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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
United States
 
Flag of United States                                Map of United States
 
Background:Britain's 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 nation's 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 world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
  
Geography
  
Location:North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
Geographic coordinates:38 00 N, 97 00 W
Map references:North America
Area:total: 9,826,630 sq km
land: 9,161,923 sq km
water: 664,707 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
Area—comparative:about 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 boundaries:total: 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
Coastline:19,924 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate:mostly 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
Terrain:vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
Elevation extremes:lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,198 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: 18.01%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 81.78% (2005)
Irrigated land:223,850 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:3,069 cu km (1985)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 477 cu km/yr (13%/46%/41%)
per capita: 1,600 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:tsunamis, 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 issues:air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
Environment—international agreements:party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-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—note:world's 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
  
Population:301,139,947 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 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 age:total: 36.6 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 37.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:0.894% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:14.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:3.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at 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 rate:total: 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 birth:total population: 78 years
male: 75.15 years
female: 80.97 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.09 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:950,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:17,011 (2005 est.)
Nationality:noun: American(s)
adjective: American
Ethnic groups:white 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.)
Religions:Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Languages:English 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
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA
Government type:Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
Capital:name: 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
Administrative divisions:50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Dependent areas:American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island
note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; 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)
Independence:4 July 1776 (from Great Britain)
National holiday:Independence Day, 4 July (1776)
Constitution:17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789
Legal system:federal 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
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief 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 branch:bicameral 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 branch:Supreme 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 leaders:Democratic Party [Howard DEAN]; Green Party; Libertarian Party [William (Bill) REDPATH]; Republican Party [Robert M. (Mike) DUNCAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ADB (nonregional members), AfDB, ANZUS, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, 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, ICCt (signatory), 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, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description:13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; known as Old Glory; the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview:The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,000. 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 2004-07 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 2005-2007 threatened inflation and unemployment, yet the economy continued to grow through year-end 2007. 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 $847 billion in 2007. Together, these problems caused a marked reduction in the value and status of the dollar worldwide in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$13.86 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$13.79 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:2.2% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$46,000 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 20.6%
services: 78.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force:153.1 million (includes unemployed) (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:farming, forestry, and fishing 0.6%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.6%, managerial, professional, and technical 35.5%, sales and office 24.8%, other services 16.5%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2007)
Unemployment rate:4.6% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:12% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:45 (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.7% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):15.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $2.568 trillion
expenditures: $2.731 trillion (2007 est.)
Public debt:36.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Industries:leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Industrial production growth rate:0.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:4.062 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:3.816 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:19.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:44.53 billion kWh (2005)
Oil—production:8.322 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:20.8 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:1.048 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:13.15 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:21.76 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:490.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:604 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:19.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:117.9 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:5.551 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-747.1 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$1.14 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:agricultural 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—partners:Canada 22.2%, Mexico 12.9%, Japan 5.8%, China 5.3%, UK 4.4% (2006)
Imports:$1.987 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:agricultural 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—partners:Canada 16%, China 15.9%, Mexico 10.4%, Japan 7.9%, Germany 4.8% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$65.89 billion (2006 est.)
Debt—external:$12.25 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$1.818 trillion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$2.306 trillion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$17 trillion (2005)
Economic aid—donor:ODA, $6.9 billion (1997)
Currency (code):US dollar (USD)
Exchange rates:British pounds per US dollar: 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5500 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006), 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003)
Japanese yen per US dollar: 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006) 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003)
euros per US dollar: 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.8860 (2003)
Chinese yuan per US dollar: 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.2770 (2003)
Fiscal year:1 October - 30 September
  
Communications
  
Telephones—main lines in use:172 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:233 million (2006)
Telephone system:general 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; multiple ocean cable systems provide international connectivity; satellite earth stations - 61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions) (2000)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 4,789, FM 8,961, shortwave 19 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:2,218 (2006)
Internet country code:.us
Internet hosts:3.95 million (2007)
Internet users:208 million (2006)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:14,947 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 5,143
over 3,047 m: 191
2,438 to 3,047 m: 224
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,452
914 to 1,523 m: 2,323
under 914 m: 953 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 9,804
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 153
914 to 1,523 m: 1,732
under 914 m: 7,912 (2007)
Heliports:146 (2007)
Pipelines:petroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2006)
Railways:total: 226,612 km
standard gauge: 226,612 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Roadways:total: 6,430,366 km
paved: 4,165,110 km (includes 75,009 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,265,256 km (2005)
Waterways:41,009 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 marine:total: 446 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,308,428 GRT/12,616,742 DWT
by type: barge carrier 6, bulk carrier 64, cargo 82, carrier 2, chemical tanker 20, container 82, passenger 20, passenger/cargo 60, petroleum tanker 59, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 26, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 20
foreign-owned: 67 (Australia 2, Canada 4, Denmark 29, Germany 6, Malaysia 4, Netherlands 1, Norway 4, Singapore 11, Sweden 5, UK 1)
registered in other countries: 785 (Antigua and Barbuda 8, Australia 5, Bahamas 162, Belize 3, Bermuda 23, Cambodia 6, Canada 3, Cayman Islands 41, Comoros 2, Cyprus 8, Ecuador 1, Greece 10, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 22, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 4, Italy 16, Liberia 103, South Korea 7, Luxembourg 3, Malta 11, Marshall Islands 129, Netherlands 13, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 18, Panama 115, Peru 1, Portugal 1, Puerto Rico 3, Russia 1, Singapore 17, Spain 9, St Vincent and The Grenadines 21, Sweden 1, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Tuvalu 1, UK 11, Vanuatu 1, unknown 4) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Corpus Christi, Duluth, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, Texas City
  
Military
  
Military branches:Army, 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 obligation:18 years of age; 17 years of age with written parental consent (2006)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 67,742,879
females age 18-49: 67,070,144 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 54,609,050
females age 18-49: 54,696,706 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 2,143,873
females age 18-49: 2,036,201 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:4.06% (2005 est.)
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:the 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 Samoa's Swains Island among the islands listed in its 2006 draft constitution
Refugees and internally displaced persons:refugees (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)
Illicit drugs:world's largest consumer of cocaine, shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean; consumer of ecstasy and of Mexican heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine; minor consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center

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