North America :: United States — The World Factbook

  North America :: United States Print Page last updated on April 23, 2019 North America :: United States Print 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…

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Page last updated on April 23, 2019


United States Flag

North America

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United States



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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; 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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The front view of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's plantation home, near Charlottesville, Virginia. The third president of the United States completed the original house in 1772. In 1794 he began to rebuild the structure, blending his own architectural style with his favorite European designs. Remodeling continued on and off for most of the remainder of his life.

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The front view of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation home, near Charlottesville, Virginia. The third president of the United States completed the original house in 1772. In 1794 he began to rebuild the structure, blending his own architectural style with his favorite European designs. Remodeling continued on and off for most of the remainder of his life.

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The distinctive West Front (back) of Monticello is actually the better known view of Jefferson's home. Photography is not allowed inside the living quarters of the house, which includes skylights that Jefferson designed.

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The distinctive West Front (back) of Monticello is actually the better known view of Jefferson’s home. Photography is not allowed inside the living quarters of the house, which includes skylights that Jefferson designed.

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A life-size bronze statue at Monticello of the 188 cm (6ft 2in) Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.

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A life-size bronze statue at Monticello of the 188 cm (6ft 2in) Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.

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Jefferson designed the wind compass on the ceiling of the Monticello portico; it is attached to the weather vane directly above it on the roof. The portico clockface reflects the time on the Great Clock in the entrance hall interior of the house. The Great Clock with its two faces was considered to be sophisticated technology for its time. Unlike the Great Clock of the interior, the portico clockface does not have a minute hand. When Jefferson was living on the plantation, a bell rang on the hour and could be heard for approximately five miles. Jefferson wanted everyone on the plantation to be on the same time schedule.

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Jefferson designed the wind compass on the ceiling of the Monticello portico; it is attached to the weather vane directly above it on the roof. The portico clockface reflects the time on the Great Clock in the entrance hall interior of the house. The Great Clock with its two faces was considered to be sophisticated technology for its time. Unlike the Great Clock of the interior, the portico clockface does not have a minute hand. When Jefferson was living on the plantation, a bell rang on the hour and could be heard for approximately five miles. Jefferson wanted everyone on the plantation to be on the same time schedule.

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The weather vane Jefferson designed to direct the wind compass.

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The weather vane Jefferson designed to direct the wind compass.

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A section of the plantation's prolific vegetable and herb gardens and apple, peach, cherry, and several other orchards overlooking a view of Charlottesville, Virginia.

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A section of the plantation’s prolific vegetable and herb gardens and apple, peach, cherry, and several other orchards overlooking a view of Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Jefferson and his guests sat inside the brick structure to appreciate the gardens, orchards, and view.

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Jefferson and his guests sat inside the brick structure to appreciate the gardens, orchards, and view.

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Monticello's primary kitchen.

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Monticello’s primary kitchen.

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Jefferson designed a room in his house's cellar for brewing and storing beer, a popular table liquor during his era.

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Jefferson designed a room in his house’s cellar for brewing and storing beer, a popular table liquor during his era.

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Jefferson was a premier connoisseur of fine wines during his era.

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Jefferson was a premier connoisseur of fine wines during his era.

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Jefferson designed a dumb waiter mechanism for quickly delivering wine from the cellar to the dining area.

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Jefferson designed a dumb waiter mechanism for quickly delivering wine from the cellar to the dining area.

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Jefferson built a multi-purpose room for his family to live in while the main house was built.

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Jefferson built a multi-purpose room for his family to live in while the main house was built.

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The interior of the multi-purpose room. The Jeffersons' bed sits to the immediate right. Everything else in the room appears in the photo.

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The interior of the multi-purpose room. The Jeffersons’ bed sits to the immediate right. Everything else in the room appears in the photo.

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Thomas Jefferson's gravesite at Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. He died aged 83 on 4 July 1776 - the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

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Thomas Jefferson’s gravesite at Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. He died aged 83 on 4 July 1776 – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

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The inscription on the marker at Thomas Jefferson's gravesite at Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. This epitaph specifically mentions the three things that the man was most proud of and that he wanted to be remembered for. President of the United States was not among them.

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The inscription on the marker at Thomas Jefferson’s gravesite at Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia. This epitaph specifically mentions the three things that the man was most proud of and that he wanted to be remembered for. President of the United States was not among them.

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View from the battlements of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in New York state showing cannon, mortars, the lake, and Mount Defiance. The fort controlled a river portage between Lake Champlain and Lake George and then to the Hudson River. This was the principal trade route between the Hudson River Valley and the French-controlled Saint Lawrence River Valley.

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View from the battlements of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in New York state showing cannon, mortars, the lake, and Mount Defiance. The fort controlled a river portage between Lake Champlain and Lake George and then to the Hudson River. This was the principal trade route between the Hudson River Valley and the French-controlled Saint Lawrence River Valley.

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Cannon at Fort Ticonderoga in New York state facing north towards Lake Champlain. The star-shaped fort was constructed by the French between 1755 and 1758 to protect the lake from British forces approaching from the south. Originally called Fort Carillon, it was renamed Fort Ticonderoga when the British captured the stronghold in 1759.

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Cannon at Fort Ticonderoga in New York state facing north towards Lake Champlain. The star-shaped fort was constructed by the French between 1755 and 1758 to protect the lake from British forces approaching from the south. Originally called Fort Carillon, it was renamed Fort Ticonderoga when the British captured the stronghold in 1759.

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Cannon in Fort Ticonderoga facing north towards Lake Champlain. The fort was constructed by the French between 1755 and 1758 to protect the lake from British forces approaching from the south. Reconstruction on the fort began in the early 20th century and continues. The fort was rearmed in the 20th century with 14 24-pound cannon provided by the British Government. The cannon had been cast in England for use during the American Revolutionary War, but the war ended before they were shipped.

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Cannon in Fort Ticonderoga facing north towards Lake Champlain. The fort was constructed by the French between 1755 and 1758 to protect the lake from British forces approaching from the south. Reconstruction on the fort began in the early 20th century and continues. The fort was rearmed in the 20th century with 14 24-pound cannon provided by the British Government. The cannon had been cast in England for use during the American Revolutionary War, but the war ended before they were shipped.

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View from the battlements of Fort Ticonderoga in New York on Lake Champlain showing cannon, the lake, and part of Mount Defiance. After the fort was captured by an American force led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in May 1775, its cannon were transported to Boston where their deployment on Dorchester Heights forced the British to evacuate the city in March 1776.

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View from the battlements of Fort Ticonderoga in New York on Lake Champlain showing cannon, the lake, and part of Mount Defiance. After the fort was captured by an American force led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in May 1775, its cannon were transported to Boston where their deployment on Dorchester Heights forced the British to evacuate the city in March 1776.

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Mount Defiance in New York state on Lake Champlain overlooks Fort Ticonderoga 1.6 km (1 mi) to the southwest. British forces placed cannon on the 260 m (855 ft) hill forcing the American garrison to abandon the fort on 5 July 1777.

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Mount Defiance in New York state on Lake Champlain overlooks Fort Ticonderoga 1.6 km (1 mi) to the southwest. British forces placed cannon on the 260 m (855 ft) hill forcing the American garrison to abandon the fort on 5 July 1777.

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Established in 1929 by Edward W. Bok as a gift to the American people, the 50-acre garden in Lake Wales, Florida was designed to be a contemplative and informal woodland setting. Acres of ferns, palms, oaks, and pines offer a lush backdrop for flowering foliage including azaleas, camellias, and magnolias.

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Established in 1929 by Edward W. Bok as a gift to the American people, the 50-acre garden in Lake Wales, Florida was designed to be a contemplative and informal woodland setting. Acres of ferns, palms, oaks, and pines offer a lush backdrop for flowering foliage including azaleas, camellias, and magnolias.

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The 62.5 m (205 ft) Singing Tower - composed of marble and coquina (limestone formed of shells and coral) - is the focal point of Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales, Florida). Dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929, the tower is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Carillon music is played daily.

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The 62.5 m (205 ft) Singing Tower – composed of marble and coquina (limestone formed of shells and coral) – is the focal point of Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales, Florida). Dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929, the tower is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Carillon music is played daily.

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The Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens National Historic Landmark (Lake Wales, Florida) houses a 60-bell carillon.

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The Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens National Historic Landmark (Lake Wales, Florida) houses a 60-bell carillon.

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Closeup of the upper part of the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens National Historic Landmark. The limestone structure includes tile mosaics, animal carvings, and custom iron-work.

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Closeup of the upper part of the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens National Historic Landmark. The limestone structure includes tile mosaics, animal carvings, and custom iron-work.

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Pinewood Estate, on the grounds of Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales, Florida), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the finest examples of Mediterranean-style architecture in the American southeast.

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Pinewood Estate, on the grounds of Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales, Florida), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the finest examples of Mediterranean-style architecture in the American southeast.

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Courtyard at Pinewood Estate on the grounds of Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida.

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Courtyard at Pinewood Estate on the grounds of Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida.

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This iconic view of Yosemite Falls, a major attraction in Yosemite National Park in California, shows both the upper and lower falls. The falls come from Yosemite Creek, rushing in the spring from snow melt. The upper fall plunges some 436 m (1,430 ft) from the valley rim, making it alone among the 20 highest falls in the world. The combined drop of 739 m (2,425 ft) for the upper fall, middle cascades, and lower fall make Yosemite Falls the highest measured falls in the United States.

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This iconic view of Yosemite Falls, a major attraction in Yosemite National Park in California, shows both the upper and lower falls. The falls come from Yosemite Creek, rushing in the spring from snow melt. The upper fall plunges some 436 m (1,430 ft) from the valley rim, making it alone among the 20 highest falls in the world. The combined drop of 739 m (2,425 ft) for the upper fall, middle cascades, and lower fall make Yosemite Falls the highest measured falls in the United States.

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Bridalveil Falls is often the first waterfall seen by tourists coming into Yosemite Valley in California, it drops 189 m (620 ft) into the valley. The falls run all year, roaring during the spring runoff and appearing as a windblown "bridal veil" during the rest of the year.

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Bridalveil Falls is often the first waterfall seen by tourists coming into Yosemite Valley in California, it drops 189 m (620 ft) into the valley. The falls run all year, roaring during the spring runoff and appearing as a windblown “bridal veil” during the rest of the year.

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On the road to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park one turns a corner and comes to a parking lot for Washburn Point. This view from the  Point shows Half Dome (far left), Nevada Falls (on the right), Vernal Falls (below center).

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On the road to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park one turns a corner and comes to a parking lot for Washburn Point. This view from the Point shows Half Dome (far left), Nevada Falls (on the right), Vernal Falls (below center).

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A view of Yosemite Valley as seen when exiting the tunnel on Wawona Road (Rt. 41) into the valley; it is probably one of the most photographed views of the valley. During the summer one may be hard pressed to find parking here.

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A view of Yosemite Valley as seen when exiting the tunnel on Wawona Road (Rt. 41) into the valley; it is probably one of the most photographed views of the valley. During the summer one may be hard pressed to find parking here.

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This image from Sentinel Bridge shows Yosemite Valley at sunset. Half Dome, the brightly lit rock formation in the background, is one of the last places in the valley to receive sunlight as the day ends.

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This image from Sentinel Bridge shows Yosemite Valley at sunset. Half Dome, the brightly lit rock formation in the background, is one of the last places in the valley to receive sunlight as the day ends.

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On 9 February 2013, two low pressure systems came together directly over New England. The resultant giant nor'easter created blizzards from Massachusetts to New York. Image courtesy of NASA.

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On 9 February 2013, two low pressure systems came together directly over New England. The resultant giant nor’easter created blizzards from Massachusetts to New York. Image courtesy of NASA.

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This regional view shows the striking visual effect of the valley-and-ridge topography of the Appalachian Mountains as viewed from the International Space Station. The image shows more than 500 km (300 mi) of this low mountain chain from northeast Pennsylvania (top right) to southern West Virginia, where a dusting of snow covers a patch of land (lower left). 

Sunglint reflections reveal details of the Chesapeake Bay and the great bend of the Potomac River. Cities are difficult to detect from space during daylight hours, so the sickle-shaped bend of the river is a good visual guide for astronauts trying to photograph the nation's capital, Washington D.C. The farm-dominated Piedmont Plateau is the light-toned area between the mountains and the bay. 

The Appalachian Mountains appear striped because the ridges are forested, providing a dense and dark canopy cover, while the valleys are farmed with crops that generally appear as lighter-toned areas. (Farmland is even lighter than usual in this image because the fields are fallow after the harvest.) Photo courtesy of NASA.

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This regional view shows the striking visual effect of the valley-and-ridge topography of the Appalachian Mountains as viewed from the International Space Station. The image shows more than 500 km (300 mi) of this low mountain chain from northeast Pennsylvania (top right) to southern West Virginia, where a dusting of snow covers a patch of land (lower left).

Sunglint reflections reveal details of the Chesapeake Bay and the great bend of the Potomac River. Cities are difficult to detect from space during daylight hours, so the sickle-shaped bend of the river is a good visual guide for astronauts trying to photograph the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The farm-dominated Piedmont Plateau is the light-toned area between the mountains and the bay.

The Appalachian Mountains appear striped because the ridges are forested, providing a dense and dark canopy cover, while the valleys are farmed with crops that generally appear as lighter-toned areas. (Farmland is even lighter than usual in this image because the fields are fallow after the harvest.) Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Lily pond at the Gibraltar Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Lily pond at the Gibraltar Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Formal garden as seen from a balcony at the Nemours Mansion, Wilmington, Delaware.

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Formal garden as seen from a balcony at the Nemours Mansion, Wilmington, Delaware.

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Fountain and pool at the end of the Long Walk at the Nemours Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware. The Gardens are the largest French formal gardens in North America and are patterned after the gardens of Versailles. The gilded statue represents Achievement.

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Fountain and pool at the end of the Long Walk at the Nemours Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware. The Gardens are the largest French formal gardens in North America and are patterned after the gardens of Versailles. The gilded statue represents Achievement.

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The one-acre (0.4 hectare) Reflecting Pool at the foot of the Long Walk at Nemours Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware features 157 jets shooting water 12 ft (3.5 m) into the air. When they are turned off, the entire Long Walk is reflected in the pool. The pool, 5.5 ft (1.7 m) deep at its deepest section, holds 800,000 gallons (3.028 million liters) of water and takes three days to fill.

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The one-acre (0.4 hectare) Reflecting Pool at the foot of the Long Walk at Nemours Gardens, Wilmington, Delaware features 157 jets shooting water 12 ft (3.5 m) into the air. When they are turned off, the entire Long Walk is reflected in the pool. The pool, 5.5 ft (1.7 m) deep at its deepest section, holds 800,000 gallons (3.028 million liters) of water and takes three days to fill.

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View of Nemours Mansion from beyond the Long Walk and Reflecting Pool. The Mansion was built in 1909-1910 by industrialist Alfred I. duPont and named after the French town from which his family emigrated in 1800.

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View of Nemours Mansion from beyond the Long Walk and Reflecting Pool. The Mansion was built in 1909-1910 by industrialist Alfred I. duPont and named after the French town from which his family emigrated in 1800.

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A view of the Sunken Garden, part of the Nemours Gardens that extends beyond the Long Walk and pool. The Temple of Diana is in the far background.

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A view of the Sunken Garden, part of the Nemours Gardens that extends beyond the Long Walk and pool. The Temple of Diana is in the far background.

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Wall fountains and pool in the Sunken Garden portion of Nemours Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Wall fountains and pool in the Sunken Garden portion of Nemours Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Aquatic flora outside one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Gardens are one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States.

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Aquatic flora outside one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Gardens are one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States.

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"Green walls" in one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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“Green walls” in one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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A miniature crepe myrtle in the bonsai garden at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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A miniature crepe myrtle in the bonsai garden at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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The silver garden inside one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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The silver garden inside one of the conservatories at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Ripening gourds at the vegetable garden display at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Ripening gourds at the vegetable garden display at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Some outdoor flower beds at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Some outdoor flower beds at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Part of the Red Rocks sandstone formation in the Sedona area of Arizona. The rocks appear to glow reddish orange in the early morning or evening sunlight.

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Part of the Red Rocks sandstone formation in the Sedona area of Arizona. The rocks appear to glow reddish orange in the early morning or evening sunlight.

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Bell Rock is a butte south of Sedona, Arizona composed of horizontal beds of late Permian (approx. 285 million year old) sedimentary rock.

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Bell Rock is a butte south of Sedona, Arizona composed of horizontal beds of late Permian (approx. 285 million year old) sedimentary rock.

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Rock formations in the Sedona area of Arizona display their distinctive horizontal sedimentary rock layers.

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Rock formations in the Sedona area of Arizona display their distinctive horizontal sedimentary rock layers.

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Kapalua Beach Trail on the island of Maui. The trail runs for 2.8 km (1.8 mi) along the Kapalua coast, passing white sand beaches, stunning homes, and lava flows, as shown in this picture.

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Kapalua Beach Trail on the island of Maui. The trail runs for 2.8 km (1.8 mi) along the Kapalua coast, passing white sand beaches, stunning homes, and lava flows, as shown in this picture.

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The late afternoon sun sparkles on the channel between Lahaina, Maui and the island of Lanai.

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The late afternoon sun sparkles on the channel between Lahaina, Maui and the island of Lanai.

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A view from the road to Haleakala on Maui shows the lush valley that lies between Kahului Bay on the right and Maalaea Bay on the left.

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A view from the road to Haleakala on Maui shows the lush valley that lies between Kahului Bay on the right and Maalaea Bay on the left.

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Multicolored cinder cones in Haleakala (House of the Sun) Crater on the island of Maui. The tallest peak on the mountain is 3,055 m (10,023 ft) above sea level, which is frequently high enough to overlook the clouds.

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Multicolored cinder cones in Haleakala (House of the Sun) Crater on the island of Maui. The tallest peak on the mountain is 3,055 m (10,023 ft) above sea level, which is frequently high enough to overlook the clouds.

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Panorama of Haleakala (House of the Sun) crater in East Maui; the volcano forms three quarters of the island of Maui. The oblong crater is roughly 11 km (7 mi) long, 3 km (2 mi) wide, and 800 m (2,600 ft) deep and lies within Haleakala National Park.

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Panorama of Haleakala (House of the Sun) crater in East Maui; the volcano forms three quarters of the island of Maui. The oblong crater is roughly 11 km (7 mi) long, 3 km (2 mi) wide, and 800 m (2,600 ft) deep and lies within Haleakala National Park.

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A vista from the visitors center at the top of Haleakala in Maui. In the distance, 130 km (80 mi) away, lies the peak of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.

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A vista from the visitors center at the top of Haleakala in Maui. In the distance, 130 km (80 mi) away, lies the peak of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.

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Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC; the Washington Monument looms in the background.

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Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC; the Washington Monument looms in the background.

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The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

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The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

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Flying buttresses of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and Saint Paul - also referred to as the National Cathedral - in Washington, DC.

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Flying buttresses of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and Saint Paul – also referred to as the National Cathedral – in Washington, DC.

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The Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, DC.

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The Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, DC.

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At the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

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At the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC.

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Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, DC; view of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the US Capitol.

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Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, DC; view of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the US Capitol.

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Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, DC; view of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the US Capitol.

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Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, DC; view of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the US Capitol.

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A view of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

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A view of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

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Panorama of the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial - located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial (seen in the background) and the Washington Monument - highlights both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of the war.

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Panorama of the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial – located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial (seen in the background) and the Washington Monument – highlights both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of the war.

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A look through the Atlantic Arch at the northern end of the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.

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A look through the Atlantic Arch at the northern end of the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.

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The World War II Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.

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The World War II Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.

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Interior view of the Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Northern Virginia. The enormous structure is part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

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Interior view of the Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Northern Virginia. The enormous structure is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

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A view of Georges Bank, a large elevated area of the sea floor that separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean. The Bank is situated east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (US; on the left) and southwest of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia (Canada; upper right). Photo courtesy of NASA.

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A view of Georges Bank, a large elevated area of the sea floor that separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean. The Bank is situated east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (US; on the left) and southwest of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia (Canada; upper right). Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Cape Cod and Cape Cod Bay (visible at the center of the image) can be seen in this generally south-looking view. Cape Cod is a narrow peninsula, glacial in origin, that is constantly changing as winds and water move sand along the shoreline. Cape Cod extends 105 km (65 mi) east and north into the Atlantic Ocean. A portion of Martha's Vineyard may be seen in the upper right corner of the image. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Cape Cod and Cape Cod Bay (visible at the center of the image) can be seen in this generally south-looking view. Cape Cod is a narrow peninsula, glacial in origin, that is constantly changing as winds and water move sand along the shoreline. Cape Cod extends 105 km (65 mi) east and north into the Atlantic Ocean. A portion of Martha’s Vineyard may be seen in the upper right corner of the image. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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The front or back yards of homes on Tangier Island, Virginia are well tended. Miniature lighthouses decorate many a front or back yard.

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The front or back yards of homes on Tangier Island, Virginia are well tended. Miniature lighthouses decorate many a front or back yard.

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The crowded cemetery on Tangier Island, Virginia is dominated by just a few families. Many of the island's population, which numbers about 600, still speak a distinct Cornish dialect dating to the late 17th century when the island was first settled.

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The crowded cemetery on Tangier Island, Virginia is dominated by just a few families. Many of the island’s population, which numbers about 600, still speak a distinct Cornish dialect dating to the late 17th century when the island was first settled.

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Tangier Island, Virginia is located in the lower Chesapeake Bay. This house is typical of the local architecture. House facades generally display white siding, while shutters and roofs are of matching colors.

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Tangier Island, Virginia is located in the lower Chesapeake Bay. This house is typical of the local architecture. House facades generally display white siding, while shutters and roofs are of matching colors.

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Even the trash bins on Tangier Island, Virginia show a lighthouse motif. There are very few cars on the island; most folks get around by golf cart, bicycle, or on foot.

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Even the trash bins on Tangier Island, Virginia show a lighthouse motif. There are very few cars on the island; most folks get around by golf cart, bicycle, or on foot.

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Sunset over Key West, Florida.

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Sunset over Key West, Florida.

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Marker in Key West, Florida proclaiming the southernmost point in the continental US. (The southernmost point in the entire US lies on the Big Island of Hawaii.)

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Marker in Key West, Florida proclaiming the southernmost point in the continental US. (The southernmost point in the entire US lies on the Big Island of Hawaii.)

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The Dry Tortugas are a group of islands located some 120 km (75 mi) west of Key West, Florida; they form the western end of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico. Like the Keys, the Dry Tortugas are formed primarily of coral reefs over older limestone formations. The islands were named "Dry Tortugas" upon discovery by Ponce de Leon in 1513 - "tortugas" means turtles in Spanish, and the islands are "dry" as no fresh water is found on them. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the islands nevertheless have been designated a national park and are visited by hundreds every year. This view highlights three islands in the group: Bush Key, Hospital Key, and Garden Key - the site of hexagonal Civil War-era Fort Jefferson. Image courtesy of NASA.

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The Dry Tortugas are a group of islands located some 120 km (75 mi) west of Key West, Florida; they form the western end of the Florida Keys in the Gulf of Mexico. Like the Keys, the Dry Tortugas are formed primarily of coral reefs over older limestone formations. The islands were named “Dry Tortugas” upon discovery by Ponce de Leon in 1513 – “tortugas” means turtles in Spanish, and the islands are “dry” as no fresh water is found on them. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the islands nevertheless have been designated a national park and are visited by hundreds every year. This view highlights three islands in the group: Bush Key, Hospital Key, and Garden Key – the site of hexagonal Civil War-era Fort Jefferson. Image courtesy of NASA.

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The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the iconic symbol of the city. The monument honors the westward expansion of the United States, much of which began in this city. Built between 1963 and 1965 (but not opened to the public until 1967), the stainless steel-sheathed structure is hollow to accomodate a unique tram system that takes visitors to an observation deck at the top. Both the height and width of the arch are 192 m (630 ft). The structure is the tallest monument in the United States and the tallest stainless steel monument in the world.

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The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the iconic symbol of the city. The monument honors the westward expansion of the United States, much of which began in this city. Built between 1963 and 1965 (but not opened to the public until 1967), the stainless steel-sheathed structure is hollow to accomodate a unique tram system that takes visitors to an observation deck at the top. Both the height and width of the arch are 192 m (630 ft). The structure is the tallest monument in the United States and the tallest stainless steel monument in the world.

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Small, blocky shapes of towns, fields, and pastures surround the graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River shown in this false-color satellite image. Countless oxbow lakes and cutoffs accompany the meandering river south of Memphis, Tennessee, on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. The "Mighty Mississippi" is the largest river system in North America. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Small, blocky shapes of towns, fields, and pastures surround the graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River shown in this false-color satellite image. Countless oxbow lakes and cutoffs accompany the meandering river south of Memphis, Tennessee, on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. The “Mighty Mississippi” is the largest river system in North America. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Center pivot irrigation systems created these circular patterns in crop land near Garden City, Kansas. In this false-color satellite image, the red circles indicate irrigated crops of healthy vegetation. The light-colored circles represent harvested crops. Garden City, located just off the top edge of the image, is in Finney County in southwestern Kansas. The Arkansas River flows eastward across the upper right corner of the image. This part of western Kansas used to be short grass prairie, but has now given way to irrigated agriculture of corn, wheat, and sorghum. The water is drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer that underlies an area from Wyoming to Texas. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Center pivot irrigation systems created these circular patterns in crop land near Garden City, Kansas. In this false-color satellite image, the red circles indicate irrigated crops of healthy vegetation. The light-colored circles represent harvested crops. Garden City, located just off the top edge of the image, is in Finney County in southwestern Kansas. The Arkansas River flows eastward across the upper right corner of the image. This part of western Kansas used to be short grass prairie, but has now given way to irrigated agriculture of corn, wheat, and sorghum. The water is drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer that underlies an area from Wyoming to Texas. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Turbid waters from the third-longest river system in the world spill out into the Gulf of Mexico where their suspended sediment is deposited to form the Mississippi River Delta. Like the webbing on a duck's foot, marshes and mudflats in this 2001 satellite photo prevail between the shipping channels that have been cut into the delta. The deltaic progression has advanced South Louisiana's coastline 25-80 km (15-50 mi) over 5,000 years. In 2005, Hurricanes Rita and Katrina destroyed much of the delta and rising sea levels have increased erosion. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Turbid waters from the third-longest river system in the world spill out into the Gulf of Mexico where their suspended sediment is deposited to form the Mississippi River Delta. Like the webbing on a duck’s foot, marshes and mudflats in this 2001 satellite photo prevail between the shipping channels that have been cut into the delta. The deltaic progression has advanced South Louisiana’s coastline 25-80 km (15-50 mi) over 5,000 years. In 2005, Hurricanes Rita and Katrina destroyed much of the delta and rising sea levels have increased erosion. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Completed in 1935, Hoover Dam on the Colorado River straddles the Arizona-Nevada border.

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Completed in 1935, Hoover Dam on the Colorado River straddles the Arizona-Nevada border.

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The Colorado Plateau spans northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and is well known for its striking landscapes and broad vistas - an impression enhanced in this view from the International Space Station. This astronaut photograph highlights part of the Utah-Arizona border region of the Plateau, and includes several prominent landforms. The Colorado River, dammed to form Lake Powell in 1963, crosses from east to west (which is left to right here because the astronaut was looking south; north is towards the bottom of the image). The confluence of the Colorado and San Juan Rivers is also visible. Sunglint - sunlight reflected off a water surface back towards the observer - provides a silvery, mirror-like sheen to some areas of the water surfaces. The geologic uplift of the Colorado Plateau led to rapid downcutting of rivers into the flat sedimentary bedrock, leaving spectacular erosional landforms. One such feature, The Rincon (left center), preserves evidence of a former meander bend of the Colorado River. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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The Colorado Plateau spans northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and is well known for its striking landscapes and broad vistas – an impression enhanced in this view from the International Space Station. This astronaut photograph highlights part of the Utah-Arizona border region of the Plateau, and includes several prominent landforms. The Colorado River, dammed to form Lake Powell in 1963, crosses from east to west (which is left to right here because the astronaut was looking south; north is towards the bottom of the image). The confluence of the Colorado and San Juan Rivers is also visible. Sunglint – sunlight reflected off a water surface back towards the observer – provides a silvery, mirror-like sheen to some areas of the water surfaces. The geologic uplift of the Colorado Plateau led to rapid downcutting of rivers into the flat sedimentary bedrock, leaving spectacular erosional landforms. One such feature, The Rincon (left center), preserves evidence of a former meander bend of the Colorado River. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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A view of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

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A view of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

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Areas of greenery along the banks of the Colorado River as it winds through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In places, the canyon is 1.6 km (1 mi) deep.

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Areas of greenery along the banks of the Colorado River as it winds through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. In places, the canyon is 1.6 km (1 mi) deep.

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Aerial view of the Colorado River as it snakes through the majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona. The sedimentary layers exposed in the canyon date back 2 billion years!

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Aerial view of the Colorado River as it snakes through the majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona. The sedimentary layers exposed in the canyon date back 2 billion years!

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In the American Southwest, transitions from one ecosystem to another can be dramatic and abrupt. This certainly is true in northern Arizona, where the parched Painted Desert, shown in this enhanced satellite image in a palette of purples, adjoins Sitgreaves National Forest (shades of green), a realm of pine woodlands with abundant wildlife. Within the Painted Desert lie the Hopi Buttes, a field of ancient volcanic cones, seen here as a scattering of dark, circular shapes near the top of the photograph.  The Painted Desert's spectacular colors originate with iron and manganese minerals embedded in stratified layers of siltstone, mudstone, and shale. Image courtesy of USGS.

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In the American Southwest, transitions from one ecosystem to another can be dramatic and abrupt. This certainly is true in northern Arizona, where the parched Painted Desert, shown in this enhanced satellite image in a palette of purples, adjoins Sitgreaves National Forest (shades of green), a realm of pine woodlands with abundant wildlife. Within the Painted Desert lie the Hopi Buttes, a field of ancient volcanic cones, seen here as a scattering of dark, circular shapes near the top of the photograph. The Painted Desert’s spectacular colors originate with iron and manganese minerals embedded in stratified layers of siltstone, mudstone, and shale. Image courtesy of USGS.

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At 86 m (282 ft) below sea level, Death Valley, California, is one of the hottest, driest places on the planet. On average, the area sees only about 5 cm (2 in) of rain a year, and summer temperatures routinely soar above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). At night, temperatures drop considerably, and many animals in Death Valley are nocturnal as a result. Plants and animals living in this punishing environment have had to adapt to extremes of temperature and aridity. 

This Landsat image is compiled from observations on 11 June and 20 July 2000. Green indicates vegetation, which increases with altitude. The peaks of Death Valley National Park sport forests of juniper and pine. The dots of brilliant green near the right edge of the image fall outside park boundaries, and probably result from irrigation. On the floor of the valley, vegetation is sparse, yet more than 1,000 different species eke out an existence in the park. The varying shades of brown, beige, and rust indicate bare ground; the different colors result from varying mineral compositions in the rocks and dirt. Although they appear to be pools of water, the bright blue-green patches in the scene are actually salt pans that hold only a little moisture. Image courtesy of NASA.

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At 86 m (282 ft) below sea level, Death Valley, California, is one of the hottest, driest places on the planet. On average, the area sees only about 5 cm (2 in) of rain a year, and summer temperatures routinely soar above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). At night, temperatures drop considerably, and many animals in Death Valley are nocturnal as a result. Plants and animals living in this punishing environment have had to adapt to extremes of temperature and aridity.

This Landsat image is compiled from observations on 11 June and 20 July 2000. Green indicates vegetation, which increases with altitude. The peaks of Death Valley National Park sport forests of juniper and pine. The dots of brilliant green near the right edge of the image fall outside park boundaries, and probably result from irrigation. On the floor of the valley, vegetation is sparse, yet more than 1,000 different species eke out an existence in the park. The varying shades of brown, beige, and rust indicate bare ground; the different colors result from varying mineral compositions in the rocks and dirt. Although they appear to be pools of water, the bright blue-green patches in the scene are actually salt pans that hold only a little moisture. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Natural Bridge Canyon, Death Valley, California.

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Natural Bridge Canyon, Death Valley, California.

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Death Valley in California as seen from Dante's View.

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Death Valley in California as seen from Dante’s View.

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The Artist's Palette along the Artist's Drive in Death Valley, California.

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The Artist’s Palette along the Artist’s Drive in Death Valley, California.

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Los Angeles at night as seen from the International Space Station. After sunset, the borders of "The City of Angels" are defined as much by its dark terrain features as by its well-lit grid of streets and freeways. Over 13 million people inhabit the coastal basin bounded roughly by the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains to the north and the Chino Hills and Santa Ana Mountains to the east and southeast. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Los Angeles at night as seen from the International Space Station. After sunset, the borders of “The City of Angels” are defined as much by its dark terrain features as by its well-lit grid of streets and freeways. Over 13 million people inhabit the coastal basin bounded roughly by the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains to the north and the Chino Hills and Santa Ana Mountains to the east and southeast. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Oahu is the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii's capital of Honolulu stretches along its southern shore. Just to the east of Honolulu is Waikiki Beach, with throngs of tourists and dozens of high-rise hotels. Overlooking Waikiki is Diamond Head, a volcanic crater formed some 200,000 years ago (extinct for about 150,000 years). The clouds in the right hand corner of this image are an almost permanent feature of Oahu. Trade winds blowing from the northeast are stopped by the 960 m (3,000 ft) high mountain range, where they rain out most of their moisture. As a result, the windward side of Oahu is usually cloudy, and the leeward side is relatively clear and dry. The large indent in the lower left of the image is Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese air raid which drew America into World War II. The harbor still serves as a US Navy base. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Oahu is the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii’s capital of Honolulu stretches along its southern shore. Just to the east of Honolulu is Waikiki Beach, with throngs of tourists and dozens of high-rise hotels. Overlooking Waikiki is Diamond Head, a volcanic crater formed some 200,000 years ago (extinct for about 150,000 years). The clouds in the right hand corner of this image are an almost permanent feature of Oahu. Trade winds blowing from the northeast are stopped by the 960 m (3,000 ft) high mountain range, where they rain out most of their moisture. As a result, the windward side of Oahu is usually cloudy, and the leeward side is relatively clear and dry. The large indent in the lower left of the image is Pearl Harbor, site of the Japanese air raid which drew America into World War II. The harbor still serves as a US Navy base. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Flying over the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

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Flying over the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

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A satellite image of the Big Island of Hawaii. The three largest of the five shield volcanoes that make up the island are labeled. Mauna Kea is dormant, but Mauna Loa and Kilauea remain active and contribute to the island's continued growth. Mauna Loa has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.

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A satellite image of the Big Island of Hawaii. The three largest of the five shield volcanoes that make up the island are labeled. Mauna Kea is dormant, but Mauna Loa and Kilauea remain active and contribute to the island’s continued growth. Mauna Loa has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.

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A view of the island of Hawaii (the Big Island) in the Hawaiian Islands as seen from the International Space Station. The famous volcanic mountain Mauna Loa is visible at frame center. Image courtesy of NASA.

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A view of the island of Hawaii (the Big Island) in the Hawaiian Islands as seen from the International Space Station. The famous volcanic mountain Mauna Loa is visible at frame center. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Big Island of Hawaii, new black sand beach.

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Big Island of Hawaii, new black sand beach.

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Hanauma Bay is a snorkeler's paradise on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

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Hanauma Bay is a snorkeler’s paradise on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.

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Devastation Trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Devastation Trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

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Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

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Petroglyphs at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Petroglyphs at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Smoke and steam plume at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Smoke and steam plume at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Pahoehoe lava wall at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Pahoehoe lava wall at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Molten lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Molten lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Molten lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Molten lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

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Lava flowing into the sea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Lava flowing into the sea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Solitary surfer along the North Shore of the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Solitary surfer along the North Shore of the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Sunset over Maui, Hawaii.

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Sunset over Maui, Hawaii.

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The Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii is considered one of the most important astronomical viewing sites in the world. The white patch in the foreground is snow.

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The Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii is considered one of the most important astronomical viewing sites in the world. The white patch in the foreground is snow.

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Space Needle, Seattle, Washington.

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Space Needle, Seattle, Washington.

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The caldera of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state, 2007. Some volcanic gases and a slowly rebuilding dome are visible.

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The caldera of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state, 2007. Some volcanic gases and a slowly rebuilding dome are visible.

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Approaching the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state, 2007.

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Approaching the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state, 2007.

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Spokane, Washington's Spanish Renaissance-style Davenport Hotel and Tower.

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Spokane, Washington’s Spanish Renaissance-style Davenport Hotel and Tower.

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The Chronicle Building in Spokane, Washington, is the home of the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

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The Chronicle Building in Spokane, Washington, is the home of the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

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Music instrument sculptures represent Spokane's vibrant music legacy.

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Music instrument sculptures represent Spokane’s vibrant music legacy.

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The Couer d'Alene Golf Course in Washington State is home to the world's only floating green.

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The Couer d’Alene Golf Course in Washington State is home to the world’s only floating green.

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A typical wide road in Post Falls, Idaho, with a mountain view and a western-style building on one side, and a contemporary building on the other.

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A typical wide road in Post Falls, Idaho, with a mountain view and a western-style building on one side, and a contemporary building on the other.

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Post Falls is also known as Idaho's River City.

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Post Falls is also known as Idaho’s River City.

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Post Falls City Hall and Civic Center in Idaho.

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Post Falls City Hall and Civic Center in Idaho.

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Many businesses in Post Falls, Idaho set themselves up in colorful houses.

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Many businesses in Post Falls, Idaho set themselves up in colorful houses.

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A local Post Falls artist painted this memorial that honors veterans of all conflicts dating back to the pre-settlement warrior and forward to . . .

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A local Post Falls artist painted this memorial that honors veterans of all conflicts dating back to the pre-settlement warrior and forward to . . .

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. . . the present. Some of the soldiers in the murals are locals.

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. . . the present. Some of the soldiers in the murals are locals.

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A bison and her calf on a farm near Post Falls, Idaho.

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A bison and her calf on a farm near Post Falls, Idaho.

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A modified 1923 Ford convertible with a rumble seat at an antique car show in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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A modified 1923 Ford convertible with a rumble seat at an antique car show in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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This natural-color satellite image shows Unalaska and Amaknak Islands, which are part of the Aleutian Island chain that separates the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea. The city of Unalaska is split between the two islands: the northern part, where Dutch Harbor is located, is connected to the southern part by a bridge. The wakes of several ships are visible in the surrounding waters. Image courtesy of NASA.

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This natural-color satellite image shows Unalaska and Amaknak Islands, which are part of the Aleutian Island chain that separates the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea. The city of Unalaska is split between the two islands: the northern part, where Dutch Harbor is located, is connected to the southern part by a bridge. The wakes of several ships are visible in the surrounding waters. Image courtesy of NASA.

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As the westernmost point in North America, Attu is a rugged island dominated by snow-covered mountains (blue in this false-color photo). It is 32 by 56 km (20 by 35 mi) and lies at the far western end of the Aleutian chain, approximately 1770 km (1100 mi) from the Alaskan mainland and 402 km (250 mi) from the Siberian coastline. The weather is characterized by persistently overcast skies, fog, high winds, and frequent cyclonic storms. The Japanese invaded and occupied Attu in June 1942. Today, the island is home to a US Coastguard station and is a sanctuary to many of North America's rarest birds. Image courtesy of NASA.

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As the westernmost point in North America, Attu is a rugged island dominated by snow-covered mountains (blue in this false-color photo). It is 32 by 56 km (20 by 35 mi) and lies at the far western end of the Aleutian chain, approximately 1770 km (1100 mi) from the Alaskan mainland and 402 km (250 mi) from the Siberian coastline. The weather is characterized by persistently overcast skies, fog, high winds, and frequent cyclonic storms. The Japanese invaded and occupied Attu in June 1942. Today, the island is home to a US Coastguard station and is a sanctuary to many of North America’s rarest birds. Image courtesy of NASA.

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An intricate maze of small lakes and waterways define the Yukon Delta at the confluence of Alaska's Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers with the frigid Bering Sea, shown in this false-color image. Wildlife abounds on the delta and offshore where sheets of sea ice form during the coldest months of the year. Image courtesy of USGS.

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An intricate maze of small lakes and waterways define the Yukon Delta at the confluence of Alaska’s Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers with the frigid Bering Sea, shown in this false-color image. Wildlife abounds on the delta and offshore where sheets of sea ice form during the coldest months of the year. Image courtesy of USGS.

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Along the northern Arctic shores of Alaska, ice, snow, and cold dominate the landscape, even on a sunny day in June. This false-color satellite image shows electric blue ice and snow, the green vegetation of the hardy plants and mosses of the tundra, the deep blue of flowing rivers and open ocean, and pink-hued outcrops of bare, rocky ground. The tundra runs the length of northern Alaska and is known as the North Slope. Only a surface "active layer" of the tundra thaws each season; most of the soil is permanently frozen year-round. On top of this permafrost, water flows to sea via shallow, braided streams or settles into pools and ponds. Along the bottom of the image, the rugged terrain of the Brooks Range Mountains is snow-covered in places (blue areas) and exposed (pink areas) in others. The sea is not surrendering to approaching summer. Along the coast, fast ice still clings to the shore in a solid, frozen sheet. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Along the northern Arctic shores of Alaska, ice, snow, and cold dominate the landscape, even on a sunny day in June. This false-color satellite image shows electric blue ice and snow, the green vegetation of the hardy plants and mosses of the tundra, the deep blue of flowing rivers and open ocean, and pink-hued outcrops of bare, rocky ground. The tundra runs the length of northern Alaska and is known as the North Slope. Only a surface “active layer” of the tundra thaws each season; most of the soil is permanently frozen year-round. On top of this permafrost, water flows to sea via shallow, braided streams or settles into pools and ponds. Along the bottom of the image, the rugged terrain of the Brooks Range Mountains is snow-covered in places (blue areas) and exposed (pink areas) in others. The sea is not surrendering to approaching summer. Along the coast, fast ice still clings to the shore in a solid, frozen sheet. Image courtesy of NASA.

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View along the Inside Passage of the Alaska panhandle.

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View along the Inside Passage of the Alaska panhandle.

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Mount Roberts Tram above Juneau Harbor, Alaska.

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Mount Roberts Tram above Juneau Harbor, Alaska.

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Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

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Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

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"Clan Council" totem pole arrangement atop Cape Fox Hill, Ketchikan, Alaska.

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“Clan Council” totem pole arrangement atop Cape Fox Hill, Ketchikan, Alaska.

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Portage Glacier and Lake Alaska in Alaska.

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Portage Glacier and Lake Alaska in Alaska.

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Mined for gold, silver, and copper, the region of Butte, Montana, had already earned the nickname of "The Richest Hill on Earth" by the end of the 19th century. The demand for electricity increased the requirement for copper so much that by World War I, the city of Butte was a boom town. Well before World War I, however, copper mining had spurred the creation of an intricate complex of underground drains and pumps to lower the groundwater level and continue the extraction of copper. Water extracted from the mines was so rich in dissolved copper sulfate that it was also "mined" by chemical precipitation for the copper it contained. In 1955, copper mining in the area expanded with the opening of the Berkeley Pit. The mine took advantage of the existing subterranean drainage and pump network to lower groundwater until 1982, when a new owner suspended operations. After the pumps were turned off, water from the surrounding rock basin began seeping into the pit. By the time an astronaut on the International Space Station took this picture on 2 August 2006, water in the pit was more than 275 m (900 ft) deep.

This image shows many features of the mine workings, such as the terraced levels and access roadways of the open mine pits (gray and tan sculptured surfaces). A large gray tailings pile of waste rock and an adjacent tailings pond appear to the north of the Berkeley Pit. Color changes in the tailings pond result primarily from changing water depth. Because its water contains high concentrations of metals such as copper and zinc, the Berkeley Pit is listed as a federal Superfund site. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Mined for gold, silver, and copper, the region of Butte, Montana, had already earned the nickname of “The Richest Hill on Earth” by the end of the 19th century. The demand for electricity increased the requirement for copper so much that by World War I, the city of Butte was a boom town. Well before World War I, however, copper mining had spurred the creation of an intricate complex of underground drains and pumps to lower the groundwater level and continue the extraction of copper. Water extracted from the mines was so rich in dissolved copper sulfate that it was also “mined” by chemical precipitation for the copper it contained. In 1955, copper mining in the area expanded with the opening of the Berkeley Pit. The mine took advantage of the existing subterranean drainage and pump network to lower groundwater until 1982, when a new owner suspended operations. After the pumps were turned off, water from the surrounding rock basin began seeping into the pit. By the time an astronaut on the International Space Station took this picture on 2 August 2006, water in the pit was more than 275 m (900 ft) deep.

This image shows many features of the mine workings, such as the terraced levels and access roadways of the open mine pits (gray and tan sculptured surfaces). A large gray tailings pile of waste rock and an adjacent tailings pond appear to the north of the Berkeley Pit. Color changes in the tailings pond result primarily from changing water depth. Because its water contains high concentrations of metals such as copper and zinc, the Berkeley Pit is listed as a federal Superfund site. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Storm Castle Peak is in the Gallatin Gateway area of the Rocky Mountains, southwest of Bozeman, Montana.

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Storm Castle Peak is in the Gallatin Gateway area of the Rocky Mountains, southwest of Bozeman, Montana.

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View of Gallatin National Forest from Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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View of Gallatin National Forest from Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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View of the Gallatin River from Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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View of the Gallatin River from Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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View of mountain ridges in Gallatin National Forest from the Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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View of mountain ridges in Gallatin National Forest from the Storm Castle Trail, Gallatin, Montana.

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Farms in northwest Minnesota viewed from space resemble a patchwork quilt in this 10 September 2009 image. Fields change hue with the season and with the alternating plots of organic wheat, soybeans, corn, alfalfa, flax, or hay. Although lush green fields dominate the image, some crops have already been harvested leaving squares of tan and brown. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Farms in northwest Minnesota viewed from space resemble a patchwork quilt in this 10 September 2009 image. Fields change hue with the season and with the alternating plots of organic wheat, soybeans, corn, alfalfa, flax, or hay. Although lush green fields dominate the image, some crops have already been harvested leaving squares of tan and brown. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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This image is a rare satellite view of a cloudless summer day over the entire Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes comprise the largest collective body of fresh water on the planet, containing roughly 18 percent of Earth's supply. Only the polar ice caps contain more fresh water. The region around the Great Lakes basin is home to more than 10 percent of the population of the United States and 25 percent of the population of Canada.
Open water appears blue or nearly black. The pale blue and green swirls near the coasts are likely caused by algae or phytoplankton blooms, or by calcium carbonate (chalk) from the lake floor. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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This image is a rare satellite view of a cloudless summer day over the entire Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes comprise the largest collective body of fresh water on the planet, containing roughly 18 percent of Earth’s supply. Only the polar ice caps contain more fresh water. The region around the Great Lakes basin is home to more than 10 percent of the population of the United States and 25 percent of the population of Canada.
Open water appears blue or nearly black. The pale blue and green swirls near the coasts are likely caused by algae or phytoplankton blooms, or by calcium carbonate (chalk) from the lake floor. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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A view of Rockport, Massachusetts, some 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Boston, at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. First settled in the 17th century, the town's economy was long based on timber, fishing, and granite quarrying. Today it is a popular tourist site and artists colony.

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A view of Rockport, Massachusetts, some 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Boston, at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. First settled in the 17th century, the town’s economy was long based on timber, fishing, and granite quarrying. Today it is a popular tourist site and artists colony.

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Another view of the harbor at Rockport, Massachusetts, some 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Boston, at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. The boulder-strewn shoreline accounts for the town's name.

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Another view of the harbor at Rockport, Massachusetts, some 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Boston, at the tip of the Cape Ann peninsula. The boulder-strewn shoreline accounts for the town’s name.

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Seaside view at Gloucester, Massacusetts. Settled in 1623, the city - long a fishing and seafood center - claims to be America's oldest seaport.

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Seaside view at Gloucester, Massacusetts. Settled in 1623, the city – long a fishing and seafood center – claims to be America’s oldest seaport.

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The Mayflower II at State Pier in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The ship is a replica of the 17th century Mayflower that transported the Pilgrims (some of the earliest English settlers) to the New World.

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The Mayflower II at State Pier in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The ship is a replica of the 17th century Mayflower that transported the Pilgrims (some of the earliest English settlers) to the New World.

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A couple of the dwellings at Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts that recreates the original English colony of the 17th century.

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A couple of the dwellings at Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts that recreates the original English colony of the 17th century.

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A typical lobster boat docked along Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

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A typical lobster boat docked along Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

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Built between 1872 and 1877, Trinity Church in Boston Massachusetts is the archetype of the Richardsonian Romanesque style (named after the architect), which is characterized by rough stone, heavy round-headed arches (often springing from clusters of short squat columns), clay roof tiles, and a massive tower. Trinity Church has been honored as one of the "Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States"; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

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Built between 1872 and 1877, Trinity Church in Boston Massachusetts is the archetype of the Richardsonian Romanesque style (named after the architect), which is characterized by rough stone, heavy round-headed arches (often springing from clusters of short squat columns), clay roof tiles, and a massive tower. Trinity Church has been honored as one of the “Ten Most Significant Buildings in the United States”; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

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The facade of Trinity Church in Boston Massachusetts vividly displays many details of the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

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The facade of Trinity Church in Boston Massachusetts vividly displays many details of the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

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Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts lies literally within the shadow of the John Hancock Tower (New England's tallest). The church's reflection within the office building's windows creates an interesting juxtaposition of architectural styles.

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Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts lies literally within the shadow of the John Hancock Tower (New England’s tallest). The church’s reflection within the office building’s windows creates an interesting juxtaposition of architectural styles.

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The sanctuary of Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

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The sanctuary of Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

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The altar of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts.

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The altar of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts.

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A view of the interior of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts, showing some of the architectural details, stained glass windows, and the church organ.

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A view of the interior of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts, showing some of the architectural details, stained glass windows, and the church organ.

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The USS Constitution, docked at Pier 1 of the Charleston Navy Yard (Boston), is the oldest floating commissioned naval vessel in the world. Launched in 1797, it was one of the first six original frigates built for the US Navy.

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The USS Constitution, docked at Pier 1 of the Charleston Navy Yard (Boston), is the oldest floating commissioned naval vessel in the world. Launched in 1797, it was one of the first six original frigates built for the US Navy.

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Close up view of the bow of the USS Constitution. The ship is constructed of white and longleaf pine, white oak, and, most importantly, southern live oak. The latter is particularly dense, heavy, and difficult to work, but very strong. Because her hull was built 53 cm (21 in) thick in an era when 47 cm (18 in) was common, she was able to withstand cannonades, thus earning the nickname of "Old Ironsides." The copper sheathing along the keel prevents the attachment of shipworms.

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Close up view of the bow of the USS Constitution. The ship is constructed of white and longleaf pine, white oak, and, most importantly, southern live oak. The latter is particularly dense, heavy, and difficult to work, but very strong. Because her hull was built 53 cm (21 in) thick in an era when 47 cm (18 in) was common, she was able to withstand cannonades, thus earning the nickname of “Old Ironsides.” The copper sheathing along the keel prevents the attachment of shipworms.

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A top (platform) and some of the rigging on the frigate USS Constitution.

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A top (platform) and some of the rigging on the frigate USS Constitution.

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Gun ports of the USS Constitution. Although rated as a 44-gun frigate, the ship would often carry over 50 guns at a time. Constitution is 62 m (204 ft) long and 13.3 m (43.5 ft) at the beam. The height of the central mainmast is 67 m (220 ft).

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Gun ports of the USS Constitution. Although rated as a 44-gun frigate, the ship would often carry over 50 guns at a time. Constitution is 62 m (204 ft) long and 13.3 m (43.5 ft) at the beam. The height of the central mainmast is 67 m (220 ft).

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The stern of the frigate USS Constitution docked at Pier 1 of the Charleston Navy Yard (Boston).

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The stern of the frigate USS Constitution docked at Pier 1 of the Charleston Navy Yard (Boston).

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This false-color satellite image shows greater New York City. The Island of Manhattan is jutting southward from top center, bordered by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. (North is straight up in this scene.) In the middle of Manhattan, Central Park appears as a long green rectangle running roughly north-south with a large lake in the middle. Also visible are parts of Staten Island (bottom left corner) and Long Island (lower right). Photo courtesy of NASA.

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This false-color satellite image shows greater New York City. The Island of Manhattan is jutting southward from top center, bordered by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the east. (North is straight up in this scene.) In the middle of Manhattan, Central Park appears as a long green rectangle running roughly north-south with a large lake in the middle. Also visible are parts of Staten Island (bottom left corner) and Long Island (lower right). Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Visible from space, a smoke plume rises from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. This photo was taken of metropolitan New York City (and other parts of New York as well as New Jersey) the morning of 11 September 2001. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Visible from space, a smoke plume rises from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. This photo was taken of metropolitan New York City (and other parts of New York as well as New Jersey) the morning of 11 September 2001. Image courtesy of NASA.

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Another view of New York and environs taken from the International Space Station on 11  September 2001 following the attack on the World Trade Center. This image is one of a series taken that day of metropolitan New York City that shows the smoke plume rising from the Manhattan. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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Another view of New York and environs taken from the International Space Station on 11 September 2001 following the attack on the World Trade Center. This image is one of a series taken that day of metropolitan New York City that shows the smoke plume rising from the Manhattan. Photo courtesy of NASA.

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The Statue of Liberty in New York City.

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The Statue of Liberty in New York City.

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Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC as seen during the early morning hours of 17 November 2018. A flight trail of an Antares rocket - with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard - appears over the memorial. The rocket was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, about 185 km (115 mi) southeast of the capital. The cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station delivered about 3,350 kg (7,400 lb) of scientific research equipment and crew supplies to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC as seen during the early morning hours of 17 November 2018. A flight trail of an Antares rocket – with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard – appears over the memorial. The rocket was launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, about 185 km (115 mi) southeast of the capital. The cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station delivered about 3,350 kg (7,400 lb) of scientific research equipment and crew supplies to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

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United States Map

  • Introduction :: United States

  • Background:

    This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.

    Background field listing

    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.

    UNITED STATES SUMMARY

    UNITED STATES SUMMARY:
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  • Geography :: United States

  • Location:

    This entry identifies the country’s regional location, neighboring countries, and adjacent bodies of water.

    Location field listing

    North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico

    Geographic coordinates:

    This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the centroid or center point of a country expressed in degrees and minutes; it is based on the locations provided in the Geographic Names Server (GNS), maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on behalf of the US Board on Geographic Names.

    Geographic coordinates field listing

    Map references:

    This entry includes the name of the Factbook reference map on which a country may be found. Note that boundary representations on these maps are not necessarily authoritative. The entry on Geographic coordinates may be helpful in finding some smaller countries.

    Map references field listing

    Area:

    This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.

    Area field listing

    total:
    9,833,517 sq km

    land:
    9,147,593 sq km

    water:
    685,924 sq km

    note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia, no overseas territories

    country comparison to the world:

    4

    Area – comparative:

    This entry provides an area comparison based on total area equivalents. Most entities are compared with the entire US or one of the 50 states based on area measurements (1990 revised) provided by the US Bureau of the Census. The smaller entities are compared with Washington, DC (178 sq km, 69 sq mi) or The Mall in Washington, DC (0.59 sq km, 0.23 sq mi, 146 acres).

    Area - comparative field listing

    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

    Land boundaries:

    This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries. When available, official lengths published by national statistical agencies are used. Because surveying methods may differ, country border lengths reported by contiguous countries may differ.

    Land boundaries field listing

    total:
    12,048 km

    border countries (2):
    Canada 8893 km (including 2477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3155 km

    note: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is leased by the US and is part of Cuba; the base boundary is 28.5 km

    Coastline:

    This entry gives the total length of the boundary between the land area (including islands) and the sea.

    Coastline field listing

    Maritime claims:

    This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: territorial sea – the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the UNCLOS (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying s . . .
    more

    Maritime claims field listing

    territorial sea:
    12
    nm

    exclusive economic zone:
    200
    nm

    contiguous zone:
    24
    nm

    continental shelf:
    not specified

    Climate:

    This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year; in the Word entry only, it includes four subfields that describe climate extremes:ten driest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and inches for selected countries with climate extremes.
    ten wettest places on earth (average annual precipitation) describes the annual average precipitation measured in both millimeters and i . . .
    more

    Climate field listing

    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:

    This entry contains a brief description of the topography.

    Terrain field listing

    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:

    This entry includes the mean elevation and elevation extremes, lowest point and highest point.

    Elevation field listing

    mean elevation:
    760 m

    lowest point:
    Death Valley (lowest point in North America) -86 m

    highest point:
    Denali 6,190 m (Mount McKinley) (highest point in North America)

    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 (8,850 m), which is recognized as the tallest mountain above sea level

    Natural resources:

    This entry lists a country’s mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance, such as rare earth elements (REEs). In general, products appear only if they make a significant contribution to the economy, or are likely to do so in the future.

    Natural resources field listing

    coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber, arable land, note, the US has the world’s largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world’s total

    Land use:

    This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: agricultural land, forest, and other; agricultural land is further divided into arable land – land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest, permanent crops – land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest, and includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, and permane . . .
    more

    Land use field listing

    agricultural land:
    44.5%

    (2011 est.)

    arable land:
    16.8%
    (2011 est.)
    /
    permanent crops:
    0.3%
    (2011 est.)
    /
    permanent pasture:
    27.4%
    (2011 est.)

    forest:
    33.3%

    (2011 est.)

    other:
    22.2%

    (2011 est.)

    Irrigated land:

    This entry gives the number of square kilometers of land area that is artificially supplied with water.

    Irrigated land field listing

    Population distribution:

    This entry provides a summary description of the population dispersion within a country. While it may suggest population density, it does not provide density figures.

    Population distribution field listing

    large urban clusters are spread throughout the eastern half of the US (particularly the Great Lakes area, northeast, east, and southeast) and the western tier states; mountainous areas, principally the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian chain, deserts in the southwest, the dense boreal forests in the extreme north, and the central prarie states are less densely populated; Alaska’s population is concentrated along its southern coast – with particular emphasis on the city of Anchorage – and Hawaii’s is centered on the island of Oahu

    Natural hazards:

    This entry lists potential natural disasters. For countries where volcanic activity is common, a volcanism subfield highlights historically active volcanoes.

    Natural hazards field listing

    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: volcanic activity in the Hawaiian Islands, Western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and in the Northern Mariana Islands; both Mauna Loa (4,170 m) in Hawaii and Mount Rainier (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 (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 (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, Trident, Ugashik-Peulik, Ukinrek Maars, Veniaminof; in Hawaii: Haleakala, Kilauea, Loihi; in the Northern Mariana Islands: Anatahan; and in the Pacific Northwest: Mount Baker, Mount Hood; see note 2 under “Geography – note”

    Environment – current issues:

    This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry:

    Acidification – the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain).

    Acid rain – characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxi . . .
    more

    Environment - current issues field listing

    air pollution; large 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; deforestation; mining; desertification; species conservation; invasive species

    Environment – international agreements:

    This entry separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels – party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name.

    Environment - international agreements field listing

    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

    Geography – note:

    This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere.

    Geography - note field listing

    note 1: world’s third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Denali (Mt. McKinley) is the highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent

    note 2: the western coast of the United States and southern coast of Alaska lie along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world’s earthquakes and some 75% of the world’s volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

    note 3: the Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands that divide the Bering Sea (north) from the main Pacific Ocean (south); they extend about 1,800 km westward from the Alaskan Peninsula; the archipelago consists of 14 larger islands, 55 smaller islands, and hundreds of islets; there are 41 active volcanoes on the islands, which together form a large northern section of the Ring of Fire

  • People and Society :: United States

  • Population:

    This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends. The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region. Note: Starting with the 1993 Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries (mostly African) have explicitly taken into account t . . .
    more

    Population field listing

    329,256,465

    (July 2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Nationality:

    This entry provides the identifying terms for citizens – noun and adjective.

    Nationality field listing

    noun:
    American(s)

    adjective:
    American

    Ethnic groups:

    This entry provides an ordered listing of ethnic groups starting with the largest and normally includes the percent of total population.

    Ethnic groups field listing

    white 72.4%, black 12.6%, Asian 4.8%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.9%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.2%, other 6.2%, two or more races 2.9% (2010 est.)

    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.); an estimated 16.3% of the total US population is Hispanic as of 2010

    Languages:

    This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages. When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language.

    Languages field listing

    English only 78.2%, Spanish 13.4%, Chinese 1.1%, other 7.3%
    (2017 est.)

    note: data represent the language spoken at home; the US has no official national language, but English has acquired official status in 32 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii, and 20 indigenous languages are official in Alaska

    Religions:

    This entry is an ordered listing of religions by adherents starting with the largest group and sometimes includes the percent of total population. The core characteristics and beliefs of the world’s major religions are described below. Baha’i – Founded by Mirza Husayn-Ali (known as Baha’u’llah) in Iran in 1852, Baha’i faith emphasizes monotheism and believes in one eternal transcendent God. Its guiding focus is to encourage the unity of all peoples on the earth so that justice and peace m . . .
    more

    Religions field listing

    Protestant 46.5%, Roman Catholic 20.8%, Jewish 1.9%, Mormon 1.6%, other Christian 0.9%, Muslim 0.9%, Jehovah’s Witness 0.8%, Buddhist 0.7%, Hindu 0.7%, other 1.8%, unaffiliated 22.8%, don’t know/refused 0.6%
    (2014 est.)

    Age structure:

    This entry provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation’s key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older population . . .
    more

    Age structure field listing

    0-14 years:
    18.62%
    (male 31,329,121 /female 29,984,705)

    15-24 years:
    13.12%
    (male 22,119,340 /female 21,082,599)

    25-54 years:
    39.29%
    (male 64,858,646 /female 64,496,889)

    55-64 years:
    12.94%
    (male 20,578,432 /female 22,040,267)

    65 years and over:
    16.03%
    (male 23,489,515 /female 29,276,951)
    (2018 est.)

    population pyramid:

    population pyramid

    North America

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    United States



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    population pyramid

    This is the population pyramid for the United States. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country’s population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

    For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab.

    Dependency ratios:

    Dependency ratios are a measure of the age structure of a population. They relate the number of individuals that are likely to be economically “dependent” on the support of others. Dependency ratios contrast the ratio of youths (ages 0-14) and the elderly (ages 65+) to the number of those in the working-age group (ages 15-64). Changes in the dependency ratio provide an indication of potential social support requirements resulting from changes in population age structures. As fertility leve . . .
    more

    Dependency ratios field listing

    total dependency ratio:
    51.2

    (2015 est.)

    youth dependency ratio:
    29

    (2015 est.)

    elderly dependency ratio:
    22.1

    (2015 est.)

    potential support ratio:
    4.5

    (2015 est.)

    Population growth rate:

    The average annual percent change in the population, resulting from a surplus (or deficit) of births over deaths and the balance of migrants entering and leaving a country. The rate may be positive or negative. The growth rate is a factor in determining how great a burden would be imposed on a country by the changing needs of its people for infrastructure (e.g., schools, hospitals, housing, roads), resources (e.g., food, water, electricity), and jobs. Rapid population growth can be seen as . . .
    more

    Population growth rate field listing

    0.8%

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    130

    Birth rate:

    This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1,000 persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate. The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth. It depends on both the level of fertility and the age structure of the population.

    Birth rate field listing

    12.4 births/1,000 population

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    157

    Death rate:

    This entry gives the average annual number of deaths during a year per 1,000 population at midyear; also known as crude death rate. The death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth. This indicator is significantly affected by age distribution, and most countries will eventually show a rise in the overall death rate, in spite of continued decline in mortality at all ages, as declining . . .
    more

    Death rate field listing

    8.2 deaths/1,000 population

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    86

    Net migration rate:

    This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan . . .
    more

    Net migration rate field listing

    3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    35

    Population distribution:

    This entry provides a summary description of the population dispersion within a country. While it may suggest population density, it does not provide density figures.

    Population distribution field listing

    large urban clusters are spread throughout the eastern half of the US (particularly the Great Lakes area, northeast, east, and southeast) and the western tier states; mountainous areas, principally the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian chain, deserts in the southwest, the dense boreal forests in the extreme north, and the central prarie states are less densely populated; Alaska’s population is concentrated along its southern coast – with particular emphasis on the city of Anchorage – and Hawaii’s is centered on the island of Oahu

    Urbanization:

    This entry provides two measures of the degree of urbanization of a population. The first, urban population, describes the percentage of the total population living in urban areas, as defined by the country. The second, rate of urbanization, describes the projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population over the given period of time. Additionally, the World entry includes a list of the ten largest urban agglomerations. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising th . . .
    more

    Urbanization field listing

    urban population:
    82.3% of total population
    (2018)

    rate of urbanization:
    0.95% annual rate of change
    (2015-20 est.)

    Major urban areas – population:

    This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least 750,000 people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city. For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of 750,000 or more, only the population of the capital is presented.

    Major urban areas - population field listing

    18.819 million New York-Newark, 12.458 million Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, 8.864 million Chicago, 6.115 million Houston, 5.817 million Miami, 5.207 million WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital)
    (2018)

    Sex ratio:

    This entry includes the number of males for each female in five age groups – at birth, under 15 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over, and for the total population. Sex ratio at birth has recently emerged as an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons. This will affect future marriage patterns and fertilit . . .
    more

    Sex ratio field listing

    at birth:
    1.05 male(s)/female
    NA

    0-14 years:
    1.04 male(s)/female

    15-24 years:
    1.05 male(s)/female

    25-54 years:
    1.01 male(s)/female

    55-64 years:
    0.93 male(s)/female

    65 years and over:
    0.8 male(s)/female

    total population:
    0.97 male(s)/female

    (2018 est.)

    Mother’s mean age at first birth:

    This entry provides the mean (average) age of mothers at the birth of their first child. It is a useful indicator for gauging the success of family planning programs aiming to reduce maternal mortality, increase contraceptive use – particularly among married and unmarried adolescents – delay age at first marriage, and improve the health of newborns.

    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing

    Maternal mortality rate:

    The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes). The MMR includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, for a specified year.

    Maternal mortality rate field listing

    14 deaths/100,000 live births

    (2015 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    139

    Infant mortality rate:

    This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.

    Infant mortality rate field listing

    total:
    5.7 deaths/1,000 live births

    male:
    6.2 deaths/1,000 live births

    female:
    5.2 deaths/1,000 live births

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    170

    Life expectancy at birth:

    This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.

    Life expectancy at birth field listing

    total population:
    80.1 years

    male:
    77.8 years

    female:
    82.3 years

    (2018 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    45

    Total fertility rate:

    This entry gives a figure for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age. The total fertility rate (TFR) is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country. A rate of two children per woman is considered the replaceme . . .
    more

    Total fertility rate field listing

    1.87 children born/woman

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    142

    Contraceptive prevalence rate:

    This field gives the percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) who are married or in union and are using, or whose sexual partner is using, a method of contraception according to the date of the most recent available data. The contraceptive prevalence rate is an indicator of health services, development, and women’s empowerment. It is also useful in understanding, past, present, and future fertility trends, especially in developing countries.

    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing

    72.7%

    (2013/15)

    note: percent of women aged 15-44

    Health expenditures:

    This entry provides the total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP. Health expenditures are broadly defined as activities performed either by institutions or individuals through the application of medical, paramedical, and/or nursing knowledge and technology, the primary purpose of which is to promote, restore, or maintain health.

    Health expenditures field listing

    17.1% of GDP

    (2014)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Physicians density:

    This entry gives the number of medical doctors (physicians), including generalist and specialist medical practitioners, per 1,000 of the population. Medical doctors are defined as doctors that study, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness, disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans through the application of modern medicine. They also plan, supervise, and evaluate care and treatment plans by other health care providers. The World Health Organization estimates that f . . .
    more

    Physicians density field listing

    2.57 physicians/1,000 population

    (2014)

    Hospital bed density:

    This entry provides the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people; it serves as a general measure of inpatient service availability. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In most cases, beds for both acute and chronic care are included. Because the level of inpatient services required for individual countries depends on several factors – such as demographic issues and the burden of disease – there is . . .
    more

    Hospital bed density field listing

    2.9 beds/1,000 population

    (2013)

    Drinking water source:

    This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved drinking water sources available to segments of the population of a country. Improved drinking water – use of any of the following sources: piped water into dwelling, yard, or plot; public tap or standpipe; tubewell or borehole; protected dug well; protected spring; or rainwater collection. Unimproved drinking water – use of any of the following sources: unprotected dug well; unprotected spring; cart with small tank or . . .
    more

    Drinking water source field listing

    improved:
    urban:
    99.4% of population

    rural:
    98.2% of population

    total:
    99.2% of population

    unimproved:
    urban:
    0.6% of population

    rural:
    1.8% of population

    total:
    0.8% of population
    (2015 est.)

    Sanitation facility access:

    This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation – use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush to a piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine; ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine; pit latrine with slab; or a composting toilet. Unimproved sanitation – use of any of the following facilities: flush or pour-flush not piped to a sewer system, septic tank . . .
    more

    Sanitation facility access field listing

    improved:
    urban:
    100% of population
    (2015 est.)

    rural:
    100% of population
    (2015 est.)

    total:
    100% of population
    (2015 est.)

    unimproved:
    urban:
    0% of population
    (2015 est.)

    rural:
    0% of population
    (2015 est.)

    total:
    0% of population
    (2015 est.)

    HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:

    This entry gives an estimate of the percentage of adults (aged 15-49) living with HIV/AIDS. The adult prevalence rate is calculated by dividing the estimated number of adults living with HIV/AIDS at yearend by the total adult population at yearend.

    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing

    HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:

    This entry gives an estimate of all people (adults and children) alive at yearend with HIV infection, whether or not they have developed symptoms of AIDS.

    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing

    HIV/AIDS – deaths:

    This entry gives an estimate of the number of adults and children who died of AIDS during a given calendar year.

    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing

    Obesity – adult prevalence rate:

    This entry gives the percent of a country’s population considered to be obese. Obesity is defined as an adult having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater to or equal to 30.0. BMI is calculated by taking a person’s weight in kg and dividing it by the person’s squared height in meters.

    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing

    36.2%

    (2016)

    country comparison to the world:

    12

    Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

    This entry gives the percent of children under five considered to be underweight. Underweight means weight-for-age is approximately 2 kg below for standard at age one, 3 kg below standard for ages two and three, and 4 kg below standard for ages four and five. This statistic is an indicator of the nutritional status of a community. Children who suffer from growth retardation as a result of poor diets and/or recurrent infections tend to have a greater risk of suffering illness and death.

    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing

    0.5%

    (2012)

    country comparison to the world:

    126

    5% of GDP

    (2014)

    country comparison to the world:

    69

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

    School life expectancy (SLE) is the total number of years of schooling (primary to tertiary) that a child can expect to receive, assuming that the probability of his or her being enrolled in school at any particular future age is equal to the current enrollment ratio at that age.

    Caution must be maintained when utilizing this indicator in international comparisons. For example, a year or grade completed in one country is not necessarily the same in terms of educational content or qualit . . .
    more

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing

    total:
    16 years

    male:
    16 years

    female:
    17 years

    (2016)

    total:
    9.2%

    male:
    10.3%

    female:
    8.1%

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    131

  • Government :: United States

  • Country name:

    This entry includes all forms of the country’s name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note.

    Country name field listing

    conventional long form:
    United States of America

    conventional short form:
    United States

    abbreviation:
    US or USA

    etymology:
    the name America is derived from that of Amerigo VESPUCCI (1454-1512) – Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer – using the Latin form of his name, Americus, feminized to America

    Government type:

    This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.):

    Absolute monarchy – a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition.

    Anarchy – a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority.

    Authoritarian – a form of government in whic . . .
    more

    Government type field listing

    constitutional federal republic

    Capital:

    This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.

    Capital field listing

    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

    Administrative divisions:

    This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by the BGN are noted. Geographic names conform to spellings approved by the BGN with the exception of the omission of diacritical marks and special characters.

    Administrative divisions field listing

    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:

    This entry contains an alphabetical listing of all nonindependent entities associated in some way with a particular independent state.

    Dependent areas field listing

    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)

    Independence:

    For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent “independence” in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . . .
    more

    Independence field listing

    4 July 1776 (declared independence from Great Britain); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain)

    National holiday:

    This entry gives the primary national day of celebration – usually independence day.

    National holiday field listing

    Independence Day, 4 July (1776)

    Constitution:

    This entry provides information on a country’s constitution and includes two subfields. The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. For countries with 1-3 previous constitutions, the years are listed; for those with 4-9 previous, the entry is listed as “several previous,” and for those with 10 or more, the entry is “many previous.” The amendments subfield summarizes the process of am . . .
    more

    Constitution field listing

    history:
    previous 1781 (Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union); latest drafted July – September 1787, submitted to the Congress of the Confederation 20 September 1787, submitted for states’ ratification 28 September 1787, ratification completed by nine of the 13 states 21 June 1788, effective 4 March 1789

    amendments:
    proposed as a “joint resolution” by Congress, which requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by at least two-thirds of the state legislatures; passage requires ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures or passage in state-held constitutional conventions as specified by Congress; the US president has no role in the constitutional amendment process; amended many times, last in 1992
    (2018)

    Legal system:

    This entry provides the description of a country’s legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . . .
    more

    Legal system field listing

    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

    International law organization participation:

    This entry includes information on a country’s acceptance of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and of the International Criminal Court (ICCt); 59 countries have accepted ICJ jurisdiction with reservations and 11 have accepted ICJ jurisdiction without reservations; 122 countries have accepted ICCt jurisdiction. Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups explains the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt.

    International law organization participation field listing

    withdrew acceptance of compulsory ICJ jurisdiction in 2005; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002

    Citizenship:

    This entry provides information related to the acquisition and exercise of citizenship; it includes four subfields: citizenship by birth describes the acquisition of citizenship based on place of birth, known as Jus soli, regardless of the citizenship of parents. citizenship by descent only describes the acquisition of citizenship based on the principle of Jus sanguinis, or by descent, where at least one parent is a citizen of the state and being born within the territorial limits of the s . . .
    more

    Citizenship field listing

    citizenship by birth:
    yes

    citizenship by descent only:
    yes

    dual citizenship recognized:
    no, but the US government acknowledges such situtations exist; US citizens are not encouraged to seek dual citizenship since it limits protection by the US

    residency requirement for naturalization:
    5 years

    Suffrage:

    This entry gives the age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted.

    Suffrage field listing

    18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:

    This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a . . .
    more

    Executive branch field listing

    chief of state:
    President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017); note – the president is both chief of state and head of government

    head of government:
    President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)

    cabinet:
    Cabinet appointed by the president, approved by the Senate

    elections/appointments:
    president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by the Electoral College of ‘electors’ chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)

    election results:
    Donald J. TRUMP elected president; electoral vote – Donald J. TRUMP (Republican Party) 304, Hillary D. CLINTON (Democratic Party) 227, other 7; percent of direct popular vote – Hillary D. CLINTON 48.2%, Donald J. TRUMP 46.1%, other 5.7%

    Legislative branch:

    This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure (unicameral – single house; bicameral – an upper and a lower house); formal name(s); number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts (single seat, multi-seat, nationwide); electoral voting system(s); and member term of office. The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. The election results subfield lists percent of vote by party/coalition an . . .
    more

    Legislative branch field listing

    description:
    bicameral Congress consists of:
    Senate (100 seats; 2 members directly elected in each of the 50 state constituencies by simple majority vote except in Georgia and Louisiana which require an absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 6-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years)
    House of Representatives (435 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote except in Georgia which requires an absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 2-year terms)

    elections:

    Senate – last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)
    House of Representatives – last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)

    election results:

    Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Republican Party 53, Democratic Party 45, independent 2; composition – men 75, women 25, percent of women 25%
    House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Democratic Party 234, Republican Party 200, 1 seat still undecided; composition – men 328, women 106, percent of women 24.4%; note – total US Congress percent of women 24.5%

    note: in addition to the regular members of the House of Representatives there are 6 non-voting delegates elected from the District of Columbia and the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands; these are single seat constituencies directly elected by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term (except for the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico who serves a 4-year term); the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegates last held on 6 November 2018 (next to be held on 3 November 2020)

    Judicial branch:

    This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country’s highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j . . .
    more

    Judicial branch field listing

    highest courts:
    US Supreme Court (consists of 9 justices – the chief justice and 8 associate justices)

    judge selection and term of office:
    president nominates and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints Supreme Court justices; justices serve for life

    subordinate courts:
    Courts of Appeal (includes the US Court of Appeal for the Federal District and 12 regional appeals courts); 94 federal district courts in 50 states and territories

    note: the US court system consists of the federal court system and the state court systems; although each court system is responsible for hearing certain types of cases, neither is completely independent of the other, and the systems often interact

    Political parties and leaders:

    This entry includes a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists as of each country’s last legislative election, unless otherwise noted.

    Political parties and leaders field listing

    Democratic Party [Tom PEREZ]
    Green Party [collective leadership]
    Libertarian Party [Nicholas SARWARK]
    Republican Party [Ronna Romney MCDANIEL]

    International organization participation:

    This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.

    International organization participation field listing

    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, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

    Flag description:

    This entry provides a written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written. The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags.

    Flag description field listing

    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; 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

    National symbol(s):

    A national symbol is a faunal, floral, or other abstract representation – or some distinctive object – that over time has come to be closely identified with a country or entity. Not all countries have national symbols; a few countries have more than one.

    National symbol(s) field listing

    bald eagle; national colors: red, white, blue

    National anthem:

    A generally patriotic musical composition – usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise – that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country’s constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.

    National anthem field listing

    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

  • Economy :: United States

  • Economy – overview:

    This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.

    Economy - overview field listing

    The US has the most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $59,500. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers, pharmaceuticals, and medical, aerospace, and military equipment; however, their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. Based on a comparison of GDP measured at purchasing power parity conversion rates, the US economy in 2014, having stood as the largest in the world for more than a century, slipped into second place behind China, which has more than tripled the US growth rate for each year of the past four decades.

    In the US, 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, businesses face higher barriers to enter their rivals’ home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets.

    Long-term problems for the US include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, energy shortages, and sizable current account and budget deficits.

    The onrush of technology has been a driving factor in 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. But the globalization of trade, and especially the rise of low-wage producers such as China, has put additional downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on the return to capital. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income.

    Imported oil accounts for more than 50% of US consumption and oil has a major impact on the overall health of the economy. Crude oil prices doubled between 2001 and 2006, the year home prices peaked; higher gasoline prices ate into consumers’ budgets and many individuals fell behind in their mortgage payments. Oil prices climbed another 50% between 2006 and 2008, and bank foreclosures more than doubled in the same period. Besides dampening the housing market, soaring oil prices caused a drop in the value of the dollar and a deterioration in the US merchandise trade deficit, which peaked at $840 billion in 2008. Because the US economy is energy-intensive, falling oil prices since 2013 have alleviated many of the problems the earlier increases had created.

    The sub-prime mortgage crisis, falling home prices, investment bank failures, tight credit, and the global economic downturn pushed the US into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, 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 in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and industrial corporations, much of which had been returned to the government by early 2011. In January 2009, Congress passed and former 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. In 2010 and 2011, the federal budget deficit reached nearly 9% of GDP. In 2012, the Federal Government reduced the growth of spending and the deficit shrank to 7.6% of GDP. US revenues from taxes and other sources are lower, as a percentage of GDP, than those of most other countries.

    Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national resources from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the growth of the budget deficit and public debt. Through FY 2018, the direct costs of the wars will have totaled more than $1.9 trillion, according to US Government figures.

    In March 2010, former President OBAMA signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a health insurance reform that was designed to extend coverage to an additional 32 million Americans by 2016, through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. Total spending on healthcare – public plus private – rose from 9.0% of GDP in 1980 to 17.9% in 2010.

    In July 2010, the former president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a law 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.

    The Federal Reserve Board (Fed) announced plans in December 2012 to purchase $85 billion per month of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities in an effort to hold down long-term interest rates, and to keep short-term rates near zero until unemployment dropped below 6.5% or inflation rose above 2.5%. The Fed ended its purchases during the summer of 2014, after the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2%, inflation stood at 1.7%, and public debt fell below 74% of GDP. In December 2015, the Fed raised its target for the benchmark federal funds rate by 0.25%, the first increase since the recession began. With continued low growth, the Fed opted to raise rates several times since then, and in December 2017, the target rate stood at 1.5%.

    In December 2017, Congress passed and President Donald TRUMP signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which, among its various provisions, reduces the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%; lowers the individual tax rate for those with the highest incomes from 39.6% to 37%, and by lesser percentages for those at lower income levels; changes many deductions and credits used to calculate taxable income; and eliminates in 2019 the penalty imposed on taxpayers who do not obtain the minimum amount of health insurance required under the ACA. The new taxes took effect on 1 January 2018; the tax cut for corporations are permanent, but those for individuals are scheduled to expire after 2025. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) under the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new law will reduce tax revenues and increase the federal deficit by about $1.45 trillion over the 2018-2027 period. This amount would decline if economic growth were to exceed the JCT’s estimate.

    GDP (purchasing power parity):

    This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation’s GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measur . . .
    more

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing

    $19.49 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    $19.06 trillion

    (2016 est.)

    $18.77 trillion

    (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    GDP (official exchange rate):

    This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation’s GDP at official exchange rates (OER) is the home-currency-denominated annual GDP figure divided by the bilateral average US exchange rate with that country in that year. The measure is simple to compute and gives a precise measure of the value of output. Many economists prefer this measure when gauging the economic power an economy maintains vis- . . .
    more

    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing

    $19.49 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    GDP – real growth rate:

    This entry gives GDP growth on an annual basis adjusted for inflation and expressed as a percent. The growth rates are year-over-year, and not compounded.

    GDP - real growth rate field listing

    2.2%

    (2017 est.)

    1.6%

    (2016 est.)

    2.9%

    (2015 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    145

    GDP – per capita (PPP):

    This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year.

    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing

    $59,800

    (2017 est.)

    $58,900

    (2016 est.)

    $58,400

    (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world:

    19

    Gross national saving:

    Gross national saving is derived by deducting final consumption expenditure (household plus government) from Gross national disposable income, and consists of personal saving, plus business saving (the sum of the capital consumption allowance and retained business profits), plus government saving (the excess of tax revenues over expenditures), but excludes foreign saving (the excess of imports of goods and services over exports). The figures are presented as a percent of GDP. A negative . . .
    more

    Gross national saving field listing

    18.9% of GDP

    (2017 est.)

    18.6% of GDP

    (2016 est.)

    20.1% of GDP

    (2015 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    106

    GDP – composition, by end use:

    This entry shows who does the spending in an economy: consumers, businesses, government, and foreigners. The distribution gives the percentage contribution to total GDP of household consumption, government consumption, investment in fixed capital, investment in inventories, exports of goods and services, and imports of goods and services, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. household consumption consists of expenditures by resident households, and by nonprofit insti . . .
    more

    GDP - composition, by end use field listing

    household consumption:
    68.4%

    (2017 est.)

    government consumption:
    17.3%

    (2017 est.)

    investment in fixed capital:
    17.2%

    (2017 est.)

    investment in inventories:
    0.1%

    (2017 est.)

    exports of goods and services:
    12.1%

    (2017 est.)

    imports of goods and services:
    -15%

    (2017 est.)

    GDP – composition, by sector of origin:

    This entry shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not prod . . .
    more

    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing

    agriculture:
    0.9%

    (2017 est.)

    industry:
    19.1%

    (2017 est.)

    services:
    80%

    (2017 est.)

    Agriculture – products:

    This entry is an ordered listing of major crops and products starting with the most important.

    Agriculture - products field listing

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

    Industries:

    This entry provides a rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output.

    Industries field listing

    highly diversified, world leading, high-technology innovator, second-largest industrial output in the world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining

    2.3%

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    122

    Labor force:

    This entry contains the total labor force figure.

    Labor force field listing

    160.4 million

    (2017 est.)

    note: includes unemployed

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Labor force – by occupation:

    This entry lists the percentage distribution of the labor force by sector of occupation. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other economic activities that do not produce material goods. The distribution will total less than 100 percent if the data are incomplete and may range from 99-101 percent due to rounding.
    more

    Labor force - by occupation field listing

    agriculture:
    0.7%

    (2009)

    industry:
    20.3%

    (2009)

    services:
    37.3%

    (2009)

    industry and services:
    24.2%

    (2009)

    manufacturing:
    17.6%

    (2009)

    farming, forestry, and fishing:
    0.7%

    (2009)

    manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts:
    20.3%

    (2009)

    managerial, professional, and technical:
    37.3%

    (2009)

    sales and office:
    24.2%

    (2009)

    other services:
    17.6%

    (2009)

    note: figures exclude the unemployed

    Unemployment rate:

    This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs. Substantial underemployment might be noted.

    Unemployment rate field listing

    4.4%

    (2017 est.)

    4.9%

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    62

    Population below poverty line:

    National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.

    Population below poverty line field listing

    Distribution of family income – Gini index:

    This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest. The index is the ratio of (a) the area between a country’s Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to (b) the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country’s income distribution, the closer its . . .
    more

    Distribution of family income - Gini index field listing

    45

    (2007)

    40.8

    (1997)

    country comparison to the world:

    41

    Budget:

    This entry includes revenues, expenditures, and capital expenditures. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

    Budget field listing

    revenues:
    3.315 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    expenditures:
    3.981 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    note: revenues exclude social contributions of approximately $1.0 trillion; expenditures exclude social benefits of approximately $2.3 trillion

    Taxes and other revenues:

    This entry records total taxes and other revenues received by the national government during the time period indicated, expressed as a percent of GDP. Taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Other revenues include social contributions – such as payments for social security and hospital insurance – grants, and net revenues from public enterprises. Normalizing the data, by dividing total revenues by GDP, enables easy comparisons acr . . .
    more

    Taxes and other revenues field listing

    17% (of GDP)

    (2017 est.)

    note: excludes contributions for social security and other programs; if social contributions were added, taxes and other revenues would amount to approximately 22% of GDP

    country comparison to the world:

    172

    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

    This entry records the difference between national government revenues and expenditures, expressed as a percent of GDP. A positive (+) number indicates that revenues exceeded expenditures (a budget surplus), while a negative (-) number indicates the reverse (a budget deficit). Normalizing the data, by dividing the budget balance by GDP, enables easy comparisons across countries and indicates whether a national government saves or borrows money. Countries with high budget deficits (relat . . .
    more

    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing

    -3.4% (of GDP)

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    145

    Public debt:

    This entry records the cumulative total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country’s home currency. Public debt should not be confused with external debt, which reflects the foreign currency liabilities of both the private and public sector and must be financed out of foreign exchange earnings.

    Public debt field listing

    78.8% of GDP

    (2017 est.)

    81.2% of GDP

    (2016 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 intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of Treasury borrowings from surpluses in the trusts for Federal Social Security, Federal Employees, Hospital and Supplemental Medical Insurance (Medicare), Disability and Unemployment, and several other smaller trusts; if data for intragovernment debt were added, “gross debt” would increase by about one-third of GDP

    country comparison to the world:

    36

    Fiscal year:

    This entry identifies the beginning and ending months for a country’s accounting period of 12 months, which often is the calendar year but which may begin in any month. All yearly references are for the calendar year (CY) unless indicated as a noncalendar fiscal year (FY).

    Fiscal year field listing

    2.1%

    (2017 est.)

    1.3%

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    110

    Central bank discount rate:

    This entry provides the annualized interest rate a country’s central bank charges commercial, depository banks for loans to meet temporary shortages of funds.

    Central bank discount rate field listing

    0.5%

    (31 December 2010)

    0.5%

    (31 December 2009)

    country comparison to the world:

    137

    Commercial bank prime lending rate:

    This entry provides a simple average of annualized interest rates commercial banks charge on new loans, denominated in the national currency, to their most credit-worthy customers.

    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing

    4.1%

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    3.51%

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    165

    Stock of narrow money:

    This entry, also known as “M1,” comprises the total quantity of currency in circulation (notes and coins) plus demand deposits denominated in the national currency held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy, measured at a specific point in time. National currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate for the date of the information. Because of exchange rate moveme . . .
    more

    Stock of narrow money field listing

    $3.512 trillion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $3.251 trillion

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Stock of broad money:

    This entry covers all of “Narrow money,” plus the total quantity of time and savings deposits, credit union deposits, institutional money market funds, short-term repurchase agreements between the central bank and commercial deposit banks, and other large liquid assets held by nonbank financial institutions, state and local governments, nonfinancial public enterprises, and the private sector of the economy. National currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange r . . .
    more

    Stock of broad money field listing

    $3.512 trillion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $3.251 trillion

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Stock of domestic credit:

    This entry is the total quantity of credit, denominated in the domestic currency, provided by financial institutions to the central bank, state and local governments, public non-financial corporations, and the private sector. The national currency units have been converted to US dollars at the closing exchange rate on the date of the information.

    Stock of domestic credit field listing

    $21.59 trillion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $20.24 trillion

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Current account balance:

    This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

    Current account balance field listing

    -$449.1 billion

    (2017 est.)

    -$432.9 billion

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    206

    Exports:

    This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise exports on an f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

    Exports field listing

    $1.553 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    $1.456 trillion

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Exports – partners:

    This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.

    Exports - partners field listing

    Canada 18.3%, Mexico 15.7%, China 8.4%, Japan 4.4%
    (2017)

    Exports – commodities:

    This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued exported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.

    Exports - commodities field listing

    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%
    (2008 est.)

    Imports:

    This entry provides the total US dollar amount of merchandise imports on a c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight) or f.o.b. (free on board) basis. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

    Imports field listing

    $2.361 trillion

    (2017 est.)

    $2.208 trillion

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Imports – commodities:

    This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued imported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.

    Imports - commodities field listing

    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)
    (2008 est.)

    Imports – partners:

    This entry provides a rank ordering of trading partners starting with the most important; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.

    Imports - partners field listing

    China 21.6%, Mexico 13.4%, Canada 12.8%, Japan 5.8%, Germany 5%
    (2017)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

    This entry gives the dollar value for the stock of all financial assets that are available to the central monetary authority for use in meeting a country’s balance of payments needs as of the end-date of the period specified. This category includes not only foreign currency and gold, but also a country’s holdings of Special Drawing Rights in the International Monetary Fund, and its reserve position in the Fund.

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing

    $123.3 billion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $117.6 billion

    (31 December 2015 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    20

    Debt – external:

    This entry gives the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in internationally accepted currencies, goods, or services. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

    Debt - external field listing

    $17.91 trillion

    (31 March 2016 est.)

    $17.85 trillion

    (31 March 2015 est.)

    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

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:

    This entry gives the cumulative US dollar value of all investments in the home country made directly by residents – primarily companies – of other countries as of the end of the time period indicated. Direct investment excludes investment through purchase of shares.

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing

    $4.08 trillion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $3.614 trillion

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:

    This entry gives the cumulative US dollar value of all investments in foreign countries made directly by residents – primarily companies – of the home country, as of the end of the time period indicated. Direct investment excludes investment through purchase of shares.

    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad field listing

    $5.711 trillion

    (31 December 2017 est.)

    $5.352 trillion

    (31 December 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Exchange rates:

    This entry provides the average annual price of a country’s monetary unit for the time period specified, expressed in units of local currency per US dollar, as determined by international market forces or by official fiat. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 4217 alphabetic currency code for the national medium of exchange is presented in parenthesis. Closing daily exchange rates are not presented in The World Factbook, but are used to convert stock values – e.g., the . . .
    more

    Exchange rates field listing

    British pounds per US dollar: 0.7836 (2017 est.), 0.738 (2016 est.), 0.738 (2015 est.), 0.607 (2014 est), 0.6391 (2013 est.)
    Canadian dollars per US dollar: 1, 1.308 (2017 est.), 1.3256 (2016 est.), 1.3256 (2015 est.), 1.2788 (2014 est.), 1.0298 (2013 est.)
    Chinese yuan per US dollar: 1, 6.7588 (2017 est.), 6.6445 (2016 est.), 6.2275 (2015 est.), 6.1434 (2014 est.), 6.1958 (2013 est.)
    euros per US dollar: 0.885 (2017 est.), 0.903 (2016 est.), 0.9214(2015 est.), 0.885 (2014 est.), 0.7634 (2013 est.)
    Japanese yen per US dollar: 111.10 (2017 est.), 108.76 (2016 est.), 108.76 (2015 est.), 121.02 (2014 est.), 97.44 (2013 est.)

  • Energy :: United States

  • Electricity access:

    This entry provides information on access to electricity. Electrification data – collected from industry reports, national surveys, and international sources – consists of four subfields. Population without electricity provides an estimate of the number of citizens that do not have access to electricity. Electrification – total population is the percent of a country’s total population with access to electricity, electrification – urban areas is the percent of a country’s urban population w . . .
    more

    Electricity access field listing

    electrification – total population:
    100%

    (2016)

    Electricity – production:

    This entry is the annual electricity generated expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution.

    Electricity - production field listing

    4.095 trillion kWh

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Electricity – consumption:

    This entry consists of total electricity generated annually plus imports and minus exports, expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution.

    Electricity - consumption field listing

    3.902 trillion kWh

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    9.695 billion kWh

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    22

    72.72 billion kWh

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Electricity – installed generating capacity:

    This entry is the total capacity of currently installed generators, expressed in kilowatts (kW), to produce electricity. A 10-kilowatt (kW) generator will produce 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, if it runs continuously for one hour.

    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing

    1.087 billion kW

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Electricity – from fossil fuels:

    This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by burning fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum products, and natural gas), expressed as a share of the country’s total generating capacity.

    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing

    70% of total installed capacity

    (2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    111

    Electricity – from nuclear fuels:

    This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity through radioactive decay of nuclear fuel, expressed as a share of the country’s total generating capacity.

    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing

    9% of total installed capacity

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    18

    Electricity – from hydroelectric plants:

    This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by water-driven turbines, expressed as a share of the country’s total generating capacity.

    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing

    7% of total installed capacity

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    128

    Electricity – from other renewable sources:

    This entry measures the capacity of plants that generate electricity by using renewable energy sources other than hydroelectric (including, for example, wind, waves, solar, and geothermal), expressed as a share of the country’s total generating capacity.

    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing

    14% of total installed capacity

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    65

    9.352 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Crude oil – exports:

    This entry is the total amount of crude oil exported, in barrels per day (bbl/day).

    Crude oil - exports field listing

    1.158 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    12

    Crude oil – imports:

    This entry is the total amount of crude oil imported, in barrels per day (bbl/day).

    Crude oil - imports field listing

    7.969 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Crude oil – proved reserves:

    This entry is the stock of proved reserves of crude oil, in barrels (bbl). Proved reserves are those quantities of petroleum which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions.

    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing

    NA bbl
    (1 January 2018 est.)

    Refined petroleum products – production:

    This entry is the country’s total output of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.

    Refined petroleum products - production field listing

    20.3 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Refined petroleum products – consumption:

    This entry is the country’s total consumption of refined petroleum products, in barrels per day (bbl/day). The discrepancy between the amount of refined petroleum products produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.

    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing

    19.96 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    5.218 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    2.175 million bbl/day

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Natural gas – production:

    This entry is the total natural gas produced in cubic meters (cu m). The discrepancy between the amount of natural gas produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes and other complicating factors.

    Natural gas - production field listing

    772.8 billion cu m

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Natural gas – consumption:

    This entry is the total natural gas consumed in cubic meters (cu m). The discrepancy between the amount of natural gas produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes and other complicating factors.

    Natural gas - consumption field listing

    767.6 billion cu m

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    89.7 billion cu m

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    4

    86.15 billion cu m

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    4

    Natural gas – proved reserves:

    This entry is the stock of proved reserves of natural gas in cubic meters (cu m). Proved reserves are those quantities of natural gas, which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions.

    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing

    0 cu m

    (1 January 2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    203

    5.242 billion Mt

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

  • Communications :: United States

  • Telephones – fixed lines:

    This entry gives the total number of fixed telephone lines in use, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

    Telephones - fixed lines field listing

    total subscriptions:
    119.902 million

    (2017 est.)

    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:
    37

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Telephones – mobile cellular:

    This entry gives the total number of mobile cellular telephone subscribers, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Note that because of the ubiquity of mobile phone use in developed countries, the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants can exceed 100.

    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing

    total subscriptions:
    395.881 million

    (2017 est.)

    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:
    121

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    4

    Telephone system:

    This entry includes a brief general assessment of the system with details on the domestic and international components. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Arabsat – Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia). Autodin – Automatic Digital Network (US Department of Defense). CB – citizen’s band mobile radio communications. Cellular telephone system – the telephones in this system are radio transceivers, with each instrument having its o . . .
    more

    Telephone system field listing

    general assessment:
    a large, technologically advanced, multipurpose communications system; mobile subscriber penetration rate of about 127%; 5G technologies and commercial services into 2019 and 2020; developing technologies based on 5G for non-commercial customers as well; FttP rather than FttN efforts

    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; fixed-line 27 per 100 and mobile-cellular 121 per 100

    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)

    Internet country code:

    This entry includes the two-letter codes maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the ISO 3166 Alpha-2 list and used by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to establish country-coded top-level domains (ccTLDs).

    Internet country code field listing

    Internet users:

    This entry gives the total number of individuals within a country who can access the Internet at home, via any device type (computer or mobile) and connection. The percent of population with Internet access (i.e., the penetration rate) helps gauge how widespread Internet use is within a country. Statistics vary from country to country and may include users who access the Internet at least several times a week to those who access it only once within a period of several months.

    Internet users field listing

    total:
    246,809,221

    (July 2016 est.)

    percent of population:
    76.2%

    (July 2016 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    3

    Broadband – fixed subscriptions:

    This entry gives the total number of fixed-broadband subscriptions, as well as the number of subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Fixed broadband is a physical wired connection to the Internet (e.g., coaxial cable, optical fiber) at speeds equal to or greater than 256 kilobits/second (256 kbit/s).

    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing

    total:
    109.838 million

    (2017 est.)

    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:
    34

    (2017 est.)

    country comparison to the world:

    2

    Communications – note:

    This entry includes miscellaneous communications information of significance not included elsewhere.

    Communications - note field listing

    note 1:

    The Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA, claims to be the largest library in the world with more than 167 million items (as of 2018); its collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include materials from all parts of the world and in over 450 languages; collections include: books, newspapers, magazines, sheet music, sound and video recordings, photographic images, artwork, architectural drawings, and copyright data

    note 2: Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system (the others are on Ascension (Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tistan da Cunha), Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory), and at Kwajalein (Marshall Islands)

  • Transportation :: United States

  • National air transport system:

    This entry includes four subfields describing the air transport system of a given country in terms of both structure and performance. The first subfield, number of registered air carriers, indicates the total number of air carriers registered with the country’s national aviation authority and issued an air operator certificate as required by the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The second subfield, inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers, lists the total number . . .
    more

    National air transport system field listing

    number of registered air carriers:
    92

    (2015)

    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers:
    6,817

    (2015)

    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers:
    798.23 million

    (2015)

    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers:
    37.219 billion
    mt-km
    (2015)

    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

    This entry provides the one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating the nationality of civil aircraft. Article 20 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), signed in 1944, requires that all aircraft engaged in international air navigation bear appropriate nationality marks. The aircraft registration number consists of two parts: a prefix consisting of a one- or two-character alphanumeric code indicating nationality and a registration suffix of one to fi . . .
    more

    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing

    Airports:

    This entry gives the total number of airports or airfields recognizable from the air. The runway(s) may be paved (concrete or asphalt surfaces) or unpaved (grass, earth, sand, or gravel surfaces) and may include closed or abandoned installations. Airports or airfields that are no longer recognizable (overgrown, no facilities, etc.) are not included. Note that not all airports have accommodations for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control.

    Airports field listing

    13,513

    (2013)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Airports – with paved runways:

    This entry gives the total number of airports with paved runways (concrete or asphalt surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups – (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listing. Not all . . .
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    Airports - with paved runways field listing

    total:
    5,054

    (2013)

    over 3,047 m:
    189

    (2013)

    2,438 to 3,047 m:
    235

    (2013)

    1,524 to 2,437 m:
    1,478

    (2013)

    914 to 1,523 m:
    2,249

    (2013)

    under 914 m:
    903

    (2013)

    Airports – with unpaved runways:

    This entry gives the total number of airports with unpaved runways (grass, dirt, sand, or gravel surfaces) by length. For airports with more than one runway, only the longest runway is included according to the following five groups – (1) over 3,047 m (over 10,000 ft), (2) 2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft), (3) 1,524 to 2,437 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft), (4) 914 to 1,523 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft), and (5) under 914 m (under 3,000 ft). Only airports with usable runways are included in this listin . . .
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    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing

    total:
    8,459

    (2013)

    over 3,047 m:
    1

    (2013)

    2,438 to 3,047 m:
    6

    (2013)

    1,524 to 2,437 m:
    140

    (2013)

    914 to 1,523 m:
    1,552

    (2013)

    under 914 m:
    6,760

    (2013)

    Heliports:

    This entry gives the total number of heliports with hard-surface runways, helipads, or landing areas that support routine sustained helicopter operations exclusively and have support facilities including one or more of the following facilities: lighting, fuel, passenger handling, or maintenance. It includes former airports used exclusively for helicopter operations but excludes heliports limited to day operations and natural clearings that could support helicopter landings and takeoffs.

    Heliports field listing

    Pipelines:

    This entry gives the lengths and types of pipelines for transporting products like natural gas, crude oil, or petroleum products.

    Pipelines field listing

    1984321 km natural gas, 240711 km petroleum products
    (2013)

    Railways:

    This entry states the total route length of the railway network and of its component parts by gauge, which is the measure of the distance between the inner sides of the load-bearing rails. The four typical types of gauges are: broad, standard, narrow, and dual. Other gauges are listed under note. Some 60% of the world’s railways use the standard gauge of 1.4 m (4.7 ft). Gauges vary by country and sometimes within countries. The choice of gauge during initial construction was mainly in resp . . .
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    Railways field listing

    total:
    293,564 km

    (2014)

    standard gauge:
    293,564.2 km
    1.435-m gauge
    (2014)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Roadways:

    This entry gives the total length of the road network and includes the length of the paved and unpaved portions.

    Roadways field listing

    total:
    6,586,610 km

    (2012)

    paved:
    4,304,715 km
    (includes 76,334 km of expressways)
    (2012)

    unpaved:
    2,281,895 km

    (2012)

    country comparison to the world:

    1

    Waterways:

    This entry gives the total length of navigable rivers, canals, and other inland bodies of water.

    Waterways field listing

    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)
    (2012)

    country comparison to the world:

    5

    Merchant marine:

    Merchant marine may be defined as all ships engaged in the carriage of goods; or all commercial vessels (as opposed to all nonmilitary ships), which excludes tugs, fishing vessels, offshore oil rigs, etc. This entry contains information in four subfields – total, ships by type, foreign-owned, and registered in other countries. Total includes the number of ships (1,000 GRT or over), total DWT for those ships, and total GRT for those ships. DWT or dead weight tonnage is the total weight of c . . .
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    Merchant marine field listing

    total:
    3,692

    by type:
    bulk carrier 5, container ship 61, general cargo 115, oil tanker 71, other 3440
    (2018)

    country comparison to the world:

    5

    Ports and terminals:

    This entry lists major ports and terminals primarily on the basis of the amount of cargo tonnage shipped through the facilities on an annual basis. In some instances, the number of containers handled or ship visits were also considered. Most ports service multiple classes of vessels including bulk carriers (dry and liquid), break bulk cargoes (goods loaded individually in bags, boxes, crates, or drums; sometimes palletized), containers, roll-on/roll-off, and passenger ships. The listing le . . .
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    Ports and terminals field listing

    oil terminal(s):
    LOOP terminal, Haymark terminal

    container port(s) (TEUs):
    Charleston (1,996,282), Hampton Roads (2,655,705), Houston (2,174,000), Long Beach (6,775,171), Los Angeles (8,856,783), New York/New Jersey (6,251,953), Oakland (2,370,000), Savannah (3,737,521), Seattle (3,615,752)
    (2016)

    LNG terminal(s) (export):
    Kenai (AK)

    LNG terminal(s) (import):
    Cove Point (MD), Elba Island (GA), Everett (MA), Freeport (TX), Golden Pass (TX), Hackberry (LA), Lake Charles (LA), Neptune (offshore), Northeast Gateway (offshore), Pascagoula (MS), Sabine Pass (TX)

    cargo ports:
    Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Hampton Roads, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines (LA), Tampa, Texas City

    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)

  • Military and Security :: United States

  • Military expenditures:

    This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.

    Military expenditures field listing

    3.29% of GDP

    (2016)

    3.3% of GDP

    (2015)

    3.51% of GDP

    (2014)

    3.83% of GDP

    (2013)

    4.24% of GDP

    (2012)

    country comparison to the world:

    24

    Military branches:

    This entry lists the service branches subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces).

    Military branches field listing

    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
    (2017)

    18 years of age (17 years of age with parental consent) for male and female voluntary service; no conscription; maximum enlistment age 42 (Army), 27 (Air Force), 34 (Navy), 28 (Marines); 8-year service obligation, including 2-5 years active duty (Army), 2 years active (Navy), 4 years active (Air Force, Marines); all military occupations and positions open to women
    (2016)

  • Transnational Issues :: United States

  • Disputes – international:

    This entry includes a wide variety of situations that range from traditional bilateral boundary disputes to unilateral claims of one sort or another. Information regarding disputes over international terrestrial and maritime boundaries has been reviewed by the US Department of State. References to other situations involving borders or frontiers may also be included, such as resource disputes, geopolitical questions, or irredentist issues; however, inclusion does not necessarily constitute . . .
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    Disputes - international field listing

    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

    Refugees and internally displaced persons:

    This entry includes those persons residing in a country as refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), or stateless persons. Each country’s refugee entry includes only countries of origin that are the source of refugee populations of 5,000 or more. The definition of a refugee according to a UN Convention is “a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a . . .
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    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing

    refugees (country of origin):
    the US admitted 22,491 refugees during FY2018 including: 7,878 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 3,444 (Burma), 2,635 (Ukraine), 2,228 (Bangladesh), 1,269 (Eritrea)

    note: 72,722 Venezuelans have claimed asylum since 2014 because of the economic and political crisis (2018)

    Illicit drugs:

    This entry gives information on the five categories of illicit drugs – narcotics, stimulants, depressants (sedatives), hallucinogens, and cannabis. These categories include many drugs legally produced and prescribed by doctors as well as those illegally produced and sold outside of medical channels.

    Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the common hemp plant, which provides hallucinogens with some sedative properties, and includes marijuana (pot, Acapulco gold, grass, reefer), tetrahydroca . . .
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    Illicit drugs field listing

    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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