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Coordinates: 40°N 100°W / 40°N 100°W / 40; -100

According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $16.8 trillion constitutes 24% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 19% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity.[377][378] The United States is the largest importer of goods and second-largest exporter,[379] though exports per capita are relatively low. In 2010, the total U.S. trade deficit was $635 billion.[380] Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany are its top trading partners.[381]

From 1983 to 2008, U.S. real compounded annual GDP growth was 3.3%, compared to a 2.3% weighted average for the rest of the G7.[382] The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita[383] and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP.[378] The U.S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency.[384]

A large flag is stretched over Roman style columns on the front of a large building.
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is the world's largest stock exchange (per market capitalization of its listed companies)[385] at $23.1 trillion as of April 2018.[386]

In 2009, the private sector was estimated to constitute 86.4% of the economy.[387] While its economy has reached a postindustrial level of development, the United States remains an industrial power.[388] In August 2010, the American labor force consisted of 154.1 million people (50%). With 21.2 million people, government is the leading field of employment. The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with 16.4 million people. It has a smaller welfare state and redistributes less income through government action than most European nations.[389]

The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation[390] and is one of a few countries in the world without paid family leave as a legal right.[391] 74% of full-time American workers get paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although only 24% of part-time workers get the same benefits.[392] In 2009, the United States had the third-highest workforce productivity per person in the world, behind Luxembourg and Norway.[393][394]

Science and technology

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969

The United States has been a leader in technological innovation since the late 19th century and scientific research since the mid-20th century. Methods for producing interchangeable parts were developed by the U.S. War Department by the Federal Armories during the first half of the 19th century. This technology, along with the establishment of a machine tool industry, enabled the U.S. to have large-scale manufacturing of sewing machines, bicycles, and other items in the late 19th century and became known as the American system of manufacturing. Factory electrification in the early 20th century and introduction of the assembly line and other labor-saving techniques created the system of mass production.[395] In the 21st century, approximately two-thirds of research and development funding comes from the private sector.[396] The United States leads the world in scientific research papers and impact factor.[397][398]

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone. Thomas Edison's research laboratory, one of the first of its kind, developed the phonograph, the first long-lasting light bulb, and the first viable movie camera.[399] The latter led to emergence of the worldwide entertainment industry. In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothers, in 1903, made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.[400]

The rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1920s and 30s led many European scientists, including Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and John von Neumann, to immigrate to the United States.[401] During World War II, the Manhattan Project developed nuclear weapons, ushering in the Atomic Age, while the Space Race produced rapid advances in rocketry, materials science, and aeronautics.[402][403]

The invention of the transistor in the 1950s, a key active component in practically all modern electronics, led to many technological developments and a significant expansion of the U.S. technology industry.[404] This, in turn, led to the establishment of many new technology companies and regions around the country such as Silicon Valley in California. Advancements by American microprocessor companies such as Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel, along with both computer software and hardware companies such as Adobe Systems, Apple Inc., IBM, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems, created and popularized the personal computer. The ARPANET was developed in the 1960s to meet Defense Department requirements, and became the first of a series of networks which evolved into the Internet.[405]

Income, poverty and wealth

Accounting for 4.24% of the global population, Americans collectively possess 29.4% of the world's total wealth, the largest percentage of any country.[406][407] Americans also make up roughly half of the world's population of millionaires.[408] The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013.[409] Americans on average have more than twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as EU residents.[410] For 2017 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 13th among 189 countries in its Human Development Index (HDI) and 25th among 151 countries in its inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).[411]

Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom half possess only 2%.[412] According to the Federal Reserve, the top 1% controlled 38.6% of the country's wealth in 2016.[413] In 2017, Forbes found that just three individuals (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates) held more money than the bottom half of the population.[414] According to a 2018 study by the OECD, the United States has a larger percentage of low-income workers than almost any other developed nation, largely because of a weak collective bargaining system and lack of government support for at-risk workers.[415] The top one percent of income-earners accounted for 52 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2015, where income is defined as market income excluding government transfers.[416]

Wealth inequality in the U.S. increased between 1989 and 2013.[417]

After years of stagnation, median household income reached a record high in 2016 following two consecutive years of record growth. Income inequality remains at record highs however, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all overall income.[418] The rise in the share of total annual income received by the top one percent, which has more than doubled from nine percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2011, has significantly affected income inequality,[419] leaving the United States with one of the widest income distributions among OECD nations.[420] The extent and relevance of income inequality is a matter of debate.[421][422][423]

There were about 567,715 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. in January 2019, with almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.[424] In 2011, 16.7 million children lived in food-insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels, though only 845,000 U.S. children (1.1%) saw reduced food intake or disrupted eating patterns at some point during the year, and most cases were not chronic.[425] As of June 2018, 40 million people, roughly 12.7% of the U.S. population, were living in poverty, including 13.3 million children. Of those impoverished, 18.5 million live in deep poverty (family income below one-half of the poverty threshold) and over five million live "in 'Third World' conditions".[426] In 2017, the U.S. states or territories with the lowest and highest poverty rates were New Hampshire (7.6%) and American Samoa (65%), respectively.[427][428][429] The economic impact and mass unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has raised fears of a mass eviction crisis,[430] with an analysis by the Aspen Institute indicating that between 30 and 40 million people are at risk for eviction by the end of 2020.[431]

Infrastructure

Transportation

The Interstate Highway System, which extends 46,876 miles (75,440 km)[432]

Personal transportation is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers) of public roads.[433] The United States has the world's second-largest automobile market,[434] and has the highest vehicle ownership per capita in the world, with 816.4 vehicles per 1,000 Americans (2014).[435] In 2017, there were 255,009,283 non-two wheel motor vehicles, or about 910 vehicles per 1,000 people.[436]

The civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated since 1978, while most major airports are publicly owned.[437] The three largest airlines in the world by passengers carried are U.S.-based; American Airlines is number one after its 2013 acquisition by US Airways.[438] Of the world's 50 busiest passenger airports, 16 are in the United States, including the busiest, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.[439]

Transport is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions by the United States, which are the second highest by country, exceeded only by China's.[440] The United States has historically been the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, and greenhouse gas emissions per capita remain high.[441]

Energy

The United States energy market is about 29,000 terawatt hours per year.[442] In 2005, 40% of this energy came from petroleum, 23% from coal, and 22% from natural gas. The remainder was supplied by nuclear and renewable energy sources.[443]

Culture

For many immigrants, the Statue of Liberty was their first view of the United States. It signified new opportunities in life, and thus the statue is an iconic symbol of the American Dream as well as its ideals.[444]

The United States is home to many cultures and a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values.[445][446] Aside from the Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Native Alaskan populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries.[447] Mainstream American culture is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as traditions brought by slaves from Africa.[445][448] More recen

In American political culture, the center-right Republican Party is considered "conservative" and the center-left Democratic Party is considered "liberal".[312][313] The states of the Northeast and West Coast and some of the Great Lakes states, known as "blue states", are relatively liberal. The "red states" of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative.

Republican Donald Trump, the winner of the 2016 presidential election, is serving as the 45th president of the United States.[314] Leadership in the Senate includes vice president Mike Pence, president pro tempore Chuck Grassley, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.[315] Leadership in the House includes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.[316]

In the 116th United States Congress, the House of Representatives is controlled by the Democratic Party and the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party, giving the U.S. a split Congress. The Senate consists of 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats with two Independents who caucus with the Democrats; the House consists of 233 Democrats, 196 Republicans, and 1 Libertarian.[317] Of state governors, there are 26 Republicans and 24 Democrats. Among the D.C. mayor and the five territorial governors, there are four Democrats, one Republican, and one New Progressive.[318]

Foreign relations

United Nations Security Council. New York City is home to the United Nations Headquarters. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D.C., and many have consulates around the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. However, Iran, North Korea, Bhutan, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) do not have formal diplomatic relations with the United States (although the U.S. still maintains unofficial relations with Bhutan and Taiwan).[319] It is a member of the G7,[320] G20, and OECD.

The United States has a "Special Relationship" with the United Kingdom[321] and strong ties with India, Canada,[322] Australia,[323] New Zealand,[324] the Philippines,[325] Japan,[326] South Korea,[327] Israel,[328] and several European Union countrie

The United States has a "Special Relationship" with the United Kingdom[321] and strong ties with India, Canada,[322] Australia,[323] New Zealand,[324] the Philippines,[325] Japan,[326] South Korea,[327] Israel,[328] and several European Union countries, including France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.[329] It works closely with fellow NATO members on military and security issues and with its neighbors through the Organization of American States and free trade agreements such as the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Colombia is traditionally considered by the United States as its most loyal ally in South America.[330][331]

The U.S. exercises full international defense authority and responsibility for Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau through the Compact of Free Association.[332]

Taxation in the United States is progressive,[333][334] and is levied at the federal, state, and local government levels. This includes taxes on income, payroll, property, sales, imports, estates, and gifts, as well as various fees. Taxation in the United States is based on citizenship, not residency.[335] Both non-resident citizens and Green Card holders living abroad are taxed on their income irrespective of where they live or where their income is earned. The United States is one of the only countries in the world to do so.[336]

In 2010 taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP.[337] Based on CBO estimates,[338] under 2013 tax law the top 1% will be paying the highest average tax rates since 1979, while other income groups will remain at historic lows.[339] For 2018, the effective tax rate for the wealthiest 400 households was 23%, compared to 24.2% for the bottom half of U.S. households.[340]

During fiscal year 2012, the federal government spent $3.54 trillion on a budget or cash basis. Major categories of fiscal year 2012 spending included: Medicare & Medicaid (23%), Social Security (22%), Defense Department (19%), non-defense discretionary (17%), other mandatory (13%) and interest (6%).[

In 2010 taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to 24.8% of GDP.[337] Based on CBO estimates,[338] under 2013 tax law the top 1% will be paying the highest average tax rates since 1979, while other income groups will remain at historic lows.[339] For 2018, the effective tax rate for the wealthiest 400 households was 23%, compared to 24.2% for the bottom half of U.S. households.[340]

During fiscal year 2012, the federal government spent $3.54 trillion on a budget or cash basis. Major categories of fiscal year 2012 spending included: Medicare & Medicaid (23%), Social Security (22%), Defense Department (19%), non-defense discretionary (17%), other mandatory (13%) and interest (6%).[341]

The total national debt of the United States was $23.201 trillion, or 107% of GDP, in the fourth quarter of 2019.[342] By 2012, total federal debt had surpassed 100% of U.S. GDP.[343] The U.S. has a credit rating of AA+ from Standard & Poor's, AAA from Fitch, and AAA from Moody's.[344] The United States has the largest external debt in the world[345] and the 34th largest government debt as a percentage of GDP in the world as of 2017; however, more recent estimates vary.[346]

The president is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces and appoints its leaders, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Department of Defense administers five of the six service branches, which are made up of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Space Force. The Coast Guard, also a branch of the armed forces, is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and by the Department of the Navy in wartime. In 2019, all six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces reported 1.4 million personnel on active duty.[347] The Reserves and National Guard brought the total number of troops to 2.3 million.[347] The Department of Defense also employed about 700,000 civilians, not including contractors.[348]

Military service in the United States is voluntary, although conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System.[349] From 1940 until 1973, conscription was mandatory even during peacetime.[350] Today, American forces can be rapidly deployed by the Air Force's large fleet of transport aircraft, the Navy's 11 active aircraft carriers, and Marine expeditionary units at sea with the Navy's Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The military operates about 800 bases and facilities abroad,[351] and maintains deployments greater than 100 active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries.[352]

conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System.[349] From 1940 until 1973, conscription was mandatory even during peacetime.[350] Today, American forces can be rapidly deployed by the Air Force's large fleet of transport aircraft, the Navy's 11 active aircraft carriers, and Marine expeditionary units at sea with the Navy's Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The military operates about 800 bases and facilities abroad,[351] and maintains deployments greater than 100 active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries.[352]

The United States spent $649 billion on its military in 2019, 36% of global military spending.[353] At 4.7% of GDP, the rate was the second-highest among the top 15 military spenders, after Saudi Arabia.[353] Defense spending plays a major role in science and technology investment, with roughly half of U.S. federal research and development funded by the Department of Defense.[354] Defense's share of the overall U.S. economy has generally declined in recent decades, from early Cold War peaks of 14.2% of GDP in 1953 and 69.5% of federal spending in 1954 to 4.7% of GDP and 18.8% of federal spending in 2011.[355]

The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and one of nine countries to possess nuclear weapons.[356] The United States possesses the second-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.[356] More than 40% of the world's 14,000 nuclear weapons are h

The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and one of nine countries to possess nuclear weapons.[356] The United States possesses the second-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.[356] More than 40% of the world's 14,000 nuclear weapons are held by the United States.[356]