Background: The USA became the first modern democracy after its break with Great Britain (1776) and the adoption of the constitution (1789). During the 19th century many more states joined the original thirteen as the country expanded west across the American continent and acquired overseas possessions. The two most difficult episodes in national history were the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. After victories in the First and Second World Wars and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the United States remains the most powerful state in the world. The economy is characterized by robust growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid technological progress.
Location: North America, North Atlantic and North Pacific coasts between Canada and Mexico.
Geographic coordinates: 38° 00′ N. latitude, 97° 00′ W
Reference map: North America.
Area: total: 9,629,091 km2; land surface area: 9,158,960 km2; water surface area: 470,131 km2; note: Only the area of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Comparative area: about half the area of Russia; about three-tenths of the area of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); a little more than China; approximately two and a half areas of Western Europe.
Land borders: total: 12,248 km; with neighboring states: with Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km in Alaska), with Cuba 29 km (US naval base in Guantanamo), with Mexico 3,326 km; note: the naval base at Guantanamo Bay is leased by the US, while remaining part of Cuba.
Coastline: 19,924 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: not defined; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: mostly temperate but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semi-arid in the Great Plains west of the Mississippi, arid in the Great Basin in the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest sometimes soften in January and February, thanks to warm Chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Terrain: vast central plain, mountains in the west, hills and low mountains in the east; sheer mountains and wide river valleys in Alaska; rugged volcanic landform in Hawaii.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Death Valley -86 m; highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m
Natural Resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber.
Land use: arable land: 19%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 25%; forests and plantations: 30%; others: 26% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 207,000 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the Pacific Basin; hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast; mudflows in California; forest fires in the west; floods; the permafrost in northern Alaska is a major obstacle to the development of the region.
Current environmental issues: air pollution causing acid rain in the US and Canada; the United States has the largest emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels; water pollution from the use of pesticides and fertilizers; the extremely limited number of sources of drinking water in most of the western territory of the country requires its careful use; desertification.
International agreements on environmental protection: participant: Air pollution, Air pollution – nitrogen oxides, Antarctica – environmental protection protocol, Conservation of marine life in Antarctica, Antarctic seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Environmental change, Marine pollution, Conservation of marine life, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes.
Note to the section “Geography”: the third largest country in the world (after Russia and Canada).
Population: 278,058,881 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 21.12% (male 30,034,674; female 28,681,253); 15 to 64 years old: 66.27% (male 91,371,753; female 92,907,199); over 65: 12.61% (male 14,608,948; female 20,455,054) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 0.9% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 14.2 newborns / 1000 people, (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.7 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 3.5 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.98 male/female; over 65: 0.71 male/female; for the general population: 0.96 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 6.76 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 77.26 years; men: 74.37 years; women: 80.05 years (2001 est.).
Total birth rate: 2.06 children/hyung. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.61% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 850,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 20,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: American; adjective: American.
Ethnic groups: white 83.5%, black 12.4%, Asian 3.3%, Indian 0.8% (1992); note: do not separately count Hispanics because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanics, i.e. Hispanics (mainly Cubans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans) living in the US, to be of any race or ethnic group (White, blacks, Asians).
Religious: Protestant 56%, Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%, non-denominational 10% (1989).
Language(s): English, Spanish (spoken by a significant minority).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 97%; men: 97%; women: 97% (1979 est.).
conventional long form: United States of America;
conventional short form: United States; abbreviation: USA (US, USA).
State structure: federal republic; strong democratic tradition. See politicsezine.com to know more about United States Political System.
Capital: Washington DC.
Administrative division: 50 states and 1 county*: Idaho, Iowa, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Delaware, Georgia, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, District of Columbia*, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Dakota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, South Carolina, Utah.
Dependent Territories: Eastern Samoa, Baker Island, Guam Island, 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 July 18, 1947 to October 1, 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but the US has recently entered a phase of new political relations with all four new political entities; Northern Mariana Islands – a commonwealth in political union with the United States (since November 3, 1986); Palau has entered into a Free Association Agreement with the United States (effective October 1, 1994); The Federated States of Micronesia entered into an Agreement of Free Association with the United States (effective November 3, 1986);
Independence: from July 4, 1776 (until 1776 – the possession of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day, 4 July (1776)
Constitution: September 17, 1787, effective March 4, 1789
Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts is possible; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: US President George W. BUSH (since January 20, 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since January 20, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: US President George W. Bush (since January 20, 2001); Vice President Richard CHEYNEY (since January 20, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
government: cabinet appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate; elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same list by an electoral college, which is directly elected in each state; the term of office of the president and vice president is 4 years; elections last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held in November 2004); election results: George BUSH elected president; general vote distribution: George BUSH (Republican) 48%, Albert A. GORE (Jr.) (Democratic) 48%, Ralph NADER (Green Party) 3%, others 1%.
Legislature: the bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, one-third is renewed every two years; two senators from each state are elected by popular vote for six years) and the House of Representatives (435 seats; members are elected by direct universal suffrage for two years); elections: Senate – last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 4 November 2002); House of Representatives – last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held 4 November 2002); election results: Senate?, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: Republican Party 50, Democratic Party 50; House of Representatives, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: Republican Party 221, Democratic Party 211, independents 2, vacant 1 seat.
Judiciary: Supreme Court (nine life judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate); district courts; state and county courts.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party (Terence McAU-LIFFE, National Committee Chairman); Republican Party (James S. GILMORE III, National Committee Chairman); several other groups or parties of little political weight.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ARES, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MIPONUH, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC.
US diplomatic mission: US
Flag description: thirteen equal horizontal stripes interspersed with red (top and bottom) and white; on the blue rectangle in the upper left corner there are 50 small white five-pointed stars arranged in nine horizontal rows alternating six (top and bottom) and five stars; 50 stars symbolize 50 states, 13 stripes symbolize 13 originally united colonies; the flag is known as “Old Glory”; its design and colors have become a model for many other flags, including the flags of Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, Puerto Rico.