United States: Overview

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Updated: 2017-03-15.

The United States is comprised of 50 states, mostly between Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, the capital Washington D.C., and several outlying territories. The US of A, sometimes referred to as just America, is the third largest country by population, with more than 322 million people estimated as of the beginning of 2016. It is also the third largest country in the world by land area, or fourth largest by total area including bodies of water.

Being so large, there are many regional differences, including climate, culture, education, and ancestry. The east coast of the United States was where it all began, and places like Florida and the New York metropolitan area have a very diverse population, as residents here hail from every country in the world. California, on the west coast, is just as diverse. The north of the country can get very cold, with places like Alaska having little time without freezing temperatures. Towards the other extreme, places like Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico have a hot and/or humid climate most of the year and see little or no snow.

The northeast of the US and the west coast are usually more liberal and progressive states. The Northeast has a very fast-paced active lifestyle, as many corporate and financial firms are based in and around the New York area. The important political areas are New York City, where the United Nations is located, as well as the Washington D.C. area, which is the nation’s capital. The surrounding Virginia and Maryland areas are where many government agencies are located, given the close proximity of the capital. The rest of the country has a slower-paced atmosphere, but still differ amongst themselves in other ways. The west coast is very diverse, and home to the largest and greatest technology firms on the planet. The middle of America has a few large cities, but the rest of it is very rural with many beautiful national parks and other natural wonders.

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