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United States of America
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United States of America

Country Profile

Capital City: Washington D.C.

Other Cities:
Chicago (pop. 2 896 016)
Denver (pop. 554 636)
Detroit (pop. 951 270)
New York City (pop. 8 008 278)
Los Angeles (pop. 3 694 820)
Phoenix (pop. 1 321 045)
Philadlephia (pop. 1 517 550)
San Diego (pop. 1 223 400)
San Francisco (pop. 776 733)

Eastern Time, EST (UTC -5h)
Central Time, CST (UTC -6h)
Mountain Time, MST (UTC -7h)
Pacific Time, PST (UTC -8h)
Alaska Time, AKST (UTC -9h)
Hawaii-Aleutian Time, HAST (UTC -10h)

Location: North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean in the east and the North Pacific Ocean in the west, between Canada and Mexico.
Area: total 9 631 418 sq km
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.
Border countries: Canada, Mexico

Climate: Mostly temperate, tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska.

Type: Constitution-based federal republic
Independence: 4 July 1776 (from Great Britain)

Nationality: noun: American(s), adjective: American
Population (July 2004 est.): 293 027 571
Ethnic groups: white 77.1%, black 12.9%, Asian 4.2%, Amerindian and Alaska native 1.5%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.3%, other 4% (2000)
Religions: Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%, none 10% (1989)
Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7%.
Literacy: total population: 97%


Currency: US Dollar (USD)

Natural resources: Coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber.

Agriculture products: Wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest products; fish.

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.

Exports partners:
Canada 23%, Mexico 13.6%, Japan 6.7%, UK 4.4%, China 4.3% (2004)

Imports partners: Canada 17.1%, China 13.7%, Mexico 10.4%, Japan 8.8%, Germany 5.2% (2004)

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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 United States

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:   470,131 sq km note: 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; about two and a half times the size of Western Europe

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 thus remains part of Cuba;
the base boundary is 29 km

Coastline:  19,924 km

Maritime claims:  contiguous zone: 24 NM continental shelf: not specified
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

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 6,194 m

Natural resources:  coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium,
bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc,
petroleum, natural gas, timber

Land use:  arable land: 19% other: 81% (1998 est.)  permanent crops: NEGL%

Irrigated land:  214,000 sq km (1998 est.)

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; very limited natural fresh water resources
in much of the western part of the country require careful management;

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, Nuclear Test
Ban, 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 United States

Population:  280,562,489 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 21% (male 30,116,782; female 28,765,183) 15-64
years: 66.4% (male 92,391,120; female 93,986,468) 65 years and over: 12.6%
(male 14,748,522; female 20,554,414) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.89% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  14.1 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.7 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  3.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.72 male(s)/female total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  6.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:  total population: 77.4 years male: 74.5 years
female: 80.2 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate:  2.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.61% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  850,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  20,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: American(s) adjective: American

Ethnic groups:  white 77.1%, black 12.9%, Asian 4.2%, Amerindian and
Alaska native 1.5%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.3%,
other 4% (2000) note:  Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin
American descent (especially 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 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%,
none 10% (1989)

Languages:  English, Spanish (spoken by a sizable minority)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write male: 97%
female: 97% (1979 est.)  total population: 97%

People - note:  note: data for the US are based on projections that do
not take into consideration the results of the 2000 census

Government United States

Country name:   United States of America conventional short form:
Government type:  federal republic; strong democratic tradition

Capital:  Washington, DC

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, but recently
entered into a new political relationship with all four political units:
the Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with
the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free
Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994); the Federated States
of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association 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)

Independence:  4 July 1776 (from Great Britain)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 4 July (1776)

Constitution:  17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789

Legal system:  based on English common law; judicial review of legislative
acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President George W. BUSH (since 20
January 2001) and 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:  Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001);
note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
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; election last held 7
November 2000 (next to be held 2 November 2004) election results: George
W. BUSH elected president; percent of popular vote - George W. BUSH
(Republican Party) 48%, Albert A.  GORE, Jr. (Democratic Party) 48%,
Ralph NADER (Green Party) 3%, other 1%

Legislative branch:  bicameral Congress consists of the Senate (100
seats, one-third are renewed every two years; two 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) election results: Senate - percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 50, Republican Party
49, independent 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party
- NA%; seats by party - Republican Party 221, Democratic Party 211,
independent 2, vacant 1 elections: Senate - last held 7 November 2000
(next to be held 4 November 2002); House of Representatives - last held
7 November 2000 (next to be held 4 November 2002)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (its nine justices are appointed for
life by the president with confirmation by the Senate); United States
Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts

Political parties and leaders:  Democratic Party [Terence McAULIFFE,
national committee chairman]; Green Party [leader NA]; Republican Party
[Governor Marc RACICOT, national committee chairman]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  AfDB, ANZUS, APEC, ARF
(dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group,
BIS, CCC, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC,

Flag description:  thirteen 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 United States

Economy - overview:  The US has the largest and most technologically
powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $36,300. 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 considerably greater flexibility than their counterparts
in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, lay
off surplus workers, and develop new products. At the same time, they
face higher barriers to entry in their rivals' home markets than the
barriers to entry of foreign firms in US markets. US firms are at or near
the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in
medical, aerospace, and military equipment, although 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 years 1994-2000 witnessed solid increases in real
output, low inflation rates, and a drop in unemployment to below 5%. The
year 2001 witnessed the end of the boom psychology and performance,
with output increasing only 0.3% and unemployment and business failures
rising substantially. The response to the terrorist attacks of September
11 showed the remarkable resilience of the economy. Moderate recovery is
expected in 2002, with the GDP growth rate rising to 2.5% or more. A major
short-term problem in first half 2002 was a sharp decline in the stock
market, fueled in part by the exposure of dubious accounting practices in
some major corporations. Long-term problems include inadequate investment
in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of
an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family
income in the lower economic groups.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $10.082 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  0.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $36,300 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 2% industry: 18% services: 80%
(2001 est.)

Population below poverty line:  12.7% (2001 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 30.5% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  40.8 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.8% (2001)

Labor force:  141.8 million (includes unemployed) (2001)

Labor force - by occupation:  managerial and professional 31%, technical,
sales and administrative support 28.9%, services 13.6%, manufacturing,
mining, transportation, and crafts 24.1%, farming, forestry, and fishing
2.4% (2001) note: Unemployment rate:  5% (2001)

Budget:  revenues: $1.828 trillion expenditures: $1.703 trillion,
including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)

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:  -3.7% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  3,799.944 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 70.76% hydro: 7.19%
other: 2.21% (2000) nuclear: 19.84%

Electricity - consumption:  3.613 trillion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  14.829 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  48.879 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  wheat, other grains, corn, fruits, vegetables,
cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest products; fish

Exports:  $723 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  capital goods, automobiles, industrial supplies
and raw materials, consumer goods, agricultural products

Exports - partners:  Canada 22.4%, Mexico 13.9%, Japan 7.9%, UK 5.6%,
Germany 4.1%, France, Netherlands (2001)

Imports:  $1.148 trillion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  crude oil and refined petroleum products,
machinery, automobiles, consumer goods, industrial raw materials, food
and beverages

Imports - partners:  Canada 19%, Mexico 11.5%, Japan 11.1%, China 8.9%,
Germany 5.2%, UK, Taiwan (2001)

Debt - external:  $862 billion (1995 est.)

Economic aid - donor:  ODA, $6.9 billion (1997)

Currency:  US dollar (USD)

Currency code:  USD

Exchange rates:  British pounds per US dollar - 0.6981 (January 2002),
0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998), 0.6106
(1997); Canadian dollars per US dollar - 1.6003 (January 2002), 1.5488
(2001), 1.4851 (2000), 1.4857 (1999), 1.4835 (1998), 1.3846 (1997);
French francs per US dollar - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367
(1997); Italian lire per US dollar - 1,668.7 (January 1999), 1,763.2
(1998), 1,703.1 (1997); Japanese yen per US dollar - 132.66 (January
2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998), 120.99
(1997); German deutsche marks per US dollar - 1.69 (January 1999), 1.9692
(1998), 1.7341 (1997); euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.08540 (2000), 0.93863 (1999) note: financial institutions in
France, Italy, and Germany and eight other European countries started
using the euro on 1 January 1999 with the euro replacing the local
currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

Fiscal year:  1 October - 30 September

Communications United States

Telephones - main lines in use:  194 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  69.209 million (1998)

Telephone system:  general assessment: a very 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:  (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 4,762, FM 5,542, shortwave 18 (1998)

Radios:  575 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  more than 1,500 (including nearly 1,000
stations affiliated with the five major networks - NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX,
and PBS; in addition, there are about 9,000 cable TV systems) (1997)

Televisions:  219 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .us

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  7,800 (2000 est.)

Internet users:  166 million (2001)

Transportation United States

Railways:  total: 212,433 km mainline routes standard gauge: 212,433 km
1.435-m gauge note: represents the aggregate length of roadway of all
line-haul railroads including an estimate for Class II and III railroads

Highways:  total: 6,370,031 km paved: 5,733,028 km (including 74,091 km
of expressways) unpaved: 637,003 km (1997)

Waterways:  41,009 km note: navigable inland channels, exclusive of the
Great Lakes

Pipelines:  petroleum products 276,000 km; natural gas 331,000 km (1991)

Ports and harbors:  Anchorage, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Chicago,
Duluth, Hampton Roads, Honolulu, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles,
New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Port Canaveral, Portland (Oregon),
Prudhoe Bay, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle, Tampa, Toledo

Merchant marine:  total: 264 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,911,641
GRT/9,985,660 DWT ships by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 11, cargo 14,
chemical tanker 16, collier 1, combination bulk 4, combination tanker 11,
container 86, multi-functional large-load carrier 4, passenger/cargo 2,
petroleum tanker 81, roll on/roll off 28, specialized tanker 3, vehicle
carrier 2 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as
a flag of convenience: Australia 1, Canada 4, Denmark 15, France 1,
Germany 1, Netherlands 3, Norway 7, Puerto Rico 4, Singapore 11, Sweden 1,
United Kingdom 3 (2002 est.)

Airports:  14,695 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:   222 914 to 1,523 m: Airports - with
unpaved runways:   1 2,438 to 3,047 m: Heliports:  132 (2001)

Military United States

Military branches:  Department of the Army, Department of the Navy
(includes Marine Corps), Department of the Air Force note: the Coast
Guard is normally subordinate to the Department of Transportation,
but in wartime reports to the Department of the Navy

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 70,819,436 (2001 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  NA (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 2,053,179
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $276.7 billion (FY99 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  3.2% (FY99 est.)

Military - note:  note: 2002 estimates for military manpower are based
on projections that do not take into consideration the results of the
2000 census

Transnational Issues United States

Disputes - international:  maritime boundary disputes with Canada (Dixon
Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Machias Seal Island);
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 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:  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

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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