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United States Country Guide

Explore United States in North America

United States with the capital city Washington is located in North America (North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean). It covers some 9,629,091 square kilometres (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) with 303,824,000 citizens.

Interactive map of United States

The terrain features vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east with rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska and rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii. The average density of population is approximately 32 per km². The notable climate conditions in United States can be described as 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 with 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. Potential natural disasters are tsunamis or 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 or permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development.

To reach someone in United States dial +1 prior to a number. There are 141,000,000 installed telephones. And there are 286,000,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 850/1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".us". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 120V - 60Hz.

About the flag and history of United States

United States Flag Icon

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.

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.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: North America
Neighbours: Canada, Mexico, Cuba
Capital: Washington
Size9,629,091 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 3,717,812 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
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
CurrencyName Dollar, Currency Code:USD
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).us
Telephone Country Prefix+1
Mobile Phone Connections286,000,000
Landline Phone Connections141,000,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area9,826,675 (sq km)3

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population316,668,567 3
Population growth rate0.90 (%)123
Birth rate13.66 (births/1,000 population)146
Death rate8.39 (deaths/1,000 population)87
Net migration rate3.64 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)28
Maternal mortality rate21.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)136
Infant mortality rate5.90 (deaths/1,000 live births)174
Life expectancy at birth78.62 (years)51
Total fertility rate2.06 (children born/woman)121
Health expenditures17.90 (% of GDP)2
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.60 (%)64
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS1,200,000 9
HIV/AIDS - deaths17,000 18
Obesity - adult prevalence rate33.00 (%)18
Children under the age of 5 years underweight1.30 (%)127
Education expenditures5.40 (% of GDP)60
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2417.30 (%)76


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)15,940,000,000,000 2
GDP - real growth rate2.20 (%)128
GDP - per capita (PPP)50,700 14
Labor force154,900,000 4
Unemployment rate8.20 (%)96
Distribution of family income - Gini index45.00 41
Investment (gross fixed)12.90 (% of GDP)143
Taxes and other revenues15.70 (% of GDP)185
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-7.60 (% of GDP)193
Public debt73.60 (% of GDP)35
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.00 (%)34
Central bank discount rate0.50 (%)136
Commercial bank prime lending rate3.25 (%)175
Stock of narrow money2,318,000,000,000 4
Stock of broad money12,990,000,000,000 3
Stock of domestic credit32,610,000,000,000 1
Market value of publicly traded shares17,140,000,000,000 1
Industrial production growth rate4.10 (%)71
Current account balance-487,200,000,000 193
Exports1,612,000,000,000 3
Imports2,357,000,000,000 2
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold148,000,000,000 19
Debt - external15,930,000,000,000 1
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home2,824,000,000,000 1
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad4,768,000,000,000 1


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production4,120,000,000,000 (kWh)3
Electricity - consumption3,889,000,000,000 (kWh)3
Electricity - exports19,410,000,000 (kWh)8
Electricity - imports45,230,000,000 (kWh)4
Electricity - installed generating capacity1,025,000,000 (kW)3
Electricity - from fossil fuels75.50 (% of total installed capacity)97
Electricity - from nuclear fuels9.90 (% of total installed capacity)21
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants7.70 (% of total installed capacity)121
Electricity - from other renewable sources4.80 (% of total installed capacity)39
Crude oil - production9,023,000 (bbl/day)4
Crude oil - exports43,800 (bbl/day)49
Crude oil - imports9,013,000 (bbl/day)2
Crude oil - proved reserves20,680,000,000 (bbl)15
Refined petroleum products - production17,880,000 (bbl/day)2
Refined petroleum products - consumption18,840,000 (bbl/day)2
Refined petroleum products - exports1,876,000 (bbl/day)4
Refined petroleum products - imports1,255,000 (bbl/day)6
Natural gas - production651,300,000,000 (cu m)3
Natural gas - consumption689,900,000,000 (cu m)2
Natural gas - exports42,670,000,000 (cu m)9
Natural gas - imports97,860,000,000 (cu m)4
Natural gas - proved reserves7,716,000,000,000 (cu m)7
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy5,610,000,000 (Mt)3


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use146,000,000 2
Telephones - mobile cellular290,300,000 3
Internet hosts505,000,000 1
Internet users245,000,000 2


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports15,079 1
Railways224,792 (km)1
Roadways6,506,204 (km)1
Waterways41,009 (km)4
Merchant marine393 26


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures4.60 (% of GDP)19

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Cahokia Mounds, some 13 km north-east of St Louis, Missouri, is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It was occupied primarily during the Mississippian period (800–1400), when it covered nearly 1,600 ha and included some 120 mounds. ...
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
This karst landscape in the state of New Mexico comprises over 80 recognized caves. They are outstanding not only for their size but also for the profusion, diversity and beauty of their mineral formations. Lechuguilla Cave stands out from the others ...
Chaco Culture
For over 2,000 years, Pueblo peoples occupied a vast region of the south-western United States. Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was a focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistor ...
Everglades National Park
This site at the southern tip of Florida has been called 'a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea'. The exceptional variety of its water habitats has made it a sanctuary for a large number of birds and reptiles, as wel ...
Grand Canyon National Park
Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history ...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Stretching over more than 200,000 ha, this exceptionally beautiful park is home to more than 3,500 plant species, including almost as many trees (130 natural species) as in all of Europe. Many endangered animal species are also found there, including ...
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
This site contains two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mauna Loa (4,170 m high) and Kilauea (1,250 m high), both of which tower over the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic eruptions have created a constantly changing landscape, and the lava flows rev ...
Independence Hall
The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed in this building in Philadelphia. The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to ...
La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, a series of defensive structures was built at this strategic point in the Caribbean Sea to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan. They represent a fine display of European military architecture adapted to harbo ...
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park, located in the state of Kentucky, has the world's largest network of natural caves and underground passageways, which are characteristic examples of limestone formations. The park and its underground network of more than 5 ...
Mesa Verde National Park
A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including vill ...
Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was also a talented architect of neoclassical buildings. He designed Monticello (1769–1809), his plantation home, and his ideal ...
Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point
Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point owes its name to a 19th-century plantation close to the site, which is in the Lower Mississippi Valley on a slightly elevated and narrow landform. The complex comprises five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptica ...
Olympic National Park
Located in the north-west of Washington State, Olympic National Park is renowned for the diversity of its ecosystems. Glacier-clad peaks interspersed with extensive alpine meadows are surrounded by an extensive old growth forest, among which is the b ...
Papahānaumokuākea is a vast and isolated linear cluster of small, low lying islands and atolls, with their surrounding ocean, roughly 250 km to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Archipelago and extending over some 1931 km. The area has deep cosmolog ...
Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National Park comprises a region of coastal mountains bordering the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. It is covered with a magnificent forest of coastal redwood trees, the tallest and most impressive trees in the world. The marine and lan ...
Statue of Liberty
Made in Paris by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (who was responsible for the steel framework), this towering monument to liberty was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence. Inaugurated in 188 ...
Taos Pueblo
Situated in the valley of a small tributary of the Rio Grande, this adobe settlement – consisting of dwellings and ceremonial buildings – represents the culture of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico. ...
Yellowstone National Park
The vast natural forest of Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 9,000 km2 ; 96% of the park lies in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone contains half of all the world's known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. It ...
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation ...