USA Country Overview
The United States of America is a federal state in North America with the capital Washington DC. The third largest country in the world in terms of area stretches between the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Alaska, separated from the main part of the United States, extends into the Arctic. Mighty mountain ranges rise behind the coastal plains: the Appalachians in the east and the Cordilleras with the Rocky Mountains in the west. In between are the Interior Plains with the Great Lakesin the north and the Mississippi as the largest stream. The Colorado River created the spectacular Grand Canyon in the southwest. Volcanism and earthquakes exist in the catchment area of the Pacific Ring of Fire. In addition, two continental plates meet at the San Andreas Fault in California.
The climate is cool-temperate in the north, subtropical in the south and continental in the interior. Tornadoes regularly cover parts of the Inner Plains. Hurricanes come from the Atlantic and across the Gulf of Mexico. The north-south expansion of the mountains favors polar cold air inrushes with blizzards in winter.
With around 327 million residents, the USA ranks third among the most populous countries. The northeast, the west and regions in the south and on the Gulf of Mexico are particularly densely populated. From the 17th century the country was the destination of religious refugees and immigrants, who first came from Europe and from the 20th century also from Latin America and Asia. Along with the descendants of African slaves (slavery) they created a primarily multi-religious society that sees itself as a “melting pot”. Religion plays a major role in social life. The resulting worldview often gives political debates an irreconcilable accent. Great importance is attached to personal freedom and independence. On the other hand, voluntary work often does what in Europe is seen more as a task of the welfare state.
In the 1960s and 1970s, social emancipation efforts, especially the civil rights movement against racial discrimination and the women’s movement, ushered in a profound change. In addition, there was an expansion in education, so that today about a third of men and women have a college degree.
American literature, art, and architecture achieved world renown in the 20th century. The connection between art and commerce allowed a multi-faceted mass culture to blossom. On the other hand, there was the almost complete annihilation of the indigenous people, the North American Indians, and their culture.
With high industrialization at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the USA became the largest economy in the world. After the Second World War, the US dollar rose to become the global reserve currency. Corporations with strong capital and innovation drove economic development. Today the USA is a service company with a firm footing in the high-tech and IT sectors. In addition, the USA is one of the world’s largest oil producing countries. A highly mechanized agriculture produces for export. Large-scale arable farming characterizes entire regions: In the Midwest, mainly grain is grown, in California, with the help of artificial irrigation, fruit and vegetables are grown.
After breaking away from Great Britain in the North American War of Independence, the USA adopted the first modern democratic constitution in 1787. The result was a federal state with today 50 member states as well as a presidential system with separation of powers and a two-party system. Even before the American Civil War (1861–65), territorial expansion towards the west was gaining momentum (Frontier). During the First World War the USA became a global player and after the Second World War it became a nuclear superpower at the head of the western defense alliance NATO.
- Official name: United States of America
- License plate: USA
- ISO-3166: US, USA (840)
- Internet domain:.us
- Currency: 1 US dollar (US $) = 100 cents
- Area: 9,831,510 km²
- Population (2018): 327.2 million
- Capital: Washington (DC)
- Official language (s): English; regional Spanish
- Form of government: Presidential Republic
- Administrative division: 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC)
- Head of State: President Joe Biden
- Religion (s) (2014): Christians (46.5% Protestants, 20.8% Catholics), Muslims, Buddhists
- Time zone: Central European Time -5 to -11 hours
- National Day: July 4th
Location and infrastructure
- Location (geographical): North America
- Location (coordinates): between 25 ° 07 ‘and 49 ° 23’ north latitude and 65 ° 57 ‘and 124 ° 44’ west longitude
- Climate: In the east and in the middle, a winter-damp and cold climate north of the 40th degree of latitude, to the south of it an oceanic climate, in the mountains alternation from winter-damp and cold climate and steppe climate, on the Pacific coast a warm, summer-dry climate
- Highest mountain: Denali (6,198 m)
- Road network (2012): 4 304 715 km (paved), 2 281 895 km (unpaved)
- Railway network (2014): 293 564 km
- Annual population growth (2020): 0.7%
- Birth rate (2020): 12.4 per 1000 inh.
- Death rate (2020): 8.3 per 1000 residents.
- Average age (2020): 38.5 years
- Average life expectancy (2020): 80.3 years (women 82.5; men 78)
- Age structure (2020): 18.5% younger than 15 years, 16.9% older than 65 years
- Literacy rate (15 year olds and older): k. A.
- Mobile phone contracts (pre-paid and post-paid) (2017): 121 per 100 residents
- Internet users (2017): 75 per 100 residents
- GDP per capita (2018): US $ 62,606
- Total GDP (2018): US $ 20,494 billion
- GNI per capita (2018): US $ 63,080
- Education expenditure (2014): 5% of GDP
- Military expenditure (2019): 3.4% of GDP
- Unemployment rate (2017): 4.4%
The USA has a very diverse fauna. The bison lived by the millions on the wide prairies until the 19th century. Almost exterminated in the meantime, bison are today v. Chr. a. kept on farms. The “wild” mustangs go back to horses introduced by Europeans. Fossil horses are known from North America, but died out or were wiped out long before the arrival of the Europeans.
Mammals live in the vast forests of the north and in the high mountains of the west, including the rare grizzly and the fairly common American black bear. The puma is also common. The ungulates include deer such as elk, large subspecies of the red deer, and the white-tailed deer. Bighorn sheep also live in small flocks in the high mountains. Squirrels (Squirrel, Chipmuks) are among the most conspicuous animals in the forests. Raccoons are common. In the warm south there are still some antelope species, often coyotes and sometimes large colonies of the Prairie dog. Whales migrate along the west coast; Seals such as the California sea lion and northern elephant seal are also native there, as well as sea otters in the seaweed fields.
Birds: The bald eagle is one of the most conspicuous species in the forests. Various jays and the wild turkey also live there. Turkey vultures (New World vultures) are common in the south. Characteristic desert birds are the racing cuckoos (“road runners”, cuckoos). Hummingbirds originally from South America are also found here. The coasts are populated by brown pelicans. The extensive wetlands of the south, e.g. B. the Everglades in Florida, are home to countless waterfowl. The pigeon once populated the Midwest in millions of flocks. It was eradicated (extinction) within a few decades – entire industries were created for its “processing”. The last specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
The reptiles are extremely species-rich in the USA. Ring turtles, snapping turtles and vulture turtles can often be found in and around bodies of water. Especially the hot, dry desert and semi-desert areas of the south are populated by lizards, especially smaller iguanas (e.g. fence and collar iguanas, toad lizards, chuckwalla, in the more humid south-east also red throated anoles) as well as skinks, rail lizards and geckos. The gila animal is found in the deserts of Arizona, one of the only two poisonous lizard species in the world. The Mississippi alligator thanks to extensive conservation efforts, now colonizes the wetlands of the south again in large numbers. The most famous snakes are venomous pit vipers such as rattlesnakes, water moccasin snakes, and coral snakes. There are also king snakes and, particularly often, garter snakes.
Amphibians are also rich in species with frogs, but above all a wide variety of tailed amphibians (e.g. lungless salamanders, arm and eel newts). The same applies to fish that live not only in the adjacent seas, but also in the large rivers and v. a. are of great economic importance in the Great Lakes area.
The fauna of Hawaii is completely independent . Relatively few independent animal species meet immigrants from Asia, the South Seas and America here. Alaska’s wildlife is essentially the same as that of northern Canada.