United States

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 17, 2011
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OF UNITED STATES
 

Introduction

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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), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. 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. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
 
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Geography

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North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
 
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38 00 N, 97 00 W
 
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total: 9,826,675 sq km
country comparison to the world: 3
land: 9,161,966 sq km
water: 664,709 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
 
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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
 
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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
 
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19,924 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
 
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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
 
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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
 
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lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m
note: the peak of Mauna Kea (4,207 m above sea level) on the island of Hawaii rises about 10,200 m above the Pacific Ocean floor; by this measurement, it is the world's tallest mountain - higher than Mount Everest, which is recognized as the tallest mountain above sea level
 
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coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
note: the US has the world's largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world's total
 
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arable land: 18.01%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 81.78% (2005)
 
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230,000 sq km (2008)
 
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3,069 cu km (1985)
 
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total: 477 cu km/yr (13%/46%/41%)
per capita: 1,600 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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tsunamis; volcanoes; 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
volcanism: the United States experiences volcanic activity in the Hawaiian Islands, Western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and in the Northern Mariana Islands; both Mauna Loa (elev. 4,170 m) in Hawaii and Mount Rainier (elev. 4,392 m) in Washington have been deemed "Decade Volcanoes" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pavlof (elev. 2,519 m) is the most active volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Arc and poses a significant threat to air travel since the area constitutes a major flight path between North America and East Asia; St. Helens (elev. 2,549 m, famous for the devastating 1980 eruption, remains active today; numerous other historically active volcanoes exist, mostly concentrated in the Aleutian arc and Hawaii; they include: in Alaska: Aniakchak, Augustine, Chiginagak, Fourpeaked, Iliamna, Katmai, Kupreanof, Martin, Novarupta, Redoubt, Spurr, Wrangell; in Hawaii: Trident, Ugashik-Peulik, Ukinrek Maars, Veniaminof; in the Northern Mariana Islands: Anatahan; and in the Pacific Northwest: Mount Baker, Mount Hood
 
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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 freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
 
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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
 
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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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People and Society

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noun: American(s)
adjective: American
 
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white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
 
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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
 
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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.)
 
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313,232,044 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
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0-14 years: 20.1% (male 32,107,900/female 30,781,823)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 104,411,352/female 104,808,064)
65 years and over: 13.1% (male 17,745,363/female 23,377,542) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 36.9 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 38.2 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.963% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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13.83 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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8.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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4.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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urban population: 82% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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New York-Newark 19.3 million; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 12.675 million; Chicago 9.134 million; Miami 5.699 million; WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital) 4.421 million (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.047 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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24 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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total: 6.06 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 175
male: 6.72 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 78.37 years
country comparison to the world: 50
male: 75.92 years
female: 80.93 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.06 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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16.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 2
 
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2.672 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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3.1 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 73
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 94% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 6% of population
total: 1% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0% of population (2008)
 
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0.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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1.2 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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17,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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33.9% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 6
 
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1.3% (2002)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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5.5% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2008)
 
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total: 17.6%
country comparison to the world: 66
male: 20.1%
female: 14.9% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: United States of America
conventional short form: United States
abbreviation: US or USA
 
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Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
 
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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 50 United States cover six time zones
 
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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
 
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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 entities: 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)
 
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4 July 1776 (declared); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain)
 
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Independence Day, 4 July (1776)
 
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17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789
 
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common law system based on English common law at the federal level; state legal systems based on common law except Louisiana, which is based on Napoleonic civil code; judicial review of legislative acts
 
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withdrew acceptance of compulsory ICJ jurisdiction in 2005; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
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 4 November 2008 (next to be held on 6 November 2012)
election results: Barack H. OBAMA elected president; percent of popular vote - Barack H. OBAMA 52.4%, John MCCAIN 46.3%, other 1.3%;
 
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bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100 seats, 2 members elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the House of Representatives (435 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012); House of Representatives - last held on 2 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 51, Republican Party 47, independent 2; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 192, Republican Party 243
 
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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
 
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Democratic Party [Debbie Wasserman SCHULTZ]; Green Party; Libertarian Party [Mark HINKLE]; Republican Party [Reince PRIEBUS]
 
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environmentalists; business groups; labor unions; churches; ethnic groups; political action committees or PAC; health groups; education groups; civic groups; youth groups; transportation groups; agricultural groups; veterans groups; women's groups; reform lobbies
 
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ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), ANZUS, APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CD, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, 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, UNMIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
 
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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; the blue stands for loyalty, devotion, truth, justice, and friendship; red symbolizes courage, zeal, and fervency, while white denotes purity and rectitude of conduct; commonly referred to by its nickname of Old Glory
note: the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico
 
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bald eagle
 
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name: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
lyrics/music: Francis Scott KEY/John Stafford SMITH
note: adopted 1931; during the War of 1812, after witnessing the successful American defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore following British naval bombardment, Francis Scott KEY wrote the lyrics to what would become the national anthem; the lyrics were set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song;" only the first verse is sung
 
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Economy

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The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $47,200. 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 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. Soaring oil prices between 2005 and the first half of 2008 threatened inflation and unemployment, as higher gasoline prices ate into consumers' budgets. Imported oil accounts for about 60% of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of wages in lower-income families. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $840 billion in 2008 before shrinking to $507 billion in 2009, and ramping back up to $647 billion in 2010. The global economic downturn, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, making this the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. To help stabilize financial markets, the US Congress established a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and other industrial corporations, much of which had been returned to the government by early 2011. In January 2009 the US Congress passed and President Barack OBAMA signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscal stimulus to be used over 10 years - two-thirds on additional spending and one-third on tax cuts - to create jobs and to help the economy recover. Approximately two-thirds of these funds were injected into the economy by the end of 2010. In 2010, the US budget deficit reached nearly 9% of GDP; total government revenues from taxes and other sources remained lower, as a percentage of GDP, than that of any other developed country. In March 2010, President OBAMA signed a health insurance reform bill into law that will extend coverage to an additional 32 million American citizens by 2016, through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. In July 2010, the president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a bill designed to promote financial stability by protecting consumers from financial abuses, ending taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are "too big to fail," and improving accountability and transparency in the financial system - in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives to be traded in markets that are subject to government regulation and oversight.
 
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$14.66 trillion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
$14.25 trillion (2009 est.)
$14.64 trillion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$14.66 trillion (2010 est.)
 
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2.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
-2.6% (2009 est.)
0% (2008 est.)
 
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$47,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$46,400 (2009 est.)
$48,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 1.2%
industry: 22.2%
services: 76.6% (2010 est.)
 
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153.9 million
country comparison to the world: 4
note: includes unemployed (2010 est.)
 
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farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7%
manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20.3%
managerial, professional, and technical: 37.3%
sales and office: 24.2%
other services: 17.6%
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2009)
 
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9.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
9.3% (2009 est.)
 
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15.1% (2010 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.)
 
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45 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 40
40.8 (1997)
 
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11.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 
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revenues: $2.162 trillion
expenditures: $3.456 trillion (2010 est.)
 
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14.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
 
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-8.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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62.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
54.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
note: data cover only what the United States Treasury denotes as "Debt Held by the Public," which includes all debt instruments issued by the Treasury that are owned by non-US Government entities; the data include Treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by individual US states, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of Treasury borrowings from surpluses in the trusts for Federal Social Security, Federal Employees, Hospital Insurance (Medicare and Medicaid), Disability and Unemployment, and several other smaller trusts; if data for intra-government debt were added, "Gross Debt" would increase by about one-third of GDP
 
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1.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
-0.3% (2009 est.)
 
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0.5% (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 139
0.5% (31 December 2009)
 
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3.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
3.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.866 trillion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$1.724 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$12.14 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
$12.37 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$32.61 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$31.53 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)
 
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$17.14 trillion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 1
$15.08 trillion (31 December 2009)
$11.74 trillion (31 December 2008)
 
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wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish; forest products
 
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highly diversified, world leading, high-technology innovator, second largest industrial output in world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
 
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5.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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3.953 trillion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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3.741 trillion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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18.11 billion kWh (2009 est.)
 
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34.32 billion kWh (2009 est.)
 
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9.688 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
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19.15 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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1.92 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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10.27 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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20.68 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
 
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611 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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683.3 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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32.2 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
 
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105.8 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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7.716 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
 
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-$470.2 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
-$376.6 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$1.289 trillion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$1.069 trillion (2009 est.)
 
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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%
 
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Canada 19.4%, Mexico 12.8%, China 7.2%, Japan 4.7% (2010)
 
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$1.935 trillion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$1.575 trillion (2009 est.)
 
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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)
 
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China 19.5%, Canada 14.2%, Mexico 11.8%, Japan 6.3%, Germany 4.3% (2010)
 
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$132.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
$130.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$14.71 trillion (30 June 2011)
country comparison to the world: 2
$13.98 trillion (30 June 2010)
note: approximately 4/5ths of US external debt is denominated in US dollars; foreign lenders have been willing to hold US dollar denominated debt instruments because they view the dollar as the world's reserve currency
 
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$2.674 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$2.437 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.817 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$3.466 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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British pounds per US dollar: 0.6388 (2010), 0.6494 (2009), 0.5302 (2008), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006)
Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1.0346 (2010), 1.1431 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006)
Chinese yuan per US dollar: 6.7852 (2010), 6.8314 (2009), 6.9385 (2008), 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006)
euros per US dollar: 0.755 (2010), 0.7198 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006)
Japanese yen per US dollar: 87.78 (2010), 93.57 (2009), 103.58 (2008), 117.99 (2007), 1.1334 (2006)
 
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Communications

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151 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 2
 
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279 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
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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)
 
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4 major terrestrial television networks with affiliate stations throughout the country, plus cable and satellite networks, independent stations, and a limited public broadcasting sector that is largely supported by private grants; overall, thousands of TV stations broadcasting; multiple national radio networks with large numbers of affiliate stations; while most stations are commercial, National Public Radio (NPR) has a network of some 600 member stations; satellite radio available; overall, nearly 15,000 radio stations operating (2008)
 
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.us
 
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439 million (2010); note - the US Internet total host count includes the following top level domain host addresses: .us, .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net, and .org
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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245 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 2
 
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Transportation

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15,079 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 1
 
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total: 5,194
over 3,047 m: 189
2,438 to 3,047 m: 235
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,479
914 to 1,523 m: 2,316
under 914 m: 975 (2010)
 
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total: 9,885
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 155
914 to 1,523 m: 1,752
under 914 m: 7,971 (2010)
 
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126 (2010)
 
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petroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2010)
 
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total: 224,792 km
country comparison to the world: 1
standard gauge: 224,792 km 1.435-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 6,506,204 km
country comparison to the world: 1
paved: 4,374,784 km (includes 75,238 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,131,420 km (2008)
 
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41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce; Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, is shared with Canada) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 4
 
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total: 418
country comparison to the world: 26
by type: barge carrier 6, bulk carrier 58, cargo 58, carrier 3, chemical tanker 30, container 87, passenger 18, passenger/cargo 56, petroleum tanker 45, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 27, vehicle carrier 27
foreign-owned: 86 (Australia 1, Bermuda 5, Canada 1, Denmark 34, France 4, Germany 3, Malaysia 2, Norway 10, Singapore 17, Sweden 5, UK 4)
registered in other countries: 734 (Antigua and Barbuda 6, Australia 2, Bahamas 100, Belgium 2, Bermuda 25, Cambodia 4, Canada 9, Cayman Islands 54, Comoros 2, Cyprus 7, Georgia 1, Greece 7, Hong Kong 31, Indonesia 2, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 2, Italy 21, Liberia 39, Luxembourg 3, Malta 35, Marshall Islands 168, Netherlands 15, Norway 9, Panama 102, Portugal 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 19, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 33, South Korea 8, UK 11, unknown 8) (2010)
 
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cargo ports (tonnage): Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines, Tampa, Texas City
container ports (TEUs): Los Angeles (7,849,985), Long Beach (6,350,125), New York/New Jersey (5,265,058), Savannah (2,616,126), Oakland (2,236,244), Hampton Roads (2,083,278) (2008)
cruise departure ports (passengers): Miami (2,032,000), Port Everglades (1,277,000), Port Canaveral (1,189,000), Seattle (430,000), Long Beach (415,000) (2009)
oil terminals: LOOP terminal, Haymark terminal
 
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Military

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United States Armed Forces: US Army, US Navy (includes Marine Corps), US Air Force, US Coast Guard; note - Coast Guard administered in peacetime by the Department of Homeland Security, but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy (2011)
 
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18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); service obligation 8 years, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines) (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 73,270,043
females age 16-49: 71,941,969 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 60,620,143
females age 16-49: 59,401,941 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,161,727
female: 2,055,685 (2010 est.)
 
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4.06% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
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Transnational Issues

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the US 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; Canada and the United States dispute how to divide the Beaufort Sea and the status of the Northwest Passage but continue to work cooperatively to survey the Arctic continental shelf; 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
 
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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)
 
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world's largest consumer of cocaine (shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean), Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana; major consumer of ecstasy and Mexican 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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