United States

The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a transcontinental country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, nine minor outlying islands,[lower-alpha 9] and 326 Indian reservations with limited sovereignty. It is the third-largest country by both land and total area.[lower-alpha 3] The United States shares land borders with Canada to the north and with Mexico to the south as well as maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, and Russia, among others.[lower-alpha 10] It has a population of over 331 million,[lower-alpha 4] and is the third most populous country in the world. The national capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city and financial center is New York City. The United States is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, and its population has been profoundly shaped by centuries of immigration. It has a highly diverse climate and geography and is officially recognized as one of the 17 ecologically megadiverse countries.

United States of America
Motto: 
Other traditional mottos:[2]
Anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"[3]
CapitalWashington, D.C.
38°53′N 77°01′W
Largest cityNew York City
40°43′N 74°00′W
Official languagesNone at the federal level[lower-alpha 1]
National languageEnglish (de facto)
Ethnic groups
(2020)[6][7][8]
By race:
By Hispanic or Latino origin:
Religion
(2021)[9]
Demonym(s)American[lower-alpha 2][10]
GovernmentFederal presidential constitutional republic
 President
Joe Biden
Kamala Harris
Nancy Pelosi
John Roberts
LegislatureCongress
Senate
House of Representatives
Independence 
July 4, 1776 (1776-07-04)
March 1, 1781 (1781-03-01)
September 3, 1783 (1783-09-03)
June 21, 1788 (1788-06-21)
August 21, 1959 (1959-08-21)
Area
 Total area
3,796,742 sq mi (9,833,520 km2)[11] (3rd[lower-alpha 3])
 Water (%)
4.66[12]
 Land area
3,531,905 sq mi (9,147,590 km2) (3rd)
Population
 2021 estimate
331,893,745[lower-alpha 4][13]
 2020 census
331,449,281[lower-alpha 5][14] (3rd)
 Density
87/sq mi (33.6/km2) (185th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
 Total
$25.35 trillion[15] (2nd)
 Per capita
$76,027[15] (9th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
 Total
$25.35 trillion[15] (1st)
 Per capita
$76,027[15] (8th)
Gini (2020) 46.9[16]
high
HDI (2019) 0.926[17]
very high · 17th
CurrencyU.S. dollar ($) (USD)
Time zoneUTC−4 to −12, +10, +11
 Summer (DST)
UTC−4 to −10[lower-alpha 6]
Date formatmm/dd/yyyy[lower-alpha 7]
Driving sideright[lower-alpha 8]
Calling code+1
ISO 3166 codeUS

Paleo-aboriginals migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago, and advanced cultures began to appear later on. The various mound building cultures of the Eastern Woodlands culminated in the Mississippian culture that thrived during the Medieval Warm Period, while the cliff-dwelling Pueblo culture was prospering in the American Southwest simultaneously. These advanced cultures had almost completely declined by the time European colonists showed up in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the Thirteen British Colonies established along the East Coast, when disputes with their colonial overlords over taxation and political representation led to the American Revolution (1765–1784), which established the nation's independence. In the late 18th century, the U.S. began expanding across North America, gradually obtaining new territories, sometimes through war, frequently displacing Native Americans, and admitting new states. This was strongly related to belief in manifest destiny, and by 1848, the United States spanned the continent from east to west. The controversy surrounding the continued practice of slavery in the Southern states in light of the ongoing abolitionist movement culminated in their secession and unification under the Confederate States of America, which fought the United States (the Union) during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The Union's victory preserved the United States, and slavery was abolished with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

The Spanish–American War and World War I established the U.S. as a world power, and the aftermath of World War II left the United States and the Soviet Union as the world's two superpowers. During the Cold War, both countries engaged in a struggle for ideological dominance, but avoided direct military conflict. They also competed in the Space Race, which culminated in the 1969 American spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Simultaneously, the civil rights movement led to legislation outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans. The Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991 ended the Cold War, leaving the United States as the world's sole superpower. The September 11 attacks in 2001 resulted in the United States launching the war on terror, which included the War in Afghanistan (2001–2021) and the Iraq War (2003–2011).

The United States is a federal republic with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. It is a liberal democracy and market economy; it ranks high in international measures of human rights, quality of life, income and wealth, economic competitiveness, and education; and it has low levels of perceived corruption. It has high levels of incarceration and inequality, retains capital punishment, and lacks universal health care.

The United States is a highly developed country, and its economy accounts for approximately a quarter of global GDP and is the world's largest by GDP at market exchange rates. By value, the United States is the world's largest importer and second-largest exporter. Although it accounts for just over 4.2% of the world's total population, the U.S. holds over 30% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share held by any country. The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, NATO, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The country makes up more than a third of global military spending, and is the foremost military power in the world and a leading political, cultural, and scientific force.


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