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Mission Local Youth Global Connections 5-30-14

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United States of America

Printable Version

Geography

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

  • Area: 6,106,013 square miles; the third largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada, and the third largest in population after China and India.
  • Capital: Washington, DC
  • Climate: 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: 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
  • US Territories: 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 and Wake Island.
  • Features: Almost 7,700 miles of coastline.  Mt. McKinley is the Highest point in North America and Death Valley is the lowest point on the North American continent. 
  • Current Environmental Issues: Air pollution results in acid rain in both the US and Canada; The US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution is caused from the runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management.

 

People

  • Nationality: American(s)
  • Population: 318,892,103 (July 2014 est.) (the 4th largest population in the world)
  • Urban Population: 82% of total population
  • Primary Ethnic Groups: White 79.96%, Black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate) 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.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic.
  • Religions: Protestant 51%; Roman Catholic 24%; Mormon 2%; Jewish 2%; other Christian 2%; Buddhist1%; Muslim 1%; other or unaffiliated 15%, none 4% (2007 est.)
  • Languages: English is the official language and spoken by about 82% of the population; 10% speakSpanish and 3.8% speak an Asian and/or Pacific Island language.
  • Literacy rate (age 15 and over): 99% (Male: 99%/Female: 99%)
  • School Life Expectancy: 17 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 6/1,000 live births
  • Life Expectancy: 79.5 years (Male: 77/ Female: 82) (2014 est.)
  • Median Age: 37.6 years
  • HIV/AIDS: There are 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDs, ranked 7th in the world.

 

Government & Economy

  • Independence: July 4, 1776 from Great Britain
  • Number of registered political parties: 5
  • Flag Description: The 50 stars represents the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; the 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.
  • Natural resources: Coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
  • Average annual income per person: $52,800 (2013 est.)
  • Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (2013 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: 15% (2010 est.)

 

Transnational Issues

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.

Refugees (country of origin): The US admitted 69,926 refugees during FY2013 including 9,134 (Bhutan); 16,299 (Burma); 19,488 (Iraq); 7,608 (Somalia); 4,205 (Cuba); 2,578 (Iran); 1,824 (Eritrea)

 

Information retrieved from The World Factbook: cia.gov.

 

Facts that may surprise you about the U.S.:

Healthcare:
The United States is the ONLY wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. In 2010, 49.9 million Americans were uninsured.  Of the 83.7% of people with health insurance in 2010, coverage was 55.3% employment-based, 9.8% direct-purchase, and 31.0% government funded (Medicare, Medicaid, and Military). The primary reason given for lack of health insurance coverage in 2005 was cost, lost job or a change in employment, ineligibility for family insurance coverage due to age or leaving school or Medicaid benefits stopped. Nearly two-thirds, or 62%, of all bankruptcy filings in the United States in 2007 were due to illness or medical bills. Among the medical bankruptcy filers in 2007, most were well-educated, owned homes, employed in middle-class occupations, and three-quarters had health insurance. The ability of Americans to obtain affordable health insurance is quite inadequate.  Due to improper healthcare many Americans are exposed to higher healthcare expenditures, higher infant mortality, lower life expectancy and high rates of bankruptcy due to medical bills and/or illnesses.

Food Insecurity:
Food insecurity exists when the availability of safe and nutritionally adequate foods or the ability to obtain acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is very limited and uncertain. 14.5% of American families are food-insecure, which means a proper healthy meal is not always available or don’t know when their next meal might be. In most of these cases the adults will go without food and children will wait to attend school and eat at the free meal program which provides free breakfast and lunch to most students who are eligible for the program.

Unemployment:
The U.S unemployment rate varies dramatically from state to state ranging from 3.3% to 12.9%. California was the second highest among all U.S states. The U.S average unemployment rate is currently ranked at 7.4% as of July 2013 and has stayed around the 9% range since the financial crisis that hit the U.S economy in 2008. Unemployment is defined as being without a job and actively seeking employment within the last four weeks. Unemployment rates vary month to month as well; it is typically higher during the winter when outdoor and construction jobs are very low in demand due to weather conditions. Even though the economy has bounced back rather quickly from the 2008 crisis our job market has yet to recover.

Poverty:
The United States has 43.6 million people, or 1 out every 7, who live below the poverty line. Our government recognizes a family of 4 making below $22,000 a year as living in poverty. Most states in America have a county or town or city that is tragically affected by poverty. Food stamp programs have increased dramatically in the past two years, by almost one million more recipients. Many Americans are living off of welfare and food stamps programs just to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Some families are forced to leave their homes, separate or even have teenagers drop out of school to find jobs and help their parents/families. 

Education: Drop Out Statistics
As of April 2013 America has 3,030,000 students who drop out of school each year. 8,300 drop out each day and 36% of those drop out in the ninth grade.  Students drop out of school for a number of different reasons—and it’s typically a combination of many issues. Some of the top reasons students give for leaving school: teen pregnancy, lack of motivation, gangs, alcohol, drugs, and family responsibilities.  The national rate of students dropping out of school is 8.1%.  Rates vary by gender and ethnic group:  the male drop out rate is 9.1 % and the female drop out rate is 7 %. By ethnic group the drop out rate is:  Hispanic 17.6 %, African American 9.6 %, White 5.2 %, Asian American 2.1 % and Foreign Born 20.7 %.