. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
  6. Grand Canyon, Arizona
  7. Independence Hall, Philadelphia
  8. Gateway Arch, St. Louis
  9. The Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas
  10. Hoover Dam, Colorado River

Top Ten US Dishes
Buffalo Wings, New York
  1. Buffalo Wings, New York
  2. Las Vegas All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Nevada
  3. DC Chili Half Smoke, Washington, D.C.
  4. Clam Chowder, Massachusetts
  5. Key Lime Pie, Florida
  6. Fish Tacos, California
  7. Hawaii Ahi Poke, Hawaii
  8. Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza, Illinois
  9. Pork Chimichanga, Arizona
  10. Green Chile Cheeseburger, New Mexico
Top Ten US Drinks
Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Orange Juice
  3. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
  4. Chocolate Milk Shake
  5. Martini
  6. Manhattan
  7. Long Island Iced Tea
  8. Cosmopolitan
  9. The Mint Julep
  10. Irish Car Bomb

Top Ten US Brands
  1. Walmart
  2. Google
  3. Coca-Cola
  4. Microsoft
  5. McDonald's
  6. Apple
  7. Nike
  8. Facebook
  10. IBM
Top Ten US Shopping Destinations
Dallas, Texas
  1. Houston, Texas
  2. Dallas, Texas
  3. Baltimore, Maryland
  4. Columbus, Ohio
  5. Indianapolis, Indiana
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. San Antonio, Texas
  9. Jacksonville, Florida
  10. San Diego, California

Physical Geography
LocationThe United States of America (U.S.A.) or the United States (U.S.) is located in the continent of North America. It is bound in the north by Canada, in the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, in the south by Mexico and in the west by the North Pacific Ocean.

The geographic coordinates of the country are 38 degrees 00 minutes north and 97 degrees 00 minutes west. The northernmost point of the country is Point Barrow in Alaska, while the southernmost point is Ka Lae in Hawaii and the easternmost point is West Quoddy Head in Maine, while the westernmost point is Cape Wrangell in Alaska. With the exception of Alaska the entire country lies between the 50 degrees north and 25 degrees north latitude.

U.S.A. is divided into 8 time zones. These are the AST-Atlantic Standard Time (UTC -4), EST-Eastern Stand Time (UTC -5), CST-Central Standard Time (UTC -6), MST-Mountain Standard Time (UTC -7), PST-Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8), AKST-Alaska Standard Time (UTC -9), HAST-Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (UTC -10) and SST-Samoa Standard Time (UTC -11).

Since 2007, Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the 50 states of the U.S.A. on the second Sunday of March and reverts back to Standard Time on the first Sunday of November each year. With the clock set forward by 1 hour the names of the time zones also change to EDT-Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4), CDT-Central Daylight Time (UTC -5), MDT-Mountain Daylight Time (UTC -6), PDT-Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7), AKDT-Alaska Daylight Time (UTC -8), HADT-Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time (UTC -9) and SDT-Samoa Daylight Time (UTC -10).

The total area of U.S.A. is 9,826,675 sq km and this makes it the third largest country in the world. Of this total, the land area is 9,161,966 sq km while the remaining 664,709 sq km is covered by water.

The vast geographical extent of the country has many distinct landforms. Extensive plains cover most of the central part and are called the Great Plains. These plains are bound by the high Rocky Mountains in the west and low mountains and hills of the Appalachian Range in the east. Alaska is characterized by rugged mountains and broad river valleys while the islands of Hawaii have volcanic topography. The coastal areas of the country are characterized by numerous beaches, bays, deltas, marshes, mudflats and swamps.

The highest point in the country is Mount McKinley in Alaska which is 6,194 m high while the lowest point is Death Valley in California which lies at -86 m.

U.S.A has a large latitudinal extent because of which the temperature varies considerably across the country from north to south. The annual mean temperature ranges from as low as -3 degrees centigrade at Fairbanks in Central Alaska; to about 11 degrees centigrade at Seattle on the western seaboard, New York on the eastern seaboard and Denver on the Great Plains; to as high as 24 degrees centigrade at Miami in Florida.

Rainfall in the country reduces from the west to east that is from the Rockies across the Great Plains. However the central Great Plains or the Mid-West is a meeting ground for cold northerly winds from the Arctic and the humid southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico making it a tornado prone zone especially in the spring. The high rainfall areas of the country are south-eastern region (Miami 1,400 mm) and the north-western coastal belt (Seattle 940 mm). In late summer and early autumn high temperatures in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico trigger hurricanes which bring heavy rain to the Gulf States and sometimes to the entire eastern seaboard.

In general terms 4 seasons can be distinguished in U.S.A., they are Spring (April to June), Summer (July to September), Fall (October to December) and Winter (January to March).

Continental U.S.A. is crisscrossed by over 800 rivers. The major rivers of the country are the Colorado, Columbia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Rio Grande, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Snake River and the Yellowstone. The Mississippi-Missouri river system is the longest in the country and drains more than half of U.S.A.

Of the 5 great lakes, Lake Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario are shared by U.S.A. and Canada and only 1 - Michigan, lies entirely in U.S.A. Amongst the other largest lakes in the country are the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Lake Okeechobee in Florida and Lake Iliamna in Alaska.

US PopulationThe total estimated population of U.S.A. for the year 2013 is about 316 million.
For the year 2013 the estimated birthrate is 13.66 births per 1,000 and the death rate is 8.39 deaths per 1,000 of population while the infant mortality rate is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The sex ratio is estimated to be 0.97 males per female and the growth rate of the population is estimated at 0.9%.

The distribution of population in U.S.A. is quite uneven. The coastal areas are home to a majority of the population and the population densities are highest along the eastern and south-western seaboard. However the population density reduces drastically as one travels inland towards the center of the country. The estimated population density for the year 2013 is 33 persons per sq km.

The estimated figures for the year 2013 for age structure in U.S.A. show that 20% of the population consists of children between 0-14 years, 13.7% of the population is in the early working age between 15-24 years, 40.2% of the population is in the prime working age between 25-54 years, 12.3% of the population is in the mature working age between 55-64 years and 13.9% of the population is in the elderly age of 65 years and over.

As per the 2010 census 82% of the total population in U.S.A. is classified as urban population while the remaining 18% is classified as rural population.

* For more infomation please see our US Population page.

Social Attributes
Social AttributesThe main religion in U.S.A. is Christianity comprising of Protestants, Catholics and other Christian sects however the country also has Mormons, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims.

The languages spoken in U.S.A. are English, Spanish, other Indo-European and Asian languages and Pacific island languages. The country has no official national language, but in 28 of the 50 states, English is the official language while in the state of Hawaii the official language is Hawaiian.

Ethnic groups living in U.S.A. include whites, blacks, Asians, Amerindians and Alaska natives and Hawaiian and other Pacific island natives.

US FoodEach of the 50 states of U.S.A. has its very own state dish and together these create a unique culinary mosaic of the country. From the savory to the sweet, most American dishes are quite rich and usually come in large helpings.

* For more infomation please see our American food page.

MusicThe diversity in the ethnic composition of population in U.S.A. is amply reflected in the music genres that have developed across the country like the Jazz, Country Music, Rhythm and Blues and the Rock. And then there is the Swing Music, Rock and Roll, Disco and Hip-Hop which are very much part of the American pop culture.

Art and Painting
Art and Painting In the colonial period the European portrait painting influence could be clearly seen on American art and 2 famous portrait painters of the period were John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) and Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). After independence from England the national pride in the new American nation led artists like John Trumbull (1756-1843) and Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) to paint the important events of the revolutionary war and other historical paintings. As the nation expanded westwards so did the painters and their paintings began to depict the wildlife and natives found in the west. Realism strongly influenced American painters Winslow Homer (1836-1910) and Thomas Eskins (1844-1916). In the 20th century a group of painters known as 'The Eight' gave America its first modern art and abstract art was made famous by painters like Max Weber (1881-1961), Georgia O'keeffe (1887-1986) and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956).

The gigantic sculpture of George Washington by Horatio Greenough (1805-52) which is placed in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. was influenced by ancient Roman art. Two American sculptors whose works were influenced by the European Renaissance are Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) and Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). The abstract style influenced modern American sculptors like Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Richard Hunt (1935- ).

Design and Architecture
Design and ArchitectureLike other aspects of American culture architecture was also influenced by the local conditions and the immigrants who came from different parts of the world. The 19th century saw buildings constructed in the Romanesque Revival style, the Greek Revival style characterized by symmetrical pillared forms as well as the Gothic Revival style with its pointed crocketed and asymmetrical forms; while the latter part of the 19th century saw the emergence of the skyscraper - the unmistakable American contribution to the world of architecture. Some of the notable American architects of the period were Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820), Louise Sullivan (1856-1924), Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) and Luwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). Today the architectural style in U.S.A. combines both the old and new elements and some architects of the modern era are Robert Venturi (1925- ), Richard Meier (1934- ) and Michael Graves (1934- ).

Reflecting its history, literature in U.S.A. has two distinct segments, one of the colonial era writings and the other of the post-Revolutionary writings when the evolution of American poetry, fiction and drama began. Nine Americans have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature they are Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O'Neill, Pearl Buck, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, Issac Bashevis Singer and Toni Morrison.

Fashion brands do not have any boundaries today and they are available in stores all over the world. However the top names in American Fashion are Adrienne Vittadini, Anna Sui, Anne Klein, BCBG Maxazria, Bill Blass, Billy Reid, Calvin Klein, Carole Hochman, Carolina Herrera, Claire McCardell, David Yurman, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karen, Elie Tahari, Geoffrey Beene, Giorgio di Sant' Angelo, Halston, J. Crew, J. Mendel, John Varvator, Judith Leiber, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Kay Unger, Kenneth Cole, Lincs, Liz Claiborne, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Mimi So, Mollie Parnis, Nanette LePore, Natori, Nicole Miller, Oscar de la Renta, Pamella Roland, Phillip Lim, Rag and Bone, Ralph Lauren, Reed Krakoff, Stan Herman, Stuart Weitzman, Theory, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Tracy Reese, Trina Turk and Vera Wang.

Also, some brands which are made in U.S.A. are Hickey Freeman whose specialty is men's tailored suits; New Balance whose specialty is athletic footwear; Nanette Lepore whose specialty is women's apparel; True Religion whose specialty is designer jeans; Alden Shoe Company whose specialty is men's dress shoes; Pendleton whose specialty is wool blankets, shirts and other apparel and All American Clothing Co. whose specialty is jeans.

CinemaCinema from U.S.A. has captured the imagination of the world and maintained its global dominance for many decades now. American movies can be broadly classified into westerns, romantic, comedy and combat films. The studios of Hollywood are well known for their movies and the stars they have created.
SportsSports are an integral part of the American society and though the typical American sports are baseball, soccer and basketball other sports like motor sports, shooting, fishing contests, running, boxing, horse racing, golf, tennis and extreme sports like sail boarding, mountain biking and sport climbing are also popular in the country.
Famous Americans
Some Americans who have had a great impact on American society and who are also famous the world over are Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth American President; Andrew Carnegie a financier and philanthropist; Beach Boys a musical group; Benjamin Franklin a diplomat, inventor and scientist; Bill Gates founder of Microsoft Corporation and a philanthropist; Bob Dylan a singer and songwriter; Bobby Jones a golfer; Clara Barton founder of American Red Cross; Douglas MacArthur a General and statesman; Edgar Allen Poe an author and poet; Eleanor Roosevelt an American First Lady and humanitarian; Ernest Hemingway an author; George Washington a General and the first American President; Henry Ford an industrialist and philanthropist; Jackie Robinson a baseball player; Joe Louis a boxer; John Adams the second American President; John Wayne an actor; Louis Armstrong a musician; Lucille Ball an actress and comedian; Martin Luther King a civil rights leader; Pete Sampras a tennis player; Robert Frost a poet; Rosa Parks a civil-rights freedom fighter; Stephen King an author; Susan B. Anthony an activist and woman suffrage alliance; Theodore Roosevelt the twenty sixth American President and Thomas Edison an inventor extraordinaire.
US EconomyThe fiscal year in U.S.A. is from 1 October to 30 September.

As per the year 2012 estimates agriculture contributed 1.2%, industry contributed 19.1% and the services sector contributed 79.7% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.

As per the year 2009 data 0.7% of the labor force in U.S.A. was engaged in farming, forestry and fishing; 20.3% in manufacturing, extraction, transportation and crafts; 37.3% in managerial, professional and technical activities; 24.2% in sales and office work and 17.6% in other services.

Agricultural products of the country include wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables and cotton; beef, pork, poultry and dairy products; fish and forest products.

Industries in U.S.A. are highly diversified and include petroleum, steel, automobiles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumbering and mining.

With 491 billion short tons, U.S.A. accounts for 27% of the world's total coal reserves. Other natural resources found in the country include copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas and timber.

International Trade
Total exports for U.S.A. were estimated at USD 1.612 trillion in the year 2012. The country mostly exports agricultural products like soybeans, fruit and corn; industrial supplies like organic chemicals; capital goods like transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers and telecommunications equipment; and consumer goods like automobiles and medicines. Its main export partners are Canada, Mexico, China and Japan.

Total imports into U.S.A. were estimated at USD 2.357 trillion in the year 2012. The country mostly imports agricultural products; industrial supplies like crude oil; capital goods like computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines and electric power machinery; and consumer goods like automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture and toys. Its main import partners are China, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Germany.

Travel and Tourism
Travel and TourismU.S.A. is a vast country and there is much for a tourist to visit and experience. Based on the figures of overseas travelers in 2012 the most visited cities in U.S.A. were New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Orlando, Florida; San Francisco, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Washington, D.C.; Oahu/Honolulu, Hawaii; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; San Diego, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Flagstaff, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Anaheim-Santa Ana, California; Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas.

While some of the favorite destinations for domestic American tourists were the U.S. Virgin Islands; Hudson River Valley, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Four Corners Region, Southwest U.S.A.; Culebra, Puerto Rico; California Gold Country; Boulder, Colorado; Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park.

The most visited tourist spots in U.S.A. are the Times Square, New York City; the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada; National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.; Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston; Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California; Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco; Niagara Falls, New York; Great Smokey Mountains National Park Tennessee and North Carolina and Navy Pier, Chicago.

Transport and Communication
RoadwaysWith about 6,506,204 km of roads, U.S.A. has the largest road network in the world. The country has a National Highway System (NHS) which consists of roadways that are important for the economy, defense and mobility of the nation. The Eisenhower Interstate System, the Strategic Highway Network, the major Strategic Highway Network Connectors and the Intermodal Connectors are the main types of highways that together form the NHS.

* For more see our USA roadways map.

RailroadsU.S.A. has the largest railway network in the world with 224,792 km of railway tracks. Some of the busiest passenger railway stations in the country are Penn Station, New York City; Union Station, Washington; 30th Street Station, Philadelphia; Union Station, Chicago; Union Station, Los Angeles; South Station, Boston; Sacramento Valley Station, Sacramento; Penn Station, Baltimore; Albany-Rensselaer Station, Rensselaer and Union Station, New Haven.

* For more see our USA railways map.

AirwaysWith a total of over 15,000 airports U.S.A. has the maximum number of airports in the world. The major US airports based on the volume of passengers are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta; Chicago O'Hare Airport, Chicago; Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles; Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, Dallas/ Fort Worth; Denver International Airport, Denver; John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York; George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston; McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas; San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco and Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix.

With a vast coast line touching 2 major oceans U.S.A. has many ports of which some are dedicated for passengers while others mainly for cargo. Important ports of the country are Miami Port, Port Everglades, and Port Canaveral in Florida; Seattle Port in Washington; Port of Long Beach in California; Port of Baton Rouge in Louisiana; Port of Corpus Christi in Texas; Port of Hampton Roads in Virginia and North Carolina; Port of Houston in Texas; Port of Los Angeles in California and Port of New York and New Jersey in New York and New Jersey;

U.S.A. has 2 major oil terminals they are Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) terminal in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana and Haymark terminal also in Louisiana.

As of current data for the year 2013, the U.S.A. has a total of 459 operating satellites. Of these 7 are civil satellites, 204 are commercial satellites, 117 are government satellites and 131 are military satellites.

Telephone/ Mobile network
Telephone/ Mobile networkThe international country code for U.S.A. is 1. There were 146 million telephone main lines in use and 290.3 million mobile cellular connections in the country as per the year 2011 data.

The internet country code for U.S.A. is '.us' and as per the year 2009 data there were 245 million internet users in the country.

Based on the 2010 census the 10 most populated cities of U.S.A. are New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; Dallas, Texas and San Jose, California.

Environmental Geography
In U.S.A. more than 200,000 species of life-forms are known to have been formally studied and named; however it is believed that this number may not even be half of the total plants, animals and microbes found in the country. U.S.A. is considered to have more varied and diverse ecosystems than any other nation in the world and is particularly rich in aquatic life.

Iconic flora of U.S.A. is the Prairie grass of the Prairies, the Giant Redwood of California and the Giant Saguaro cacti found in the US deserts; while the iconic fauna is the Grizzly bear, bison, wolf, Prairie dog, rattle snake and alligator.

National Parks
National ParksU.S.A. has 58 National Parks spread over the 50 states. Some of the most visited National Parks in the country are the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Yosemite in California; Yellowstone in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming; Olympic in Washington; Rocky Mountain in Colorado; Grand Teton in Wyoming; Zion in Utah; Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio and Glacier in Montana.

* For more see our USA national parks map.

It is believed that North American Indian cultures flourished in U.S.A. even as early as 12,000 BC.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas and in the 1500's the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed on the coast of Florida and subsequently the Spanish established the first permanent European colony in North America at Saint Augustine in Florida.

In the 1600's a small pox epidemic devastated the Native American population and the first slaves were brought from Africa to Jamestown.

In 1700's Britain gained control of the territories east of the Mississippi River; the American Revolution began; the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress; American Independence was acknowledged by Great Britain with the signing of the Treaty of Paris; The Constitution of the United States was ratified; George Washington was elected the first President of the United States and the US Army was established.

In the 1800's Washington, D.C. became the official capital of U.S.A.; Abraham Lincoln was elected President; the pro-slavery 11 southern states seceded from the Union; the Civil War began; the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves was issued; the Civil War ended; the American Constitution was amended to prohibit slavery and the Statue of Liberty was dedicated to the nation.

In the 1900's the Wright Brothers made their first flight; U.S.A. acquired the Panama Canal Zone and the Panama Canal opened; the World War I began, U.S.A. declared war on Germany and joined the war; the US Constitution was amended to give voting rights to women; the stock market crash led to the Great Depression; the Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the national anthem; World War II began; U.S.A. dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan; World War II ended and the United Nations was established; the Cold War between America and Soviet Union began and ended; Lt. Col. John Glenn was the first US astronaut to orbit the earth; President John. F. Kenny was assassinated; the Civil Rights Act became a law; the Vietnam War started and ended; Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. became the first people to walk on the moon; Operation Desert Storm began to drive out the Iraqis from Kuwait.

On September 1, 2001 the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit by hijacked aircrafts prompting U.S.A. to launch operations in Afghanistan to find Osama Bin Laden and defeat the Taliban both of whom were believed to be behind the terror strikes.

In 2008, Barak Obama was elected President of U.S.A.

In 2011 the Occupy Wall Street movement focused the attention of the world on the American financial crises; 9 years after invading Iraq, the last of the US troops left the country and the US forces finally found and killed Osama Bin Laden.

In 2012 Barack Obama was re-elected President of U.S.A.

State and Polity
Administratively the country is divided into 50 states and 1 district. Besides the 50 states, U.S.A. has 14 dependent areas. Of these Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island and Wake Island are unincorporated territories of U.S.A.; American Samoa (AS) is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of U.S.A.; Northern Mariana Islands (MP) are a Commonwealth in political union with U.S.A.; Puerto Rico (PR) is a Commonwealth associated with U.S.A.; Guam (GU) and Virgin Islands (VI) U.S. are organized, unincorporated territories of U.S.A.; and the Palmyra Atoll is a privately owned incorporated territory of U.S.A.

U.S.A. is a constitution based federal republic with a strong democratic tradition. The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787 and came into effect on March 4, 1789. It has been amended several times since then.

Everyone over 18 years of age is eligible to vote. A college of representatives who are elected directly from each state elect a President and Vice President for a term of 4 years - the last election was held on November 6, 2012 and the next one is to be held on November 8, 2016. The chief of state as well as head of government since January 20, 2009 is President Barack H. Obama, while the Vice President is Joseph R. Biden.

DefenseThe main branches of the US military are the US Army, the US Navy including the Marine Corps, the US Air Force and the US Coast Guard. Estimated expenditure on defense for the year 2013 is 5.18% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Human Development Index (HDI)
As per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), U.S.A. is ranked third in the world with a HDI of 0.937 in 2012.

The life expectancy at birth in U.S.A. is 78.7 years. Estimated expenditure on health care for the year 2013 is 5.49% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Any person above the age of 15 who can read and write is considered literate. The literacy rate in U.S.A. is 99% (2003 estimate). Estimated expenditure on education for the year 2013 is 0.70% of the GDP.

Per Capita National Income
Gross National Income per capita in purchasing power parity terms was USD 49,800 as estimated for the year 2012.

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