United-States

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:
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
People:
Population: 313,847,465 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 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.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: United States of America

conventional short form: United States

abbreviation: US or USA

Government type: Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 151 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 279 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 15,079 (2010)
Airports – with paved runways: 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 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: 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 (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 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)

Economy:

The US has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $46,000. 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 labour 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.

Transnational Issues:

The U.S. has intensified domestic security measures and is collaborating closely with its neighbours, 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; 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; 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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