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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.
Common Name: United States Local Official Name: United States
Abbreviated Name: United States of America Official Name: United States
Official Script Name: United States Local Common Name: US or USA
Former Name: United States Territory of: None
Head of State: President George W. BUSH
Government Type: Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
Independence: 1776 July 04 (from Great Britain)
Constitution: 1787 September 17 (effective 4 March 1789)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 4 July
International Organization Participation: APEC, 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
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)
Legal System: federal court system based on English common law; each state has its own unique legal system, of which all but one (Louisiana's) is based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage: 18 years
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: 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 4 November 2008) election results: George W. BUSH reelected president; percent of popular vote - George W. BUSH (Republican Party) 50.9%, John KERRY (Democratic Party) 48.1%, other 1.0% Legislative branch: bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, one-third are renewed every two years; 2 members are elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms) 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 on November 2008); House of Representatives - last held 7 November 2006 (next to be held on 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 232, Republican Party 203 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
Party Leaders: Democratic Party [Howard DEAN]; Green Party; Libertarian Party [Steve DAMERELL]; Republican Party [Ken MEHLMAN]
International Disputes: prolonged drought, population growth, and outmoded practices and infrastructure in the border region strain water-sharing arrangements with Mexico; the US has stepped up efforts to stem nationals from Mexico, Central America, and other parts of the world from crossing illegally into the US from Mexico; illegal immigrants from the Caribbean, notably Haiti and the Dominican Republic, attempt to enter the US through Florida by sea; 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; US and Canada seek greater cooperation in monitoring people and commodities crossing the border; 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 state; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island
Illicit Drugs: world's largest consumer of cocaine, shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean; consumer of heroin, marijuana, and increasingly methamphetamine from Mexico; consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine; money-laundering center 
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Location of United States: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
Continent: North America Land Area Total: 9,631,420 sq km 
Region: Northern American Land Area Land: 9,161,923 sq km
Capitol City: Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) Land Area Water: 469,497 sq km
Latitude: 038 00 N Border Boundary Land: 12,034 km
Longitude: 097 00 W Border Boundary Coastline: 19,924 km 
Arable Land: 18.01 % Pastures: 25.00 %
Crops: 0.21 % Woodlands and Forests: 30.00
Highest Elevation: 6,194 m Location: Mount McKinley
Lowest Elevation: -86 m Location: Death Valley
Largest City in United States: New York City New York City Largest City Population: 16,578,000
Threatened Species: 1,099
Environmental 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
Environmental 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
Irrigated Land: 223,850
Bordering Countries: border countries: Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Cuba 29 km (US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay), Mexico 3,326 km note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba
Natural Resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
Geographical 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
Comparative Area of United States: 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; almost two and a half times the size of the European Union
United States's Geography: 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

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General 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
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
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Economic Overview: The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $42,000. 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 and 2005 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 mid-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.
GDP: $12,310,000,000,000 USD Currency: US Dollar
GDP per Capita: $41,600 USD Currency Code: USD
GDP Growth Rate: 3.20 %
Currency Exchange Rate History: British pounds per US dollar - 0.5500 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001); Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.2118 (2005), 1.3010 (2004), 1.4011 (2003), 1.5693 (2002), 1.5488 (2001); Japanese yen per US dollar - 110.22 (2005
GDP of Agriculture: 1.00 % GDP of Industry: 20.40 %
GDP of Services: 78.70 %  
Inflation Rate: 3.20 % Population in Poverty: 12.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 5.10 % Tourism: 48,497,000.00 visitors each year
Consumption by lowest 10%: 1.80 % Budget Revenue in USD: $2,119,000,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 30.50 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $2,466,000,000,000 USD
Electricity Production: 3,892,000,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 23,970,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 3,656,000,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 30,390,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 70.76% Nuclear Electricity Production: 19.84%
Hydro Electricity Production: 7.19% Other Electricity Production: 2.21%
Oil Production: 7,610,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 539,000,000,000 cu m
Oil Consumption: 20,030,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 633,600,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 1,048,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 24,190,000,000 cu m
Oil Imports: 13,150,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 114,100,000,000 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 22,450,000,000 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 5,353,000,000,000 cu m
External Debt: $86,940,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $0 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $8,837,000,000,000 USD
Agricultural Products: wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
Primary 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 Growth Rate: 3.20 %
Import Amount in USD: $1,727,000,000,000 USD - 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,
Import Partners: Canada 16.9%, China 15%, Mexico 10%, Japan 8.2%, Germany 5%
Export Amount in USD: $927,500,000,000 USD - 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%
Export Partners: Canada 23.4%, Mexico 13.3%, Japan 6.1%, China 4.6%, UK 4.3%
GINI Index: 45.00%
Labor Force Number of People: 149,300,000
Labor Force by Occupations: farming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%, manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts 22.9%, managerial, professional, and technical 34.7%, sales and office 25.4%, other services 16.3% note: figures exclude the unemployed
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 13,769 Number of People with Radios: 575,000,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 2,218 Number of People with Televisions: 219,000,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 268,000,000 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 219,400,000
Internet Service Providers: 195,138,696 Internet Users: 205,326,680
Internet Country Code: .us Newspapers: 212
Two Letter Country Code: US Weights and Measures: Imperial
Phone Country Code: 1 Electricity Voltage: 120 Volts
Telephone Systems: 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; 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)
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Highways: 4,164,964 km Railways: 226,605 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 607,000 km Waterways: 41,009 km
Airports: 5,119 Heliports: 149
Motor Vehicles: 798 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 2,147,483,647 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 20.00 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
Merchant Marines: total: 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)
Ports and Harbors: Corpus 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
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Population: 298,444,215 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 14.14 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 31.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 8.26 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 0.91% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 2.09 babies born per woman
Population Male 0-14: 31,095,847 Population Female 0-14: 29,715,872
Population Male 15-64: 100,022,845 Population Female 15-64: 100,413,484
Population Male 65+: 15,542,288 Population Female 65+: 21,653,879
Population 0-14: 20.40% Literacy Rate: 99.00%
Population 15-64: 67.20% Literacy rate of Males: 99.00%
Population 65+: 12.50% Literacy rate of Females: 99.00%
Population that is Male: 52.50 % Population that is Female: 47.50%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 77.85 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 6.43 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 75.02 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 80.82 years
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.60% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 950,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 14,000
Disease Risk:
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 3.18
Nationality: 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 L 
Primary Language: English
Other Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7%
Primary Religion: Protestant
Other Religions: Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10%
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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
Manpower Fit to Serve: 18 years
Manpower Available: 134,813,023 People
Manpower Fit to Serve: 109,305,756 People
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 4,180,074 People per year
Expenditures: $0 USD per year
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 4.06
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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