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While the U. The United States often opposed Third World movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored, and occasionally pursued direct action for regime change against left-wing governments, even supporting right-wing authoritarian governments at times. At home, the U. Construction of an Interstate Highway System transformed the nation's infrastructure over the following decades. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments.
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A combination of court decisions and legislation, culminating in the Civil Rights Act ofsought to end racial discrimination. The launch of a " War on Poverty " expanded entitlements and welfare spending, including the creation of Medicare and Medicai two programs that provide health coverage to the elderly and poor, respectively, and the means-tested Food Stamp Program and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
The s and early s saw the onset of stagflation. After his election inPresident Ronald Reagan responded to economic stagnation with free-market oriented reforms. The concept of Pax Americanawhich had appeared in the post-World War II period, gained wide popularity as a term for the post-Cold War new world order.
Fearing the instability would spread to other regions, President George H. Bush launched Operation Desert Shiel a defensive force buildup in Saudi Arabia, and Operation Desert Stormin a staging titled the Gulf War; waged by coalition forces from 34 nations, led by the United States against Iraq ending in the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and restoration of the monarchy.
Originating within U. Government policy designed to promote affordable housing, widespread failures in corporate and regulatory governance, and historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve led to the mids housing bubblewhich culminated with the financial crisisthe nation's largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Inthe Obama administration passed the Affordable Care Actwhich made the most sweeping reforms to the nation's healthcare system in nearly five decades, including mandatessubsidies and insurance exchanges.
American forces in Iraq were withdrawn in large numbers in an and the war in the region was declared formally over in December The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia occupy a combined area of 3, Of this area, 2, The United States is the world's third- or fourth- largest nation by total area land and waterranking behind Russia and Canada and nearly equal to China.
The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted, and how the total size of the United States is measured. The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.
The supervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent's largest volcanic feature.
The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the th meridianthe climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. Much of the Western mountains have an alpine climate.
The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal Californiaand oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Hawaii and the southern tip of Florida are tropicalas well as its territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific. There are 62 national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas.
Environmental issues include debates on oil and nuclear energydealing with air and water pollution, the economic costs of protecting wildlife, logging and deforestationand international responses to global warming.
Census Bureau officially estimated the country's population to beas of July 1, Population Clock that approximates the latest population of the 50 states and District of Columbia based on the Bureau's most recent demographic trends. The United States is the third most populous nation in the world, after China and India. In the median age of the United States population was Inthere were almost 90 million immigrants and U. White Americans mostly European ancestry are the largest racial group at Inout of the U.
Until an the United States led the word in refugee resettlement for decades, admitted more refugees than the rest of the world combined. A Gallup poll concluded that 4. A United Nations report projected that the U. Census Bureau report projected the population of the country could be anywhere between million and million bydepending on the rate of in-migration; in all projected scenarios, a lower fertility rate and increases in life expectancy would result in an aging population.
The population growth of Hispanic and Latino Americans is a major demographic trend. The The United States has an annual birth rate of 13 per 1, which is five births per 1, below the world average.
Many metros in the South, Southwest and West grew significantly between and The Dallas and Houston metros increased by more than a million people, while the Washington, D. English specifically, American English is the de facto national language of the United States.
Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws-such as U. Spanish is also the most widely taught second language. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii. Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan is officially recognized by American Samoa and Chamorro is an official language of Guam.
The most widely taught foreign languages in the United States, in terms of enrollment numbers from kindergarten through university undergraduate educationare Spanish around 7. Religion in the United States. The First Amendment of the U. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids Congress from passing laws respecting its establishment. In a survey, Protestantism is the largest Christian religious grouping in the United States, accounting for almost half of all Americans.
Baptists collectively form the largest branch of Protestantism at As with other Western countries, the U. Irreligion is growing rapidly among Americans under The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the Southern United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.
By contrast, religion plays the least important role in New England and in the Western United States. Abortion rates, currently per 1, live births and 15 per 1, women age are falling but remain higher than most Western nations. The total fertility rate in was Polygamy is illegal throughout the U. The United States had a life expectancy of The recent decline, primarily among the age group 25 to 64, is largely due to sharp increases in the drug overdose and suicide rates; the country has one of the highest suicide rates among wealthy countries.
Increasing obesity in the United States and health improvements elsewhere contributed to lowering the country's rank in life expectancy from 11th in the world into 42nd inand as of the country had the lowest life expectancy among Japan, Canada, Australia, the UK, and seven countries of western Europe. Incoronary artery diseaselung cancerstrokechronic obstructive pulmonary diseasesand traffic accidents caused the most years of life lost in the U.
Low back paindepressionmusculoskeletal disordersneck painand anxiety caused the most years lost to disability. The most harmful risk factors were poor diet, tobacco smokingobesity, high blood pressurehigh blood sugarphysical inactivityand alcohol use.
Alzheimer's diseasedrug abuse, kidney diseasecancer, and falls caused the most additional years of life lost over their age-adjusted per-capita rates. Health-care coverage in the United States is a combination of public and private efforts and is not universal. In American public education is operated by state and local governments, regulated by the United States Department of Education through restrictions on federal grants. In most states, children are required to attend school from the age of six or seven generally, kindergarten or first grade until they turn 18 generally bringing them through twelfth gradethe end of high school ; some states allow students to leave school at 16 or Of Americans 25 and older, The United States has many private and public institutions of higher education.
The majority of the world's top universities, as listed by various ranking organizations, are in the U.
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InU21a network of research-intensive universities, ranked the United States first in the world for breadth and quality of higher education, and 15th when GDP was a factor. The United States is a federal republic of 50 statesa federal districtfive territories and several uninhabited island possessions. It is a federal republic and a representative democracy"in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law. In the American federalist systemcitizens are usually subject to three levels of government : federal, state, and local.
The local government 's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district.
The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. Article One protects the right to the "great writ" of habeas corpus. The Constitution has been amended 27 times; the first ten amendments, which make up the Bill of Rightsand the Fourteenth Amendment form the central basis of Americans' individual rights.
All laws and governmental procedures are subject to judicial review and any law ruled by the courts to be in violation of the Constitution is voided.
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The principle of judicial review, not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was established by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison in a decision handed down by Chief Justice John Marshall. The House of Representatives has voting members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term.
House seats are apportioned among the states by population. Each state then draws single-member districts to conform with the census apportionment. The District of Columbia and the five major U.
The Senate has members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one-third of Senate seats are up for election every two years. The president is not elected by direct votebut by an indirect electoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned to the states and the District of Columbia.
The state governments are structured in a roughly similar fashion, though Nebraska has a unicameral legislature. Some state judges and cabinet officers are appointed by the governors of the respective states, while others are elected by popular vote.
The 50 states are the principal administrative divisions in the country. These are subdivided into counties or county equivalents and further divided into municipalities.
Each state has presidential electors equal to the number of their representatives and senators in Congress; the District of Columbia has three because of the 23rd Amendment. The United States also observes tribal sovereignty of the American Indian nations to a limited degree, as it does with the states' sovereignty. American Indians are U. Congress and the federal courts. Like the states they have a great deal of autonomy, but also like the states, tribes are not allowed to make war, engage in their own foreign relations, or print and issue currency.
Citizenship is granted at birth in all states, the District of Columbia, and all major U. The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. Since the general election ofthe major parties have been the Democratic Partyfounded inand the Republican Partyfounded in The president and vice president are elected by the Electoral College.
In American political culturethe center-right Republican Party is considered " conservative " and the center-left Democratic Party is considered " liberal.
The " red states " of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative. Republican Donald Trumpthe winner of the presidential electionis serving as the 45th president of the United States.
The Senate consists of 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats; the House consists of Democrats, Republicans, and 1 Libertarian. Among the D.
The United States has an established structure of foreign relations. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.
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Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. Colombia is traditionally considered by the United States as its most loyal ally in South America. Taxation in the United States is levied at the federal, state, and local government levels. This includes taxes on income, payroll, property, sales, imports, estates, and gifts, as well as various fees.
Taxation in the United States is based on citizenship, not residency. The United States is one of the only countries in the world to do so. In taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to The president is the commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces and appoints its leaders, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Inthe armed forces had 1. The Reserves and National Guard brought the total number of troops to 2.
The Department of Defense also employed aboutcivilians, not including contractors. Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System.
The military operates bases and facilities abroad, and maintains deployments greater than active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the second largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. Law enforcement in the United States is primarily the responsibility of local police departments and sheriff 's offices, with state police providing broader services. Marshals Service have specialized duties, including protecting civil rightsnational security and enforcing U.
A cross-sectional analysis of the World Health Organization Mortality Database from showed that United States "homicide rates were 7.
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The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate and largest prison population in the world. Capital punishment is sanctioned in the United States for certain federal and military crimes, and at the state level in 30 states. Supreme Court ruling striking down arbitrary imposition of the death penalty.
Since the decision there have been more than 1, executions, a majority of these taking place in three states: Texas, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Inthe country had the sixth-highest number of executions in the world, following China, IranSaudi ArabiaIraqand Egypt. According to the International Monetary Fun the U. Inthe total U.
From toU. Inthe private sector was estimated to constitute With The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with It has a smaller welfare state and redistributes less income through government action than most European nations. The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation and is one of a few countries in the world without paid family leave as a legal right.
It was fourth in productivity per hour, behind those two countries and the Netherlands. The United States has been a leader in technological innovation since the late 19th century and scientific research since the midth century. Methods for producing interchangeable parts were developed by the U. War Department by the Federal Armories during the first half of the 19th century.
This technology, along with the establishment of a machine tool industry, enabled the U. Factory electrification in the early 20th century and introduction of the assembly line and other labor-saving techniques created the system of mass production.
InAlexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U. Thomas Edison 's research laboratoryone of the first of its kind, developed the phonographthe first long-lasting light bulband the first viable movie camera.
In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothersinmade the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight. The invention of the transistor in the s, a key active component in practically all modern electronicsled to many technological developments and a significant expansion of the U.
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Accounting for 4. This is largely because at-risk workers get almost no government support and are further set back by a very weak collective bargaining system. After years of stagnation, median household income reached a record high in following two consecutive years of record growth. Income inequality remains at record highs however, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all overall income. Between June and Novemberthe global recession led to falling asset prices around the world.
Assets owned by Americans lost about a quarter of their value. There were aboutsheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the US in Januarywith almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. The civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated sincewhile most major airports are publicly owned. The United States energy market is about 29, terawatt hours per year.
The remainder was supplied by nuclear and renewable energy sources. Sincethe total greenhouse gas emissions by the United States are the second highest by country, exceeded only by China. The United States is home to many cultures and a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Americans have traditionally been characterized by a strong work ethiccompetitiveness, and individualism, as well as a unifying belief in an " American creed " emphasizing liberty, equality, private property, democracy, rule of law, and a preference for limited government.
According to a British study, Americans gave 1. The American Dreamor the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobilityplays a key role in attracting immigrants. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, American art and literature took most of its cues from Europe.
Mark Twain and poet Walt Whitman were major figures in the century's second half; Emily Dickinsonvirtually unknown during her lifetime, is now recognized as an essential American poet. Twelve U. William FaulknerErnest Hemingway and John Steinbeck are often named among the most influential writers of the 20th century. The transcendentalistsled by Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emersonestablished the first major American philosophical movement.
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In the 20th century, the work of W. Quine and Richard Rortyand later Noam Chomskybrought analytic philosophy to the fore of American philosophical academia. John Rawls and Robert Nozick also led a revival of political philosophy. In the visual arts, the Hudson River School was a midth-century movement in the tradition of European naturalism.
Major artistic movements such as the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein developed largely in the United States.
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Mainstream American cuisine is similar to that in other Western countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain with about three-quarters of grain products made of wheat flour and many dishes use indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup which were consumed by Native Americans and early European settlers. The American fast food industry, the world's largest, pioneered the drive-through format in the s.
French fries, Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are widely consumed. Although little known at the time, Charles Ives 's work of the s established him as the first major U. Aaron Copland and George Gershwin developed a new synthesis of popular and classical music. The rhythmic and lyrical styles of African-American music have deeply influenced American music at large, distinguishing it from European and African traditions.
Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and what is now known as old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences.
Jazz was developed by innovators such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington early in the 20th century. Country music developed in the s, and rhythm and blues in the s.
Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were among the mids pioneers of rock and roll. Rock bands such as Metallicathe Eaglesand Aerosmith are among the highest grossing in worldwide sales.
More recent American creations include hip hop and house music. Hollywoo a northern district of Los AngelesCalifornia, is one of the leaders in motion picture production. Director D. Discover romance, adventure, and most importantly, fun with an online dating site that suits your needs - sign up to SilverSingles today! The reason why SilverSingles is one of the best dating sites for over 50s is because we think about compatibility first. All our members take our in-depth personality test so that we can get to know them better.
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