United States of America

Stretching across the most temperate part of North America, and with many natural resources, the US is the world’s leading economic power and third-largest country.


Geography:

The US has a varied topography. 

Forested mountains stretch from New England in the far northeast, giving way to lowlands and swamps in the extreme south. 

The central plains are dominated by the Mississippi–Missouri River system and the Great Lakes on the Canadian border. 

The Rocky Mountains in the west contain active volcanoes and drop to the coast across the earthquake-prone San Andreas Fault. 

The southwest is arid desert. 

Mountainous Alaska is mostly Arctic tundra.

Climate:

There are four main climatic zones. 

The north and east are continental and temperate, with heavy rainfall, warm summers, and cold winters. 

Florida and the Deep South are tropical and prone to hurricanes. 

The southwest is arid desert, with searing summer heat and low rainfall. 

Southern California is Mediterranean, with hot summers and mild winters.

People & Society:

Although the demographic, economic, and cultural dominance of White Americans is firmly entrenched after over 400 years of settlement, the ethnic balance of the country is shifting. 

Barack Obama, whose father was African, became the first non-White US president in 2009. 

The African-American community, originally uprooted by the slave trade, has a strong consciousness. 

Less well organized socially but more numerous, and faster-growing, the Hispanic community is predicted to number over 25% of the population by 2050. 

Native Americans, dispossessed in the 19th century, are now among the poorest people. 

Constitutionally, state and religion are clearly separated. 

Conservative Christianity, however, is increasingly dominant politically. 

Living standards are high, but bad diet and insufficient exercise have left over a third of Americans obese.

Economy:

World’s largest economy: wellestablished engineering and high-tech industries, huge resource base, global spread of US culture. 

Manufacturing is in decline as jobs are lost to low-wage economies. 

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