USA - At a glance

The USA at a glance

Location North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean
Neighbouring countries Canada and Mexico
Size/area 3,718,711 square miles (9,631,418km²)
Climate Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semi-arid 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.
Status Federal republic
Capital Washington, DC
Other main cities New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit
Economy The largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, with a per-capita GDP of $57,436. Agriculture 1.1%; industry 19.4%; services 79.5% (2016). GDP $19.3 trillion (2017)
Languages English is spoken by approximately 80% of the population; Spanish (12.4%) is regarded as the second national language
Religion Protestant 51%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 2%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10%
Currency US dollar; $1 = 100 cents
International telephone code +1
Time There are four different time zones in the continental USA: Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time and Pacific Standard Time. Two further time zones apply in Alaska and Hawaii.
Electrical voltage 120V/60Hz standard plugs have two parallel fl at pins (‘American’ type) or have two pins with an earth connector.
Weights and measures The USA is one of the few countries not to have adopted the International System of Units as its official system of weights and measures. Although the metric system has been lawful in the USA since 1866, it has been slow in displacing the adaptation of the British Imperial System known as the US Customary System (miles, gallons, etc).
Flag The Stars and Stripes has 13 horizontal stripes of red alternating with white. A blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner has 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars represent the 50 states; the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies.
National anthem ‘Star Spangled Banner’
National flower American rose
National bird/animal Bald eagle
National sports Baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey

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USA articles

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The most spectacular stations in the USA

These US railway stations are more than just transport hubs.


The best desert railways in the USA

Heading through dramatic canyons and vast barren landscapes, these are the best desert railways in the USA.


The best mountain railways in the USA

USA's railways traverse some spectacular mountain scenery. 


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