United States 1998United%20States

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United States
United States 


United States - Introduction 1998
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Background: Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation-state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment, low inflation, and rapid advances in technology. The biggest cloud over this affluent society is the distribution of gains_since 1975 most of the increase in national income has gone to the 20% of people at the top of the income ladder.

United States - Geography 1998
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Location: North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico

Geographic coordinates: 38 00 N, 97 00 W

Map referenceNorth America

Total: 9,629,091 km²
Land: 9,158,960 km²
Water: 470,131 km²
Note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
Comparative: about one-half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil; slightly larger than China; about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe

Land boundaries
Total: 12,248 km
Border countries: (3) Canada 8,893 km; (including 2,477 km; with Alaska), Cuba 29 km; (US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay), Mexico 3,326 km
Note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba

Coastline: 19,924 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 12 nm
Continental shelf: not specified
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida and 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

Extremes lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
Extremes highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m

Natural resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 19%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 25%
Forests and woodland: 30%
Other: 26% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 207,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic coast; tornadoes in the midwest; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska is a major impediment to development

Note: world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada)

United States - People 1998
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Population: 270,311,756 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 0.87% (1998 est.)

Noun: American(s)
Adjective: American

Ethnic groups: white 83.4%, black 12.4%, Asian 3.3%, Amerindian 0.8% (1992)

Languages: English, Spanish (spoken by a sizable minority)

Religions: Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%, none 10% (1989)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 22% (male 29,952,220; female 28,560,357)
15-64 years: 66% (male 88,113,895; female 89,399,501)
65 years and over: 12% (male 14,088,571; female 20,197,212) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.87% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 14.4 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.8 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 3 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution resulting 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 from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; very limited natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
International agreements party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
International agreements signed but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 6.44 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 76.13 years
Male: 72.85 years
Female: 79.58 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.07 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 97%
Male: 97%
Female: 97% (1979 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

United States - Government 1998
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Country name
Conventional long form: United States of America
Conventional short form: United States
Abbreviation: US or USA

Government type: federal republic; strong democratic tradition

Capital: Washington, DC

Administrative divisions: 50 states and 1 district*; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Dependent areas: (14) 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, Wake Island
Note: from 18 July 1947 until 1 October 1994, the US administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but recently entered into a new political relationship with all four political units:the Northern Mariana Islands is a Commonwealth in political union with the US (effective 3 November 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 1 October 1994); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 3 November 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the US (effective 21 October 1986)

Independence: 4 July 1776 (from England)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 July (1776)

Constitution: 17 September 1787, effective 4 March 1789

Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President William Jefferson CLINTON (since 20 January 1993) and Vice President Albert GORE, Jr. (since 20 January 1993); note_the president is both the chief of state and head of government: ead of
Government: President William Jefferson CLINTON (since 20 January 1993) and Vice President Albert GORE, Jr. (since 20 January 1993); note_the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval
Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by a college of representatives who are elected directly from each state; president and vice president serve four-year terms; election last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 7 November 2000)
Election results: William Jefferson CLINTON elected president; percent of popular vote - William Jefferson CLINTON (Democratic Party) 49.2%, Bob DOLE (Republican Party) 40.7%, Ross PEROT (Reform Party) 8.4%, other 1.7%

Legislative branch: bicameral Congress consists of Senate (100 seats, one-third are renewed every two years; two members are elected from each state by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and House of Representatives (435 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
Elections: Senate_last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 2 November 1998); House of Representatives_last held 5 November 1996 (next to be held 2 November 1998)
Election results: Senate_percent of vote by party_NA; seats by party_Republican Party 55, Democratic Party 45; House of Representatives_percent of vote by party_NA; seats by party_Republican Party 227, Democratic Party 205, independent 1, vacant 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices are appointed for life by the president with confirmation by the Senate

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), ANZUS, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE (observer), CP, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, FAO, G- 2, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINUGUA, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MTCR, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of United%20States: thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small white five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars; the 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; known as Old Glory; the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

United States - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: The US has the most powerful, diverse, and technologically advanced economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $30,200, the largest among major industrial nations. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and government buys needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy considerably greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, lay off surplus workers, and develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to entry in their rivals' home markets than the barriers to entry of foreign firms in US markets. In all economic sectors, US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment, although their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. The years 1994-97 witnessed moderate gains in real output, low inflation rates, and a drop in unemployment below 6%. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical costs of an aging population, sizable trade deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups. The outlook for 1998 is for continued moderate growth, low inflation, and about the same level of unemployment. Two shadows for 1998 are the severe financial crises in East Asia and the exuberant level of stock prices in relation to corporate earnings.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3.8% (1997)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 2%
Industry: 23%
Services: 75% (1997 est.)

Agriculture products: wheat, other grains, corn, fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; forest products; fish

Industries: leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining

Industrial production growth rate: 3.9% (1997)

Labor force
Total: 136.3 million (includes unemployed) (1997)
By occupation managerial and professional: 29.1%
By occupation technical sales and administrative support: 29.6%
By occupation services: 13.5%
By occupation transportation and crafts: 25.1%
By occupation farming forestry and fishing: 2.7%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 4.9% (1997)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.579 trillion
Expenditures: $1.601 trillion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1997)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 October_30 September

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: total value:$625.1 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodoties: capital goods, automobiles, industrial supplies and raw materials, consumer goods, agricultural products
Partners: Canada 22%, Western Europe 21%, Japan 11%, Mexico 8% (1995)

Imports: total value:$822 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodoties: crude oil and refined petroleum products, machinery, automobiles, consumer goods, industrial raw materials, food and beverages

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $862 billion (1995 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: British pounds (£) per US$ 0.6115 (January 1998), 0.6106 (1997), 0.6403 (1996), 0.6335 (1995), 0.6529 (1994), 0.6658 (1993; Canadian dollars (Can$) per US$ 1.4408 (January 1998), 1.3846 (1997), 1.3635 (1996), 1.3724 (1995), 1.3656 (1994), 1.2901 (1993; French francs (F) per US$ 6.0836 (January 1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996), 4.9915 (1995), 5.5520 (1994), 5.6632 (1993; Italian lire (Lit) per US$ 1,787.7 (January 1997), 1,703.1 (1997), 1,542.9 (1996), 1,628.9 (1995), 1,612.4 (1994), 1,573.7 (1993; Japanese yen (¥) per US$ 129.45 (January 1998), 120.99 (1997), 108.78 (1996), 94.06 (1995), 102.21 (1994), 111.20 (1993; German deutsche marks (DM) per US$- 1.8167 (January 1998), 1.7341 (1997), 1.5048 (1996), 1.4331 (1995), 1.6228 (1994), 1.6533 (1993)

United States - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 3.585 trillion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 13,732 kWh (1995)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

United States - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system
Domestic: a large system of fiber-optic cable, microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and domestic satellites carries conventional telephone traffic; a rapidly growing cellular system carries mobile telephone traffic throughout country
International: 24 ocean cable systems in use; satellite earth stations_61 Intelsat (45 Atlantic Ocean and 16 Pacific Ocean) (1990 est.), 5 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 4 Inmarsat (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean regions)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

United States - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $267.2 billion (1997 est.)
Percent of gdp: 3.4% (1997 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

United States - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 14,574 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 5,167
With paved runways over 3047 m: 181
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 218
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1,280
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2,450
With paved runways under 914 m: 1,038 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 9,407
With unpaved runways over 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 6
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 164
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1,686
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 7,550 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 5,167
Over 3047 m: 181
2438 to 3047 m: 218
15-24 to 2437 m: 1,280
914 to 1523 m: 2,450
Under 914 m: 1,038 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 9,407
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 6
15-24 to 2437 m: 164
914 to 1523 m: 1,686
Under 914 m: 7,550 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 109 (1997 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 276,000 km; natural gas 331,000 km (1991)

Total: 240,000 km mainline routes (nongovernment owned)
Standard gauge: 240,000 km 1.435-m gauge (1989)


Waterways: 41,009 km of navigable inland channels, exclusive of the Great Lakes

Merchant marine
Total: 286 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 9,627,000 GRT/13,257,000 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 15, container 79, chemical tanker 15, roll-on/roll-off 28, liquefied gas tanker 13, cruise/passenger 3, tanker 94, tanker tug-barge 12, other 27
Note: in addition, there are 192 government-owned vessels (1997 est.)

Ports and terminals

United States - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: maritime boundary disputes with Canada (Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Machias Seal Island; US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation; Marshall Islands claims Wake Island

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: consumer of cocaine shipped from Colombia through Mexico and the Caribbean; consumer of heroin, marijuana, and increasingly methamphetamines from Mexico; consumer of high-quality Southeast Asian heroin; illicit producer of cannabis, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and methamphetamines; drug money-laundering center


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