UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Official Name United States of America
Capital City Washington D.C. (population - 571,000)
Country Population 289,000,000
Major Cities (by population) New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, and San Antonio
Languages English (official), Spanish (spoken by a large minority) south and southwest
Official Currency U.S. Dollar
Religions Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and beliefs and faiths of many other cultures
The United States of America also referred to as the United States, the USA, the US, America, the States (colloquially), and Columbia (poetically) is a democratic, federal republic of 50 states. Located primarily in central North America, the United States has land borders with Canada and Mexico, and territorial water boundaries with Canada, Russia and the Bahamas. It is otherwise bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Forty-eight of the states often referred to as the continental, contiguous or Lower 48 states are located in a single region between Canada and Mexico. The other two, Alaska and the archipelago of Hawaii, are not contiguous with the others. There is a federal district the District of Columbia, comprising the capital, Washington??and a number of overseas territories and possessions.
Government and politics
The government of the United States may be accurately categorized as a republic or as a liberal democracy. Specifically, the United States is an example of a representative democracy. There are three levels of government in the United States federal, state, and local. All of these are freely elected by the American people. Americans enjoy universal suffrage upon reaching the age of 18, however the residents of Washington, D.C.'s representation in Congress is limited.
The United States has dozens of major cities, including several important global cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The figures expressed below are for populations within city limits. A different ranking is evident when considering U.S. metro area populations, although the top three would be unchanged. The twenty largest cities, based on the United States Census Bureau's 2004 esitmates, are as follows. (It should be noted that some cities not listed are still considered important on the basis of other factors and issues, including culture, economics, heritage and politics.)
The United States does not have an official language at federal level; nevertheless, English is the first and/or only language of the overwhelming majority of the population and serves as the de facto official language: English is the language used for legislation, regulations, executive orders, treaties, federal court rulings, and all other official pronouncements.
Twenty-seven individual states have adopted English as their official language, and three of those Hawaii, Louisiana, and New Mexico have also adopted a second official language (Hawaiian, French and Spanish, respectively). Spanish follows English as the second-most spoken language in the United States, primarily due to the influence of recent Latin American immigrants and the fact that almost a fifth of its continental territory was originally part of Mexico, and it is a primary spoken language in some areas of the Southwest.
The primary signed language is American Sign Language (ASL).
As of 2004, the United States was the home of approximately 336 languages (spoken or signed), of which 176 are indigenous to U.S. territory.
Elvis Presley, an American singer and star who had a large impact on music and youth culture in the world.
U.S. popular culture has a significant influence on the rest of the world, especially the Western world. U.S. music is heard all over the world, and it is the sire of such forms as blues and jazz and had a primary hand in the shaping of modern rock and roll and popular music culture. Many great Western classical musicians and ensembles find their home in the U.S. New York City is a hub for international operatic and instrumental music as well as the world-famed Broadway plays and musicals, Seattle is a world leader in the grunge and heavy metal music industries, and Nashville is the capital of country music. New York, Seattle, and San Francisco are worldwide leaders in graphic design and New York and Los Angeles compete with major European cities in the fashion industry.