Greg Loucks: Personal, Main Website

Also known as:

Guyana (English)

Georgetown, Guyana WEATHER
Georgetown, Guyana:
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"In God We Trust"

mm/dd/yyyy

"E pluribus unum"

(Latin)

(Translated: "Out of many, one")

"Annuit cœptis"

(Latin)

(Translated: "Providence favors our undertakings")

"Novus ordo seclorum"

(Latin)

(Translated: "New order of the ages")

By Race:

61.6% White
12.4% Black
6.0% Asian
1.1% Native American
0.2% Pacific Islander
10.2% two or more races
8.4% other

By Origin:

81.3% non-Hispanic or Latino
18.7% Hispanic or Latino

70% Christianity
34% Protestantism
23% Catholicism
2% Mormonism
11% other Christian
21% unaffiliated
2% Judaism
6% other religion
1% unanswered

U.S. dollar ($) (USD)

2023 estimate:

Total:

Increase $26.950 trillion (2nd)

Per capita:

Increase $80,412 (9th)

2023 estimate:

Total:

Increase $26.950 trillion (1st)

Per capita:

Increase $80,412 (7th)

Negative increase 39.4
medium

Increase 0.921
very high · 21st

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem written on September 14, 1814, by 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Outer Baltimore Harbor in the Patapsco River during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven" (or "The Anacreontic Song"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. This setting, renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being very difficult to sing, in part because the melody sung today is the soprano part. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

Federal presidential republic

President:

Joe Biden

Vice President:

Kamala Harris

House Speaker:

Mike Johnson

Chief Justice:

John Roberts
Congress

Upper house:

Senate

Lower house:

House of Representatives

The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly known as the United States (US or U.S.) or America, is a country primarily located in North America, between Canada and Mexico. It is a federation of 50 states, a federal capital district (Washington, D.C.), and 326 Indian reservations. Outside the union of states, it asserts sovereignty over five major unincorporated island territories and various uninhabited islands. The country has the world's third-largest land area, second-largest maritime exclusive economic zone and third-largest population, exceeding 334 million.

Paleo-Indians migrated across the Bering land bridge more than 12,000 years ago. British colonization led to the first settlement of the Thirteen Colonies in Virginia in 1607. Clashes with the British Crown over taxation and political representation sparked the American Revolution, with the Second Continental Congress formally declaring independence on July 4, 1776. Following its victory in the Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the country continued to expand across North America. As more states were admitted, sectional division over slavery led to the secession of the Confederate States of America, which fought the remaining states of the Union during the 1861–1865 American Civil War. With the Union's victory and preservation, slavery was abolished nationally. By 1890, the United States had established itself as a great power. After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II. The aftermath of the war left the U.S. and the Soviet Union as the world's two superpowers and led to the Cold War, during which both countries engaged in a struggle for ideological dominance and international influence. Following the Soviet Union's collapse and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the U.S. emerged as the world's sole superpower.

The U.S. national government is a presidential constitutional republic and liberal democracy with three separate branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. It has a bicameral national legislature composed of the House of Representatives, a lower house based on population; and the Senate, an upper house based on equal representation for each state. Substantial autonomy is given to states and several territories, with a political culture that emphasizes liberty, equality under the law, individualism, and limited government.

One of the world's most developed countries, the United States has had the largest nominal GDP since 1890 and accounted for 15% of the global economy in 2023. It possesses by far the largest amount of wealth of any country and the highest median income per capita of any non-microstate. The U.S. ranks among the world's highest in economic competitiveness, productivity, innovation, human rights, and higher education. Its hard power and cultural influence have a global reach. The U.S. is a founding member of the World Bank, IMF, Organization of American States, NATO, World Health Organization, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The first inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia across the Bering land bridge at least 12,000 years ago; the Clovis culture, which appeared around 11,000 BC, is believed to be the first widespread culture in the Americas. Over time, indigenous North American cultures grew increasingly sophisticated, and some, such as the Mississippian culture, developed agriculture, architecture, and complex societies. Indigenous peoples and cultures such as the Algonquian peoples, Ancestral Puebloans, and the Iroquois developed across the present-day United States. Native population estimates of what is now the United States before the arrival of European immigrants range from around 500,000 to nearly 10 million.

Christopher Columbus began exploring the Caribbean in 1492, leading to Spanish settlements in present-day Puerto Rico, Florida, and New Mexico. France established its own settlements along the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. British colonization of the East Coast began with the Virginia Colony (1607) and Plymouth Colony (1620). The Mayflower Compact and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut established precedents for representative self-governance and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies. While European settlers in what is now the United States experienced conflicts with Native Americans, they also engaged in trade, exchanging European tools for food and animal pelts.[46][m] Relations ranged from close cooperation to warfare and massacres. The colonial authorities often pursued policies that forced Native Americans to adopt European lifestyles, including conversion to Christianity. Along the eastern seaboard, settlers trafficked African slaves through the Atlantic slave trade.

The original Thirteen Colonies that would later found the United States were administered by Great Britain, and had local governments with elections open to most white male property owners. The colonial population grew rapidly, eclipsing Native American populations; by the 1770s, the natural increase of the population was such that only a small minority of Americans had been born overseas. The colonies' distance from Britain allowed for the development of self-governance, and the First Great Awakening—a series of Christian revivals—fueled colonial interest in religious liberty.

The first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" dates back to a letter from January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, a Continental Army aide to General George Washington, to Joseph Reed, Washington's aide-de-camp. Moylan expressed his desire to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the Revolutionary War effort. The first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, on April 6, 1776.

By June 1776, the name "United States of America" appeared in drafts of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, authored by John Dickinson, a Founding Father from the Province of Pennsylvania, and in the Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776.

Declaration:

July 4, 1776

Confederation:

March 1, 1781

Recognized:

September 3, 1783

Constitution:

June 21, 1788

Last Amendment:

May 5, 1992

After winning the French and Indian War, Britain began to assert greater control over local colonial affairs, creating colonial political resistance; one of the primary colonial grievances was a denial of their rights as Englishmen, particularly the right to representation in the British government that taxed them. In 1774, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and passed a colonial boycott of British goods that proved effective. The British attempt to then disarm the colonists resulted in the 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord, igniting the American Revolutionary War. At the Second Continental Congress, the colonies appointed George Washington commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and created a committee led by Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. The political values of the American Revolution included liberty, inalienable individual rights; and the sovereignty of the people; supporting republicanism and rejecting monarchy, aristocracy, and hereditary political power; virtue and faithfulness in the performance of civic duties; and vilification of corruption. The Founding Fathers of the United States, which included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and John Adams, took inspiration from Ancient Greco-Roman, Renaissance, and Age of Enlightenment philosophies and ideas.

After the British surrender at the siege of Yorktown in 1781, American sovereignty was internationally recognized by the Treaty of Paris (1783), through which the U.S. gained territory stretching west to the Mississippi River, north to present-day Canada, and south to Spanish Florida. Ratified in 1781, the Articles of Confederation established a decentralized government that operated until 1789. The Northwest Ordinance (1787) established the precedent by which the country's territory would expand with the admission of new states, rather than the expansion of existing states. The U.S. Constitution was drafted at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to overcome the limitations of the Articles; it went into effect in 1789, creating a federation administered by three branches on the principle of checks and balances. Washington was elected the country's first president under the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791 to allay concerns by skeptics of the more centralized government; his resignations first as commander-in-chief after the Revolution and later as president set a precedent followed by John Adams, establishing the peaceful transfer of power between rival parties.

In the late 18th century, American settlers began to expand westward, some with a sense of manifest destiny. The Louisiana Purchase (1803) from France nearly doubled the territory of the United States. Lingering issues with Britain remained, leading to the War of 1812, which was fought to a draw. Spain ceded Florida and its Gulf Coast territory in 1819. The Missouri Compromise attempted to balance desires of northern states to prevent expansion of slavery in the country with those of southern states to expand it, admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state and declared a policy of prohibiting slavery in the remaining Louisiana Purchase lands north of the 36°30′ parallel. As Americans expanded further into land inhabited by Native Americans, the federal government often applied policies of Indian removal or assimilation. The infamous Trail of Tears (1830–1850) was a U.S. government policy that forcibly removed and displaced most Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River to lands far to the west. These and earlier organized displacements prompted a long series of American Indian Wars west of the Mississippi. The Republic of Texas was annexed in 1845, and the 1846 Oregon Treaty led to U.S. control of the present-day American Northwest. Victory in the Mexican–American War resulted in the 1848 Mexican Cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest. The California Gold Rush of 1848–1849 spurred a huge migration of white settlers to the Pacific coast, leading to even more confrontations with Native populations. One of the most violent, the California genocide of thousands of Native inhabitants, lasted into the early 1870s just as additional western territories and states were created.

During the colonial period, slavery was legal in the American colonies, though the practice began to be significantly questioned during the American Revolution. States in The North enacted abolition laws, though support for slavery strengthened in Southern states, as inventions such as the cotton gin made the institution increasingly profitable for Southern elites. This sectional conflict regarding slavery culminated in the American Civil War (1861–1865).

Eleven slave states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, while the other states remained in the Union. War broke out in April 1861 after the Confederacy bombarded Fort Sumter. After the January 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, many freed slaves joined the Union Army. The war began to turn in the Union's favor following the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg and Battle of Gettysburg, and the Confederacy surrendered in 1865 after the Union's victory in the Battle of Appomattox Court House.

The Reconstruction era followed the war. After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction Amendments were passed to protect the rights of African Americans. National infrastructure, including transcontinental telegraph and railroads, spurred growth in the American frontier.

From 1865 through 1917 an unprecedented stream of immigrants arrived in the United States, including 24.4 million from Europe. Most came through the port of New York City, and New York City and other large cities on the East Coast became home to large Jewish, Irish, and Italian populations, while many Germans and Central Europeans moved to the Midwest. At the same time, about one million French Canadians migrated from Quebec to New England. During the Great Migration, millions of African Americans left the rural South for urban areas in the North. Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867.

The Compromise of 1877 effectively ended Reconstruction and white supremacists took local control of Southern politics. African Americans endured a period of heightened, overt racism following Reconstruction, a time often called the nadir of American race relations. A series of Supreme Court decisions, including Plessy v. Ferguson, emptied the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of their force, allowing Jim Crow laws in the South to remain unchecked, sundown towns in the Midwest, and segregation in cities across the country, which would be reinforced by the policy of redlining later adopted by the federal Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

An explosion of technological advancement accompanied by the exploitation of cheap immigrant labor led to rapid economic development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, allowing the United States to outpace England, France, and Germany combined. This fostered the amassing of power by a few prominent industrialists, largely by their formation of trusts and monopolies to prevent competition. Tycoons led the nation's expansion in the railroad, petroleum, and steel industries. The United States emerged as a pioneer of the automotive industry. These changes were accompanied by significant increases in economic inequality, slum conditions, and social unrest, creating the environment for labor unions to begin to flourish. This period eventually ended with the advent of the Progressive Era, which was characterized by significant reforms.

Pro-American elements in Hawaii overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy; the islands were annexed in 1898. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were ceded by Spain following the Spanish–American War. American Samoa was acquired by the United States in 1900 after the Second Samoan Civil War. The U.S. Virgin Islands were purchased from Denmark in 1917. The United States entered World War I alongside the Allies of World War I, helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. In 1920, a constitutional amendment granted nationwide women's suffrage. During the 1920s and 30s, radio for mass communication and the invention of early television transformed communications nationwide. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 triggered the Great Depression, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded to with New Deal social and economic policies.
At first neutral during World War II, the U.S. began supplying war materiel to the Allies of World War II in March 1941 and entered the war in December after the Empire of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. developed the first nuclear weapons and used them against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, ending the war. The United States was one of the "Four Policemen" who met to plan the postwar world, alongside the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China. The U.S. emerged relatively unscathed from the war, with even greater economic and international political influence.

After World War II, the United States entered the Cold War, where geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union led the two countries to dominate world affairs. The U.S. engaged in regime change against governments perceived to be aligned with the Soviet Union, and competed in the Space Race, culminating in the first crewed Moon landing in 1969.

Domestically, the U.S. experienced economic growth, urbanization, and population growth following World War II. The civil rights movement emerged, with Martin Luther King Jr. becoming a prominent leader in the early 1960s. The Great Society plan of President Lyndon Johnson's administration resulted in groundbreaking and broad-reaching laws, policies and a constitutional amendment to counteract some of the worst effects of lingering institutional racism. The counterculture movement in the U.S. brought significant social changes, including the liberalization of attitudes toward recreational drug use and sexuality. It also encouraged open defiance of the military draft (leading to the end of conscription in 1973) and wide opposition to U.S. intervention in Vietnam (with the U.S. totally withdrawing in 1975). The societal shift in the roles of women partly resulted in large increases in female labor participation in the 1970s, and by 1985 the majority of women aged 16 and older were employed. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which marked the end of the Cold War and solidified the U.S. as the world's sole superpower.

The 1990s saw the longest recorded economic expansion in American history, a dramatic decline in crime, and advances in technology, with the World Wide Web, the evolution of the Pentium microprocessor in accordance with Moore's law, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the first gene therapy trial, and cloning all emerging and being improved upon throughout the decade. The Human Genome Project was formally launched in 1990, while Nasdaq became the first stock market in the United States to trade online in 1998. In 1991, an American-led international coalition of states expelled an Iraqi invasion force from Kuwait in the Gulf War.

The September 11, 2001 attacks by the pan-Islamist militant organization Al-Qaeda led to the war on terror and subsequent military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The cultural impact of the attacks was profound and long-lasting.

The U.S. housing bubble culminated in 2007 with the Great Recession, the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Coming to a head in the 2010s, political polarization increased as sociopolitical debates on cultural issues dominated politics.

The United States is the world's third-largest country by total area behind Russia and Canada. The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia occupy a combined area of 3,119,885 square miles (8,080,470 km2). The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way to inland forests and rolling hills in the Piedmont plateau region.

The Appalachian Mountains and the Adirondack massif separate the East Coast from the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest. The Mississippi River System—the world's fourth longest river system—runs mainly north–south through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.

The Rocky Mountains, west of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, peaking at over 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in Colorado. Farther west are the rocky Great Basin and Chihuahua, Sonoran, and Mojave deserts. In the northwest corner of Arizona, carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, is the Grand Canyon, a steep-sided canyon and popular tourist destination known for its overwhelming visual size and intricate, colorful landscape.

The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast. The lowest and highest points in the contiguous United States are in the state of California, about 84 miles (135 km) apart. At an elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190.5 m), Alaska's Denali is the highest peak in the country and continent. Active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska's Alexander and Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii consists of volcanic islands. The supervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent's largest volcanic feature. In 2021, the United States had 8% of global permanent meadows and pastures and 10% of cropland.

With its large size and geographic variety, the United States includes most climate types. East of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The western Great Plains are semi-arid. Many mountainous areas of the American West have an alpine climate. The climate is arid in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon, Washington, and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Hawaii and the southern tip of Florida are tropical, as well as its territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

States bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and most of the world's tornadoes occur in the country, mainly in Tornado Alley. Overall, the United States receives more high-impact extreme weather incidents than any other country. Extreme weather became more frequent in the U.S. in the 21st century, with three times the number of reported heat waves as in the 1960s. In the American Southwest, droughts became more persistent and more severe.

The U.S. is one of 17 megadiverse countries containing large numbers of endemic species: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the contiguous United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of flowering plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland. The United States is home to 428 mammal species, 784 birds, 311 reptiles, 295 amphibians, and 91,000 insect species.

There are 63 national parks, and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas, managed by the National Park Service and other agencies. About 28% of the country's land is publicly owned and federally managed, primarily in the western states. Most of this land is protected, though some is leased for commercial use, and less than one percent is used for military purposes.

Environmental issues in the United States include debates on non-renewable resources and nuclear energy, air and water pollution, biodiversity, logging and deforestation, and climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency charged with addressing most environmental-related issues. The idea of wilderness has shaped the management of public lands since 1964, with the Wilderness Act. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides a way to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service implements and enforces the Act. As of 2022, the U.S. ranked 43rd among 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index. The country joined the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016 and has many other environmental commitments.

Composed of three branches, all headquartered in Washington, D.C., the federal government is the national government of the United States. It is regulated by a strong system of checks and balances.

  • The U.S. Congress, a bicameral legislature, made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment. The Senate has 100 members (2 from each state), elected for a six-year term. The House of Representatives has 435 members from single member congressional districts allocated to each state on the basis of population, elected for a two-year term.

  • The U.S. president is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law (subject to congressional override), and appoints the members of the Cabinet (subject to Senate approval) and other officials, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies through their respective agencies. The president and the vice president run and are elected together in a presidential election. Unlike any others in American politics, it is an indirect election, with the winner being determined by votes cast by electors of the Electoral College. The President and Vice President serve a four-year term and may be elected to the office no more than twice.

  • The U.S. federal judiciary, whose judges are all appointed for life by the President with Senate approval, consists primarily of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. courts of appeals, and the U.S. district courts. The U.S. Supreme Court interprets laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is led by the Chief Justice of the United States. It has nine members who serve for life. The members are appointed by the sitting president when a vacancy becomes available.

The three-branch system is known as the presidential system, in contrast to the parliamentary system, where the executive is part of the legislative body. Many countries around the world copied this aspect of the 1789 Constitution of the United States, especially in the Americas.

The Constitution is silent on political parties. However, they developed independently in the 18th century with the Federalist and Anti-Federalist parties. Since then, the United States has operated as a de facto two-party system, though the parties in that system have been different at different times.

The two main national parties are presently the Democratic and the Republican. The former is perceived as relatively liberal in its political platform while the latter is perceived as relatively conservative. Each has a primary system to nominate a presidential ticket, and each runs candidates for other offices in every state in the Union. Other smaller and less influential parties exist but do not have the national scope and breadth of the two main parties.

In the American federal system, sovereign powers are shared between two levels of elected government: national and state. People in the states are also represented by local elected governments, which are administrative divisions of the states. States are subdivided into counties or county equivalents, and further divided into municipalities. The District of Columbia is a federal district that contains the capital of the United States, the city of Washington. The territories and the District of Columbia are administrative divisions of the federal government. Federally recognized tribes govern 326 Indian reservations.

The United States has an established structure of foreign relations, and it has the world's second-largest diplomatic corps as of 2024. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and home to the United Nations headquarters. The United States is a member of the G7, G20, and OECD intergovernmental organizations. Almost all countries have embassies and many have consulates (official representatives) in the country. Likewise, nearly all countries host formal diplomatic missions with the United States, except Iran, North Korea, and Bhutan. Though Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the U.S., it maintains close unofficial relations. The United States regularly supplies Taiwan with military equipment to deter potential Chinese aggression Its geopolitical attention also turned to the Indo-Pacific when the United States joined the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Australia, India, and Japan.

The United States has a "Special Relationship" with the United Kingdom and strong ties with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and several European Union countries (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Poland). The U.S. works closely with its NATO allies on military and national security issues, and with countries in the Americas through the Organization of American States and the United States–Mexico–Canada Free Trade Agreement. In South America, Colombia is traditionally considered to be the closest ally of the United States. The U.S. exercises full international defense authority and responsibility for Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau through the Compact of Free Association. It has increasingly conducted strategic cooperation with India, but its ties with China have steadily deteriorated. Since 2014, the U.S. has become a key ally of Ukraine; it has also provided the country with significant military equipment and other support in response to Russia's 2022 invasion.

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, which is headquartered at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., 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 is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy in wartime.

The United States spent $877 billion on its military in 2022, which is by far the largest amount of any country, making up 39% of global military spending and accounting for 3.5% of the country's GDP. The U.S. has 45% of the world's nuclear weapons, the second-largest amount after Russia.

The United States has the third-largest combined armed forces in the world, behind the Chinese People's Liberation Army and Indian Armed Forces. The military operates about 800 bases and facilities abroad, and maintains deployments greater than 100 active duty personnel in 25 foreign countries.

There are about 18,000 U.S. police agencies from local to national level in the United States. Law in the United States is mainly enforced by local police departments and sheriff departments in their municipal or county jurisdictions. The state police departments have authority in their respective state, and federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Marshals Service have national jurisdiction and specialized duties, such as protecting civil rights, national security and enforcing U.S. federal courts' rulings and federal laws. State courts conduct most civil and criminal trials, and federal courts handle designated crimes and appeals of state court decisions.

As of January 2023, the United States has the sixth highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world, at 531 people per 100,000; and the largest prison and jail population in the world with almost 2 million people incarcerated. An analysis of the World Health Organization Mortality Database from 2010 showed U.S. homicide rates "were 7 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25 times higher."

The U.S. has been the world's largest economy nominally since about 1890. The 2023 nominal U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) of $27 trillion was the largest in the world, constituting over 25% of the global economy or 15% at purchasing power parity (PPP). 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 Group of Seven. The country ranks first in the world by disposable income per capita and nominal GDP; second by GDP (PPP), after China; and ninth by GDP (PPP) per capita.

Of the world's 500 largest companies, 136 are headquartered in the U.S. The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is the world's foremost reserve currency, backed by the country's dominant economy, its military, the petrodollar system, and its linked eurodollar and large U.S. treasuries market. Several countries use it as their official currency and in others it is the de facto currency. It has free trade agreements with several countries, including the USMCA. The U.S. ranked second in the Global Competitiveness Report in 2019, after Singapore. While its economy has reached a post-industrial level of development, the United States remains an industrial power. As of 2021, the U.S. is the second-largest manufacturing country after China.

New York City is the world's principal financial center and the epicenter of the world's largest metropolitan economy. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, both located in New York City, are the world's two largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and trade volume. The United States is at or near the forefront of technological advancement and innovation in many economic fields, especially in artificial intelligence; computers; pharmaceuticals; and medical, aerospace and military equipment. The country's economy is fueled by abundant natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure, and high productivity. The largest U.S. trading partners are the European Union, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, India, and Taiwan. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second-largest exporter after China. It is by far the world's largest exporter of services.

Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD member states, and the fourth-highest median household income, up from sixth-highest in 2013. Wealth in the United States is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population own 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom 50% own just 2%. Income inequality in the U.S. remains at record highs, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all income and giving the U.S. one of the widest income distributions among OECD members. The U.S. ranks first in the number of dollar billionaires and millionaires, with 735 billionaires and nearly 22 million millionaires (as of 2023). There were about 582,500 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. in 2022, with 60% staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. In 2018, six million children experienced food insecurity. Feeding America estimates that around one in seven, or approximately 11 million, children experience hunger and do not know where they will get their next meal or when. As of 2021, 38 million people, about 12% of the U.S. population, were living in poverty.

The United States has a smaller welfare state and redistributes less income through government action than most other high-income countries. It is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation nationally and is one of a few countries in the world without federal paid family leave as a legal right. The United States has a higher percentage of low-income workers than almost any other developed country, largely because of a weak collective bargaining system and lack of government support for at-risk workers.

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 and the establishment of a machine tool industry enabled the large-scale manufacturing of U.S. consumer products in the late 19th century. By the early 20th century, factory electrification, the introduction of the assembly line, and other labor-saving techniques created the system of mass production. The United States is a leader in the development of artificial intelligence technology and has maintained a space program since the late 1950s, with plans for long-term habitation of the Moon.

In 2022, the United States was the country with the second-highest number of published scientific papers. As of 2021, the U.S. ranked second by the number of patent applications, and third by trademark and industrial design applications. In 2023, the United States ranked 3rd in the Global Innovation Index.

As of 2022, the United States receives approximately 81% of its energy from fossil fuel and the largest source of the country's energy came from petroleum (35.8%), followed by natural gas (33.4%), renewable sources (13.3%), coal (9.8%), and nuclear power (8%). The United States constitutes less than 5% of the world's population, but consumes 17% of the world's energy. The U.S. ranks as the second-highest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Personal transportation in the United States is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers) of public roads, making it the longest network in the world. The Oldsmobile Curved Dash and the Ford Model T, both American cars, are considered the first mass-produced and mass-affordable cars, respectively. As of 2022, the United States is the second-largest manufacturer of motor vehicles and is home to Tesla, the world's most valuable car company. American automotive company General Motors held the title of the world's best-selling automaker from 1931 to 2008. Currently, the American automotive industry is the world's second-largest automobile market by sales, and the U.S. has the highest vehicle ownership per capita in the world, with 910 vehicles per 1000 people. The United States's rail transport network, the longest network in the world, handles mostly freight.

The American civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated since 1978, while most major airports are publicly owned. 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. Of the world's 50 busiest passenger airports, 16 are in the United States, including the top five and the busiest, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. As of 2022, there are 19,969 airports in the U.S., of which 5,193 are designated as "public use", including for general aviation and other activities.

Of the fifty busiest container ports, four are located in the United States, of which the busiest is the Port of Los Angeles. The country's inland waterways are the world's fifth-longest, and total 41,009 km (25,482 mi).

The U.S. Census Bureau reported 331,449,281 residents as of April 1, 2020, making the United States the third-most-populous country in the world, after China and India. According to the Bureau's U.S. Population Clock, on January 28, 2021, the U.S. population had a net gain of one person every 100 seconds, or about 864 people per day. In 2018, 52% of Americans age 15 and over were married, 6% were widowed, 10% were divorced, and 32% had never been married. In 2021, the total fertility rate for the U.S. stood at 1.7 children per woman, and it had the world's highest rate of children (23%) living in single-parent households in 2019.

The United States has a diverse population; 37 ancestry groups have more than one million members. White Americans with ancestry from Europe, the Middle East or North Africa, form the largest racial and ethnic group at 57.8% of the United States population. Hispanic and Latino Americans form the second-largest group and are 18.7% of the United States population. African Americans constitute the country's third-largest ancestry group and are 12.1% of the total U.S. population. Asian Americans are the country's fourth-largest group, composing 5.9% of the United States population. The country's 3.7 million Native Americans account for about 1%, and some 574 native tribes are recognized by the federal government. In 2020, the median age of the United States population was 38.5 years.

While many languages are spoken in the United States, English is by far the most commonly spoken and written. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws, such as U.S. naturalization requirements, standardize English, and most states have declared it the official language. Three states and four U.S. territories have recognized local or indigenous languages in addition to English, including Hawaii (Hawaiian), Alaska (twenty Native languages), South Dakota (Sioux), American Samoa (Samoan), Puerto Rico (Spanish), Guam (Chamorro), and the Northern Mariana Islands (Carolinian and Chamorro). In total, 169 Native American languages are spoken in the United States. In Puerto Rico, Spanish is more widely spoken than English.

According to the American Community Survey in 2010, some 229 million people out of the total U.S. population of 308 million spoke only English at home. About 37 million spoke Spanish at home, making it the second most commonly used language. Other languages spoken at home by one million people or more include Chinese (2.8 million), Tagalog (1.6 million), Vietnamese (1.4 million), French (1.3 million), Korean (1.1 million), and German (1 million).

America's immigrant population, 51 million, is by far the world's largest in absolute terms. In 2022, there were 87.7 million immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants in the United States, accounting for nearly 27% of the overall U.S. population. In 2017, out of the U.S. foreign-born population, some 45% (20.7 million) were naturalized citizens, 27% (12.3 million) were lawful permanent residents, 6% (2.2 million) were temporary lawful residents, and 23% (10.5 million) were unauthorized immigrants. In 2019, the top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (24% of immigrants), India (6%), China (5%), the Philippines (4.5%), and El Salvador (3%). The United States has led the world in refugee resettlement for decades, admitting more refugees than the rest of the world combined.

The First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion and forbids Congress from passing laws respecting its establishment. Religious practice is widespread, among the most diverse in the world, and profoundly vibrant. The country has the world's largest Christian population. A majority of the global Jewish population lives in the United States, as measured by the Law of Return. Other notable faiths include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, many New Age movements, and Native American religions. Religious practice varies significantly by region. "Ceremonial deism" is common in American culture.

The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in a higher power or spiritual force, engage in spiritual practices such as prayer, and consider themselves religious or spiritual. In the "Bible Belt", located within the Southern United States, evangelical Protestantism plays a significant role culturally, whereas New England and the Western United States tend to be more secular. Mormonism—a Restorationist movement, whose members migrated westward from Missouri and Illinois under the leadership of Brigham Young in 1847 after the assassination of Joseph Smith—remains the predominant religion in Utah to this day.

About 82% of Americans live in urban areas, including suburbs; about half of those reside in cities with populations over 50,000. In 2022, 333 incorporated municipalities had populations over 100,000, nine cities had more than one million residents, and four cities (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) had populations exceeding two million. Many U.S. metropolitan populations are growing rapidly, particularly in the South and West.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), average American life expectancy at birth was 77.5 years in 2022 (74.8 years for men and 80.2 years for women). This was a gain of 1.1 years from 76.4 years in 2021, but the CDC noted that the new average "didn't fully offset the loss of 2.4 years between 2019 and 2021". The COVID pandemic and higher overall mortality due to opioid overdoses and suicides were held mostly responsible for the previous drop in life expectancy. The same report stated that the 2022 gains in average U.S. life expectancy were especially significant for men, Hispanics, and American Indian–Alaskan Native people (AIAN). Starting in 1998, the life expectancy in the U.S. fell behind that of other wealthy industrialized countries, and Americans' "health disadvantage" gap has been increasing ever since. The U.S. has one of the highest suicide rates among high-income countries. Approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population is obese and another third is overweight. The U.S. healthcare system far outspends that of any other country, measured both in per capita spending and as a percentage of GDP, but attains worse healthcare outcomes when compared to peer countries for reasons that are debated. The United States is the only developed country without a system of universal healthcare, and a significant proportion of the population that does not carry health insurance. Government-funded healthcare coverage for the poor (Medicaid) and for those age 65 and older (Medicare) is available to Americans who meet the programs' income or age qualifications. In 2010, former President Obama passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

American primary and secondary education (known in the U.S. as K-12, "kindergarten through 12th grade") is decentralized. It is operated by state, territorial, and sometimes municipal governments and regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. In general, children are required to attend school or an approved homeschool from the age of five or six (kindergarten or first grade) until they are 18 years old. This often brings students through the 12th grade, the final year of a U.S. high school, but some states and territories allow them to leave school earlier, at age 16 or 17. The U.S. spends more on education per student than any country in the world,[386] an average of $12,794 per year per public elementary and secondary school student in 2016–2017. Among Americans age 25 and older, 84.6% graduated from high school, 52.6% attended some college, 27.2% earned a bachelor's degree, and 9.6% earned a graduate degree. The U.S. literacy rate is near-universal. The country has the most Nobel Prize winners in history, with 411 (having won 413 awards).

U.S. tertiary or higher education has earned a global reputation. Many of the world's top universities, as listed by various ranking organizations, are in the United States, including 19 of the top 25. American higher education is dominated by state university systems, although the country's many private universities and colleges enroll about 20% of all American students. Large amounts of federal financial aid are provided to students in the form of grants and loans.

Colleges and universities directly funded by the federal government are limited to military personnel and government employees and include the U.S. service academies, the Naval Postgraduate School, and military staff colleges. Local community colleges generally offer coursework and degree programs covering the first two years of college study. They often have more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition.

As for public expenditures on higher education, the U.S. spends more per student than the OECD average, and more than all nations in combined public and private spending. Despite some student loan forgiveness programs in place, student loan debt has increased by 102% in the last decade, and exceeded 1.7 trillion dollars as of 2022.

Americans have traditionally been characterized by a unifying political belief in an "American creed" emphasizing liberty, equality under the law, democracy, social equality, property rights, and a preference for limited government. Culturally, the country has been described as having the values of individualism and personal autonomy, having a strong work ethic, competitiveness, and voluntary altruism towards others. According to a 2016 study by the Charities Aid Foundation, Americans donated 1.44% of total GDP to charity, the highest rate in the world by a large margin. The United States is home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. It has acquired significant cultural and economic soft power.

Nearly all present Americans or their ancestors came from Europe, Africa, and Asia ("the Old World") within the past five centuries. 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. More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has added to a cultural mix that has been described as a homogenizing melting pot, and a heterogeneous salad bowl, with immigrants contributing to, and often assimilating into, mainstream American culture. The American Dream, or the perception that Americans enjoy high social mobility, plays a key role in attracting immigrants. Whether this perception is accurate has been a topic of debate. While mainstream culture holds that the United States is a classless society, scholars identify significant differences between the country's social classes, affecting socialization, language, and values. Americans tend to greatly value socioeconomic achievement, but being ordinary or average is promoted by some as a noble condition as well.

The United States is considered to have the strongest protections of free speech of any country under the First Amendment, which protects flag desecration, hate speech, blasphemy, and lese-majesty as forms of protected expression. A 2016 Pew Research Center poll found that Americans were the most supportive of free expression of any polity measured. They are the "most supportive of freedom of the press and the right to use the Internet without government censorship." It is a socially progressive country with permissive attitudes surrounding human sexuality. LGBT rights in the United States are advanced by global standards.

Colonial American authors were influenced by John Locke and various other Enlightenment philosophers. Before and shortly after the Revolutionary War, the newspaper rose to prominence, filling a demand for anti-British national literature. Led by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller in New England, transcendentalism branched from Unitarianism as the first major American philosophical movement. During the nineteenth-century American Renaissance, writers like Walt Whitman and Harriet Beecher Stowe established a distinctive American literary tradition. As literacy rates rose, periodicals published more stories centered around industrial workers, women, and the rural poor. Naturalism, regionalism, and realism—the latter associated with Mark Twain—were the major literary movements of the period.

While modernism generally took on an international character, modernist authors working within the United States more often rooted their work in specific regions, peoples, and cultures. Following the Great Migration to northern cities, African-American and black West Indian authors of the Harlem Renaissance developed an independent tradition of literature that rebuked a history of inequality and celebrated black culture. An important cultural export during the Jazz Age, these writings were a key influence on the négritude philosophy. In the 1950s, an ideal of homogeneity led many authors to attempt to write the Great American Novel, while the Beat Generation rejected this conformity, using styles that elevated the impact of the spoken word over mechanics to describe drug use, sexuality, and the failings of society. Contemporary literature is more pluralistic than in previous eras, with the closest thing to a unifying feature being a trend toward self-conscious experiments with language.

Media is broadly uncensored, with the First Amendment providing significant protections, as reiterated in New York Times Co. v. United States. The four major broadcasters in the U.S. are the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), American Broadcasting Company (ABC), and Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX). The four major broadcast television networks are all commercial entities. Cable television offers hundreds of channels catering to a variety of niches. As of 2021, about 83% of Americans over age 12 listen to broadcast radio, while about 40% listen to podcasts. As of 2020, there were 15,460 licensed full-power radio stations in the U.S. according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Much of the public radio broadcasting is supplied by NPR, incorporated in February 1970 under the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

U.S. newspapers with a global reach and reputation include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. About 800 publications are produced in Spanish. With few exceptions, newspapers are privately owned, either by large chains such as Gannett or McClatchy, which own dozens or even hundreds of newspapers; by small chains that own a handful of papers; or, in a situation that is increasingly rare, by individuals or families. Major cities often have alternative newspapers to complement the mainstream daily papers, such as The Village Voice in New York City and LA Weekly in Los Angeles. The five most popular websites used in the U.S. are Google, YouTube, Amazon, Yahoo, and Facebook, with all of them being American companies.

As of 2022, the video game market of the United States is the world's largest by revenue. There are 444 publishers, developers, and hardware companies in California alone.

The United States is well known for its cinema and theater. Mainstream theater in the United States derives from the old European theatrical tradition and has been heavily influenced by the British theater. By the middle of the 19th century America had created new distinct dramatic forms in the Tom Shows, the showboat theater and the minstrel show. The central hub of the American theater scene is Manhattan, with its divisions of Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway.

Many movie and television stars have gotten their big break working in New York productions. Outside New York City, many cities have professional regional or resident theater companies that produce their own seasons. The biggest-budget theatrical productions are musicals. U.S. theater has an active community theater culture.

The Tony Awards recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre and are presented at an annual ceremony in Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances. One is also given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are given as well, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award.

In the visual arts, the Hudson River School was a mid-19th-century movement in the tradition of European naturalism. The 1913 Armory Show in New York City, an exhibition of European modernist art, shocked the public and transformed the U.S. art scene.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and others experimented with new and individualistic styles, which would become known as American modernism. Major artistic movements such as the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein developed largely in the United States. Major photographers include Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, James Van Der Zee, Ansel Adams, and Gordon Parks.

The tide of modernism and then postmodernism has brought global fame to American architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, and Frank Gehry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan is the largest art museum in the United States.

American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously known as traditional music, traditional folk music, contemporary folk music, or roots music. Many traditional songs have been sung within the same family or folk group for generations, and sometimes trace back to such origins as the British Isles, Mainland Europe, or Africa. The rhythmic and lyrical styles of African-American music in particular have influenced American music. Banjos were brought to America through the slave trade. Minstrel shows incorporating the instrument into their acts led to its increased popularity and widespread production in the 19th century. The electric guitar, first invented in the 1930s, and mass-produced by the 1940s, had an enormous influence on popular music, in particular due to the development of rock and roll.

Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences. Jazz grew from blues and ragtime in the early 20th century, developing from the innovations and recordings of composers such as W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington increased its popularity early in the 20th century. Country music developed in the 1920s, rock and roll in the 1930s, and bluegrass and rhythm and blues in the 1940s. In the 1960s, Bob Dylan emerged from the folk revival to become one of the country's most celebrated songwriters. The musical forms of punk and hip hop both originated in the United States in the 1970s.

The United States has the world's largest music market with a total retail value of $15.9 billion in 2022. Most of the world's major record companies are based in the U.S.; they are represented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Mid-20th-century American pop stars, such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, became global celebrities and best-selling music artists, as have artists of the late 20th century, such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Prince, and of early 21st century such as Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.

The United States and China collectively account for the majority of global apparel demand. Apart from professional business attire, American fashion is eclectic and predominantly informal. While Americans' diverse cultural roots are reflected in their clothing, sneakers, jeans, T-shirts, and baseball caps are emblematic of American styles. New York is considered to be one of the "big four" global fashion capitals, along with Paris, Milan, and London. A study demonstrated that general proximity to Manhattan's Garment District has been synonymous with American fashion since its inception in the early 20th century.

The headquarters of many designer labels reside in Manhattan. Labels cater to niche markets, such as pre teens. There has been a trend in the United States fashion towards sustainable clothing. New York Fashion Week is one of the most influential fashion weeks in the world, and occurs twice a year.

The U.S. film industry has a worldwide influence and following. Hollywood, a district in northern Los Angeles, the nation's second-most populous city, is also metonymous for the American filmmaking industry, the third-largest in the world, following India and Nigeria. The major film studios of the United States are the primary source of the most commercially successful and most ticket-selling movies in the world. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around Hollywood, although in the 21st century an increasing number of films are not made there, and film companies have been subject to the forces of globalization. The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, have been held annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1929, and the Golden Globe Awards have been held annually since January 1944.

The industry enjoyed its golden years, in what is commonly referred to as the "Golden Age of Hollywood", from the early sound period until the early 1960s, with screen actors such as John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe becoming iconic figures. In the 1970s, "New Hollywood" or the "Hollywood Renaissance" was defined by grittier films influenced by French and Italian realist pictures of the post-war period. The 21st century was marked by the rise of American streaming platforms, which came to rival traditional cinema.

Early settlers were introduced by Native Americans to foods such as turkey, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup. Of the most enduring and pervasive examples are variations of the native dish called succotash. Early settlers and later immigrants combined these with foods they were familiar with, such as wheat flour, beef, and milk to create a distinctive American cuisine. New World crops, especially pumpkin, corn, potatoes, and turkey as the main course are part of a shared national menu on Thanksgiving, when many Americans prepare or purchase traditional dishes to celebrate the occasion.

Characteristic American dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, doughnuts, french fries, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrant groups. Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos preexisted the United States in areas later annexed from Mexico, and adaptations of Chinese cuisine as well as pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are all widely consumed. American chefs have had a significant impact on society both domestically and internationally. In 1946, the Culinary Institute of America was founded by Katharine Angell and Frances Roth. This would become the United States' most prestigious culinary school, where many of the most talented American chefs would study prior to successful careers.

The United States restaurant industry was projected at $899 billion in sales for 2020, and employed more than 15 million people, representing 10% of the nation's workforce directly. It is the country's second-largest private employer and the third-largest employer overall. The United States is home to over 220 Michelin Star rated restaurants, 70 of which are in New York City alone. Wine has been produced in what is now the United States since the 1500s, with the first widespread production beginning in what is now New Mexico in 1628. Today, wine production is undertaken in all fifty states, with California producing 84 percent of all US wine. With more than 1,100,000 acres (4,500 km2) under vine, the United States is the fourth-largest wine producing country in the world, after Italy, Spain, and France.

The American fast-food industry, the world's first and largest, pioneered the drive-through format in the 1940s and is often viewed as being a symbol of U.S. marketing dominance. American companies such as McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Domino's Pizza, among many others, have numerous outlets around the world.

The most popular spectator sports in the U.S. are American football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and ice hockey. While most major U.S. sports such as baseball and American football have evolved out of European practices, basketball, volleyball, skateboarding, and snowboarding are American inventions, many of which have become popular worldwide. Lacrosse and surfing arose from Native American and Native Hawaiian activities that predate European contact. The market for professional sports in the United States was approximately $69 billion in July 2013, roughly 50% larger than that of all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa combined.

American football is by several measures the most popular spectator sport in the United States;[539] the National Football League has the highest average attendance of any sports league in the world, and the Super Bowl is watched by tens of millions globally.[540] However, baseball has been regarded as the U.S. "national sport" since the late 19th century. After American football, the next four most popular professional team sports are basketball, baseball, soccer, and ice hockey. Their premier leagues are, respectively, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the National Hockey League. The most-watched individual sports in the U.S. are golf and auto racing, particularly NASCAR and IndyCar.

On the collegiate level, earnings for the member institutions exceed $1 billion annually, and college football and basketball attract large audiences, as the NCAA March Madness tournament and the College Football Playoff are some of the most watched national sporting events. In the U.S., the intercollegiate sports level serves as a feeder system for professional sports. This differs greatly from practices in nearly all other countries, where publicly and privately funded sports organizations serve this function.

Eight Olympic Games have taken place in the United States. The 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, were the first-ever Olympic Games held outside of Europe. The Olympic Games will be held in the U.S. for a ninth time when Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics. U.S. athletes have won a total of 2,959 medals (1,173 gold) at the Olympic Games, the most of any country.

In international competition, the U.S. men's national soccer team has qualified for eleven World Cups, while the women's national team has won the FIFA Women's World Cup and Olympic soccer tournament four times each. The United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and will co-host, along with Canada and Mexico, the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was also hosted by the United States. Its final match was watched by 90,185, setting the world record for most-attended women's sporting event.

The native flora of the United States includes about 17,000 species of vascular plants, plus tens of thousands of additional species of other plants and plant-like organisms such as algae, lichens and other fungi, and mosses. About 3,800 additional non-native species of vascular plants are recorded as established outside of cultivation in the U.S., as well as a much smaller number of non-native non-vascular plants and plant relatives. The United States possesses one of the most diverse temperate floras in the world, comparable only to that of China.

Several biogeographic factors contribute to the richness and diversity of the U.S. flora. While most of the United States has a temperate climate, Alaska has vast arctic areas, the southern part of Florida is tropical, as well as Hawaii (including high mountains), and the U.S. territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and alpine summits are present on many western mountains, as well as a few in the Northeast. The U.S. coastline borders three oceans: The Atlantic (and Gulf of Mexico), the Arctic, and the Pacific. Finally, the U.S. shares long borders with Canada and Mexico, and is relatively close to the Bahamas, Cuba and other Caribbean islands, and easternmost Asia. There are also rainforests as well as some of the driest deserts in the world.

The native flora of the United States has provided the world with a large number of horticultural and agricultural plants, mostly ornamentals, such as flowering dogwood, redbud, mountain laurel, bald cypress, southern magnolia, and black locust, all now cultivated in temperate regions worldwide, but also various food plants such as blueberries, black raspberries, cranberries, maple syrup and sugar, and pecans, and Monterey pine and other timber trees.

Some of the native U.S. plants, such as Franklinia alatamaha, have demonstrably become extinct or extinct in the wild; others, such as Micranthemum micranthemoides, have not been seen in decades, but may still be extant. Thousands of other native U.S. vascular plants are considered rare, threatened, or endangered, either globally (rangewide) or within particular states.

According to Armen Takhtajan, Robert F. Thorne, and other geobotanists, the territory of the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) is divided between three floristic kingdoms, six floristic regions and twelve floristic provinces, characterized by a certain degree of endemism:

Holarctic Kingdom:

Circumboreal crack

Arctic Province

Canadian Province

North American Atlantic Region

Appalachian Province

Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain Province

North American Prairies Province

Rocky Mountain Region

Vancouverian Province

Rocky Mountain Province

Madrean Region

Great Basin Province

Californian Province

Sonoran Province

Neotropical Kingdom

Caribbean Region

West Indian Province

Paleotropic Kingdom:

Hawaiian Region

Hawaiian Province

The fauna of the United States of America is all the animals living in the Continental United States and its surrounding seas and islands, the Hawaiian Archipelago, Alaska in the Arctic, and several island-territories in the Pacific and in the Caribbean. The U.S. has many endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. With most of the North American continent, the U.S. lies in the Nearctic, Neotropic, and Oceanic faunistic realms, and shares a great deal of its flora and fauna with the rest of the American supercontinent.

An estimated 432 species of mammals characterize the fauna of the continental U.S. There are more than 800 species of bird and more than 100,000 known species of insects. There are 311 known reptiles, 295 amphibians and 1154 known fish species in the U.S. Known animals that exist in all of the lower 48 states include white-tailed deer, bobcat, raccoon, muskrat, striped skunk, barn owl, American mink, American beaver, North American river otter and red fox. The red-tailed hawk is one of the most widely distributed hawks not only in the U.S., but in the Americas.

Huge parts of the country with the most distinctive indigenous wildlife are protected as national parks. In 2013, the U.S. had more than 6770 national parks or protected areas, all together more than 1,006,619 sq. miles (2,607,131 km2). The first national park was Yellowstone National Park in the state of Wyoming, established in 1872. Yellowstone National Park is widely considered to be the finest megafauna wildlife habitat in the U.S. There are 67 species of mammals in the park, including the gray wolf, the threatened lynx, and the grizzly bear.

The ecoregions and ecology found in the Western United States are extremely varied. For instance, large areas of land are made up of everything from sand dunes in the Central Basin and Range ecoregion, which makes up much of the State of Nevada, to the ecology of the North Cascades in Washington state, which has the largest concentration of active alpine glaciers in the lower 48. The densely forested areas found in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana have mostly species adapted to living in temperate climates, while Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, southern Utah, and New Mexico have a fauna resembling its position in the dry deserts with temperature extremes.

The western continental coast of the U.S., just as the East Coast, varies from a colder-to-warmer climate from north to south. Few species live throughout the entire West Coast, however, there are some, including the bald eagle that inhabits both the Alaskan Aleutian Islands and the California Channel Islands. In most of the contiguous Western U.S. are mule deer, white-tailed antelope squirrels, cougars, American badgers, coyotes, hawks and several species of snakes and lizards are common.

While the American black bear lives throughout the U.S., the brown bears and grizzly bears are more common in the northwest and in Alaska. Along the West Coast there are several species of whales, sea otters, California sea lions, eared seals and northern elephant seals. In the dry, inland desert areas of states such as California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico there are some of the world's most venomous lizards, snakes and scorpions. The most notorious might be the Gila monster and Mohave rattlesnake, both found in deserts in the Southwest. The Sonoran Desert has eleven species of rattlesnakes - more than anywhere else in the world.

Along the southwestern border there are jaguars and ocelots. Other mammals include the Virginia opossum, which occurs throughout California and coastal areas in Oregon and Washington. The North American beaver and mountain beaver live in forested areas of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The kit fox lives throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, while the gray fox occurs throughout the Western U.S.

The red fox occurs mostly in Oregon and Washington, while the island fox is a native to six of the eight Channel Islands in Southern California. These islands are also famous for their marine life and endemic species such as the Channel Islands spotted skunk, Garibaldi, island fence lizard, island scrub jay, bald eagle, and their non-native Catalina Island bison herd. The raccoon and spotted skunk occur throughout the Western U.S., while the ring-tailed cat occurs throughout Arizona, New Mexico, Western Texas, Utah, Colorado, and most of California. The American black bear occurs in most western states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Colorado.

The Channel Islands National Park consists of five out of the eight California Channel Islands. The Channel Islands are part of one of the richest marine biospheres of the world. Many unique species of plants and animals are endemic to the Channel Islands, including fauna such as the island fox, Channel Islands spotted skunk, island scrub jay, ashy storm-petrel, island fence lizard, island night lizard, Channel Islands slender salamander, Santa Cruz sheep, San Clemente loggerhead shrike and San Clemente sage sparrow. Other animals in the islands include the California sea lion, California moray, bald eagle, Channel Islands spotted skunk and the non-native Catalina Island bison herd.

The South has a large variety of habitats that range from the Mississippi River basin in Arkansas and Mississippi to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. As far north as the hills of Tennessee and Virginia, all the way down to the Everglades in the southern end of Florida. From the eastern-most point on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, as far west as the deserts and prairies of West Texas and Oklahoma. The warmer climate allows for rich biodiversity ranging from cypress swamps in Louisiana to the thick bays and the longleaf pine biome of the South Carolina Lowcountry. It is riddled along the way with countless salt marshes in every coastal state from the Carolinas, through Georgia to Texas, including the Mobile Delta that lies in the borders of Alabama.

The Southern United States is home to a multitude of reptiles and amphibians. The American alligator lives in much of the South - including every coastal state from North Carolina to Texas, along with the inland states of Arkansas and Tennessee- while the less widespread American crocodile is only found in southern Florida. The Alligator snapping turtle and more than forty other species of turtle are found in the southern U.S. including the eastern box turtle, red-eared slider, and the softshell turtle. Snakes in the region include the eastern copperhead, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, cottonmouth, and eastern coral snake, all of which are venomous. Some of the other reptiles and amphibians thriving in the South include the Carolina anole, razor-backed musk turtle, broad-headed skink, American bullfrog, southern toad, spring peeper and the coal skink.

Mammals of the region include the elk, the largest of which that was wiped out in the 1800s, but has been reintroduced and is making promising recoveries in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. There still remain resident populations in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. The American black bear is native to much of the South, but are prevalent in Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The Florida panther is the largest feline in the South and is exclusive to the wetlands of South Florida. White-tailed deer, bobcat, coyote, wild boar, red and grey fox are other mammals that inhabit parts of every state in the region. Wild horses roam parts of the South in small groups, which are remnants of horses brought by settlers in the 1400s and 1500s. These are mostly in coastal habitats.

Many water-dwelling mammals inhabit the South including the American beaver, muskrat, river otter, and nutria, which is an invasive species and has decimated plant life in the swamps of Louisiana. Weasels and mink also prefer being near water. Rabbits are common in the South; the eastern cottontail is found throughout the region, while the desert cottontail and black-tailed jackrabbit is primarily found in Texas, and Oklahoma. The swamp rabbit is found in wetlands of states like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas, while the marsh rabbit resides along the coastal regions of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Squirrels are also abundant. The eastern grey squirrel and eastern fox squirrel can both be found in every southern state. The southern range of the American red squirrel dips into the higher elevations of Virginia and North Carolina. Other common mammals are the Virginia opossum, raccoon striped and spotted skunk, groundhog and in parts of the South, the nine-banded armadillo.

There are over 1,100 species of bird in the Southern U.S. ranging from upland birds, to waterfowl. The South is home to many coastal birds including gulls, rails, gallinules, skimmers, grebes, sandpipers, cranes, and herons. Upland birds include wild turkey and ruffed grouse. Various game bird species such as the bobwhite quail and the woodcock. The eastern whip-poor-will and the Chuck-will's-widow belong to the nighthawk family and are found in every southern state. Songbirds make up the largest portion of birds found in this region.

In the prairie in the Central United States lives mostly animals adapted for living in grasslands. Indigenous mammals include the American bison, eastern cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, plains coyote, black-tailed prairie dog, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, prairie chicken, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, swift foxes, pronghorn antelope, the Franklin's ground squirrel and several other species of ground squirrels.

Reptiles include bullsnakes, common collared lizard, common snapping turtle, musk turtles, yellow mud turtle, painted turtle, western diamondback rattlesnake and the prairie rattlesnake. Some of the typical amphibians found in the region are the three-toed amphiuma, green toad, Oklahoma salamander, lesser siren and the plains spadefoot toad. In the Rocky Mountains and other mountainous areas of the inland is where the bald eagle is most observed, even though its habitat includes all of the Lower 48, as well as Alaska.

Rabbits live throughout the Great Plains and neighboring areas; the black-tailed jackrabbit is found in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, the white-tailed jackrabbit in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the swamp rabbit in swampland in Texas, and the eastern cottontail is found in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and every state in the Eastern U.S.

The groundhog is widespread throughout Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota. Virginia opossum is found is states such as Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas.

The nine-banded armadillo is found throughout the South and states such as Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The muskrat is found throughout the Central U.S., excluding Texas, while the American beaver is found in every central state.

Maybe the most iconic animal of the American prairie, the American buffalo, once roamed throughout the central plains. Bison once covered the Great Plains and were critically important to Native-American societies in the Central U.S. They became nearly extinct in the 19th century, but have made a recent resurgence in the Great Plains. Today, bison numbers have rebounded to about 200,000; these bison live on preserves and ranches.

Some of the species that occupy every central state include the red fox, bobcat, white-tailed deer, raccoon, eastern spotted skunk, striped skunk, long-tailed weasel, and the American badger and beaver. The wild boar is common in the South, while the American mink lives in every central state with the exception of Texas. The least weasel is found around the Great Lakes as well as states such as Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The gray fox is found in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and also around the Great Lakes region. The ring-tailed cat is found in the southern region, including in Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. There are many species of squirrels in the central parts of the U.S., including the fox squirrel, eastern gray squirrel, Franklin's ground squirrel, southern flying squirrel, and the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. Voles include the prairie vole, woodland vole and the meadow vole. The plains pocket gopher lives throughout the Great Plains. Shrews include the cinereus shrew, southeastern shrew, North American least shrew, and the Elliot's short-tailed shrew.

In the Appalachian Mountains and the Eastern United States are many animals that live in forested habitats. They include deer, rabbits, rodents, squirrels, hares, woodpeckers, owls, foxes and bears. The New England region is particularly famous for its crab and the American lobster living along most of the Atlantic Coast. The bobcat, raccoon and striped skunk live in every eastern state, while the American alligator lives in every coastal state between North Carolina and Texas.

Some species of mammals found throughout the Eastern U.S. includes the red fox and gray fox, the North American beaver, North American porcupine, Virginia opossum, eastern mole, coyote, white-tailed deer, American mink, North American river otter, and long-tailed weasel. The American black bear lives throughout most of New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Virginias, and parts of the Carolinas and Florida.

Shrews are common: the cinereus shrew, long-tailed shrew and American water shrew are widespread in the New England region, while the North American least shrew and southeastern shrew are common in the southeastern states. The American pygmy shrew, smoky shrew, and northern short-tailed shrew are found from the Appalachian Mountains to New England. The star-nosed mole lives throughout the Eastern U.S., while the hairy-tailed mole is more common from the Appalachians to New England in the north.

Hares are also common: the snowshoe hare thrives from the Appalachians to New England, the Appalachian cottontail is only found in the Appalachians, the New England cottontail is only found in New England, while the eastern cottontail is widespread throughout the east. While the white-footed mouse and muskrat are common throughout the east, with the exception of Florida, the meadow vole is found from the Appalachians to New England and the southern red-backed vole is found in New England.

The brown rat and the house mouse were both introduced and their habitat range throughout the Eastern U.S. Weasels such as the fisher and short-tailed weasel are found in the northeast. The eastern chipmunk, fox squirrel, eastern gray squirrel and the woodchuck are found throughout the region, while the southern flying squirrel and northern flying squirrel are more common in the southeast, the American red squirrel is more common in the northeast. The least weasel is native to the Appalachian Mountains.

The wild boar is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig and has spread through much of the southeastern region as an invasive species. The Canada lynx is found in parts of New England. Species of bats found throughout the east includes the eastern pipistrelle, silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, big brown bat, little brown bat, northern long-eared myotis, and in most regions the eastern small-footed myotis, gray bat and Indiana bat.

Of the marine life, the harbor seal is the most widely distributed species of seal and found along the east coast, while the hooded seal, bearded seal, grey seal, ringed seal, and harp seal are found in the northwest. Whales are common along Atlantic coastline. Whale species found along the entire coastline includes the Gervais' beaked whale, common minke whale, fin whale, sei whale, blue whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale, pygmy sperm whale, killer whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, True's beaked whale, and the Blainville's beaked whale.

The northern bottlenose whale and the long-finned pilot whale are also common along the New England coast. Dolphins are common; species found along the entire coastline includes the Risso's dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, striped dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin and the common bottlenose dolphin. Dolphin species found in New England include white-beaked dolphin and Atlantic white-sided dolphin, while species roaming the southeastern parts of the coastline include the Fraser's dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Clymene dolphin, spinner dolphin, and the rough-toothed dolphin.

Several sea turtles live along the Atlantic coast, including the hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, and loggerhead sea turtle. The green sea turtle and leatherback sea turtle are more common species along the southeastern coastline. Land turtles and tortoises found throughout most of the Eastern United States are the common snapping turtle, painted turtle, spotted turtle, diamondback terrapin, spiny softshell turtle, eastern mud turtle, northern red-bellied cooter, common musk turtle, eastern box turtle, and the yellow- and red-eared slider. While common species in the northeast include Blanding's turtle, wood turtle, and bog turtle, common species in the southeastern U.S. include gopher tortoise, pond slider, Escambia map turtle, Barbour's map turtle, eastern river cooter, striped mud turtle, loggerhead musk turtle, and the Florida softshell turtle. The smooth softshell turtle is for instance found in the Ohio River and the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.

Some of the snake species found in much of the Eastern U.S. includes the eastern racer, De Kay's snake, northern copperhead, ringneck snake, timber rattlesnake, eastern hog-nosed snake, milk snake, northern water snake, western rat snake, northern redbelly snake, plainbelly water snake, midland water snake, scarlet kingsnake, common kingsnake, queen snake, smooth earth snake, ribbon snake, and the common garter snake. Snake species mostly found in the northeast includes the smooth green snake, northern ribbon snake, and the eastern worm snake.

Snakes limited to the southeast includes the southeastern crown snake, pinesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, coral snake, pygmy rattlesnake, southern copperhead, water moccasin, eastern coral snake, eastern indigo snake, southern hognose snake, coachwhip snake, banded water snake, brown water snake, green water snake, Nerodia clarkii clarkii, salt marsh snake, mole kingsnake, pine woods snake, glossy crayfish snake, striped crayfish snake, short-tailed snake, swamp snake, rim rock crown snake, rough earth snake, southern black racer, rough green snake, western rat snake, eel moccasin, and the mud and corn snakes. The eastern fence lizard is common throughout the Eastern United States, with the exception of New York and New England.

The gray wolf once roamed the Eastern U.S., but is now extinct from this region. The eastern cougar as well was once as widespread as the cougar in the western parts of the country, but was deemed extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011. Eastern elk once lived throughout the east, but was extirpated in the 19th century and declared as extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1880. Moose as well once roamed throughout the east, but is currently only found in northern New England. Due to its highly prized fur, the sea mink was hunted to extinction in 1903.

Much of the fauna in Hawaii has developed special adaptations to their home and evolved into new species. Today, nearly 90% percent of the fauna in Hawaii are endemic, meaning that they exist nowhere else on Earth. Kauaʻi is home to the largest number of tropical birds, as it is the only island free of mongooses. The Javan mongoose is widespread throughout the archipelago, except on the islands of Lanaʻi and Kauaʻi.

Famous birds include ʻiʻiwi, nukupuʻu, Kauaʻi ʻamakihi and ʻōʻū. Unfortunaly, most of these birds and now extinct. The hoary bat is found in the Kōkeʻe State Park on Kauaʻi, wild horses live in the Waipio Valley, wild cattle by the Mauna Kea and the Australian brush-tailed rock-wallaby live by the Kalihi Valley on Oʻahu. The Hawaiian monk seal, wild goats, sheep and pigs live throughout most of the archipelago.

In Hawaii, three species of sea turtles are considered native: honu, honu’ea and the leatherback sea turtle. Two other species, the loggerhead sea turtle and the olive ridley sea turtle, are sometimes observed in Hawaiian waters. The Hawaiian green sea turtle is the most common sea turtle in Hawaiian waters. As well as turtles, the sea life consist of more than forty species of shark and the Hawaiian spinner dolphin is widespread. Hawaii's coral reefs are home to over 5000 species, and 25 percent of these are found nowhere else in the world.

The wildlife of Alaska is abundant, extremely diverse and includes for instance polar bears, puffins, moose, bald eagles, Arctic foxes, wolves, Canadian lynx, muskox, snowshoe hare, mountain goats, walrus and caribou. Life zones in Alaska range from grasslands, mountains, tundra to thick forests, which leads to a huge diversity in terrain and geology throughout the state.

Alaska has also over 430 species of birds and the largest population of bald eagles in the nation. From pygmy shrews that weigh less than a penny to gray whales that weigh 45 tons, Alaska is the "Last Frontier" for animals as well as people. Many species endangered elsewhere are still abundant in Alaska.

The Aleutian Islands are home to an abundance of large bird colonies; more than 240 bird species inhabit in Alaska's Aleutian Archipelago. Large seabird colonies are present on islands like Buldir Island, which has 21 breeding seabird species, including the Bering Sea-endemic red-legged kittiwake. Large seabird colonies are also present on Kiska Island, Gareloi Island, Semisopochnoi Island, Bogoslof Island, and several others.

The islands are also frequented by vagrant Asiatic birds, including the common rosefinch, Siberian rubythroat, bluethroat, lanceolated warbler, and the first North American record of the intermediate egret. Other animals in the Aleutian Chain include the Arctic fox, American mink, Porcupine caribou, northern sea otter, horned puffin, tufted puffin, Steller sea lion, spotted seal, ringed seal, northern fur seal and many more.

Because of its remote location, diversity among the terrestrial species is low. The archipelago has a huge variety in animals and more than 9,000 acres is a national park: National Park of American Samoa. The park stretches over three of the six islands in the archipelago: Tutuila, Ofu-Olosega and Ta‘ū. Eight mammal species have been recorded at American Samoa, of which none of them are critically endangered.

The mammals include several species of native bats, including the Samoa flying fox and insular flying fox. The avifauna includes 65 species of bird where the more unusual distinctive ones are the blue-crowned lorikeet, the spotless crake, the many-colored fruit dove, the wattled honeyeater, tropical pigeons, the samoan starling, white tern, black noddy and the red-tailed tropicbird.

There are many reptiles in the islands, including five species of geckos, eight species of skinks and two species of snakes: the Pacific boa and the Australoasian blindsnake. The marine life is magnificent and much concentrated around the colorful coral reefs. The Samoan ocean is a home to sea turtles as hawksbill sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle and the green sea turtle. Five species of dolphins live in the area: spinner dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin and striped dolphin.

Shortly after World War II, the brown tree snake was introduced to the island of Guam and caused much of the endemic wildlife to become extinct. Due to an abundance of prey species and lack of predators, the brown tree snake's population exploded and reached nearly 13,000 snakes per square mile at most. Ten out of twelve endemic bird species, ten lizards and two bats all became extinct as a result of the introduction of the brown tree snake. In recent years, a lot has been done by the U.S. government to decrease the number of brown tree snakes on the island. For instance in 2013, a $1 million program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped more than 2000 mice filled with poison on the island. In 2013, more than two million brown tree snakes were estimated to be on the island. Other introduced species include the Philippine deer, the Asiatic water buffalo, the marine toad and the giant African land snail. Several native species of skinks, geckos and a monitor lizard are still found on the island.

The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is home to 40 indigenous and introduced bird species. Some endemic bird species are the Mariana fruit dove, the Mariana swiftlet, the Rota white-eye, the Tinian monarch, the bridled white-eye and the golden white-eye. Other common, but introduced species, include the collared kingfisher, the rufous fantail, the fairy tern and the uniform swiftlet. The Mariana fruit bat is endemic to both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The sambar deer is the largest mammal and lives on several of the islands. The Mariana monitor, ranging up to 3 feet long, is also present on the island of Rota. The oceans are home to more than a thousand species of marine life, including for instance the coconut crabs, the mahi-mahi, the barracuda, tridacna, marlin and tuna.

Puerto Rico has 349 bird species, 83 mammals, 25 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 677 species of fish. Birds found nowhere else on earth include for instance the Puerto Rican owl, the Puerto Rican woodpecker, the Puerto Rican tody, the green mango, the Puerto Rican emerald, the Puerto Rican lizard cuckoo, the Puerto Rican nightjar and many more. All current endemic 13 land mammals are bats, which includes for instance the greater bulldog bat, the Antillean ghost-faced bat and the Parnell's mustached bat. Extinct native mammals include the plate-toothed giant hutia and the Puerto Rican cave rat. Reptiles unique to Puerto Rico include the Puerto Rican boa, the guanica blindsnake, the Mona Island iguana, the Puerto Rican worm lizard, the Puerto Rican galliwasp and the Nichols’ dwarf gecko. Amphibians native to the island include the Puerto Rican crested toad, the common coqui, the locust coqui, the wrinkled coqui, the forest coqui, the elfin coqui and the bronze coqui. Endemic fish include the Puerto Rican snake eel and the Puerto Rico coralbrotula.

The Virgin Islands National Park covers approximately 60% of the Island of St. John and nearly all of Hassel Island. The national park has more than 140 species of birds, 302 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians and 22 species of mammals. The tropical Virgin Islands are home to a huge variety of wildlife, including many unique species endemic to the archipelago. There are three species of sea turtles in the USVI that inhabit the local waters and utilize beaches for nesting: the green sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle and the leatherback sea turtle. Several species of sharks, manatees and dolphins roam the seas.

Horses have been an important component of American life and culture since before the founding of the nation. In 2008, there were an estimated 9.2 million horses in the United States, with 4.6 million citizens involved in businesses related to horses. There are an estimated 82,000 feral horses that roam freely in the wild in certain parts of the country, mostly in the Western United States.

While genus Equus, of which the horse is a member, originally evolved in North America, these horse relatives became extinct on the continent approximately 8,000–12,000 years ago. In 1493, on Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. caballus, were brought back to North America, first to the Virgin Islands; they were introduced to the continental mainland by Hernán Cortés in 1519. From early Spanish imports to Mexico and Florida, horses moved north, supplemented by later imports to the east and west coasts brought by British, French, and other European colonists. Native peoples of the Americas quickly obtained horses and developed their own horse culture.

Horses remained an integral part of American rural and urban life until the 20th century, when the widespread emergence of mechanization caused their use for industrial, economic, and transportation purposes to decline. Modern use of the horse in the United States is primarily for recreation and entertainment, though some horses are still used for specialized tasks.

Fossils of the earliest direct ancestor to the modern horse, Eohippus, have been found in the Eocene layers of North American strata, mainly in the Wind River basin in Wyoming. Fossils found at the Hagerman Fossil Beds in Idaho, called the Hagerman horse or Equus simplicidens are from the Pliocene, dating to about 3.5 million years ago (mya). Paleontologists determined the fossils represented the oldest remains of the genus Equus. The genus Equus, which includes all extant equines, was plentiful in North America and spread into the Old World by about 2.5 mya.

A 2005 genetic study of fossils found evidence for three genetically divergent equid lineages in Pleistocene North and South America. A 2008 study suggested that all North American fossils of caballine-type horses, including both the domesticated horse and Przewalski's horse, belong to the same species: E. ferus. Remains attributed to a variety of species and lumped as New World stilt-legged horses belong to a second species that was endemic to North America, now called Haringtonhippus francisci. Digs in western Canada have unearthed clear evidence horses existed in North America as recently as 12,000 years ago. Other studies produced evidence that horses in the Americas existed until 8,000–10,000 years ago.

Equidae in North America ultimately became extinct, along with most of the other New World megafauna during the Quaternary extinction event during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. The causes of this extinction have been debated. Given the suddenness of the event and because these mammals had been flourishing for millions of years previously, something unusual must have happened. The first main hypothesis attributes extinction to climate change. For example, in Alaska, beginning approximately 12,500 years ago, the grasses characteristic of a steppe ecosystem gave way to shrub tundra, which was covered with unpalatable plants. However, it has also been proposed that the steppe-tundra vegetation transition in Beringia may have been a consequence, rather than a cause, of the extinction of megafaunal grazers.

The other hypothesis suggests extinction was linked to overexploitation of native prey by newly arrived humans. The extinctions were roughly simultaneous with the end of the most recent glacial advance and the appearance of the big game-hunting Clovis culture. Several studies have indicated humans probably arrived in Alaska at the same time or shortly before the local extinction of horses.

Horses returned to the Americas thousands of years later, well after domestication of the horse, beginning with Christopher Columbus in 1493. These were Iberian horses first brought to Hispaniola and later to Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and, in 1538, Florida. The first horses to return to the main continent were 16 specifically identified horses brought by Hernán Cortés in 1519. Subsequent explorers, such as Coronado and De Soto brought ever-larger numbers, some from Spain and others from breeding establishments set up by the Spanish in the Caribbean.

These domesticated horses were the ancestral stock of the group of breeds or strains known today as the Colonial Spanish Horse. They predominated through the southeast and western United States (then New Spain) from 16th century until about 1850, when crossbreeding with larger horse breeds changed the phenotype and diluted the Spanish genetic features. Later, some horses became strayed, lost or stolen, and proliferated into large herds of feral horses that became known as mustangs. Modern domesticated horses that retain Colonial Spanish type include the Spanish Mustang, Choctaw horse, Florida Cracker horse, and the Marsh Tacky.

European settlers brought a variety of horses to the Americas. The first imports were smaller animals suited to the size restrictions imposed by ships. Starting in the mid-19th century, larger draft horses began to be imported, and by the 1880s, thousands had arrived. Formal horse racing in the United States dates back to 1665, when a racecourse was opened on the Hempstead Plains near Salisbury in what is now Nassau County, New York.

There are multiple theories for how Native American people obtained horses from the Spanish, but early capture of stray horses during the 16th century was unlikely due to the need to simultaneously acquire the skills to ride and manage them. It is unlikely that Native people obtained horses in significant numbers to become a horse culture any earlier than 1630. From a trade center in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, the horse spread slowly north. The Comanche people were thought to be among the first tribes to obtain horses and use them successfully. By 1742, there were reports by white explorers that the Crow and Blackfoot people had horses, and probably had had them for a considerable time. The horse became an integral part of the lives and culture of Native Americans, especially the Plains Indians, who viewed them as a source of wealth and used them for hunting, travel, and warfare.

In the 19th century, horses were used for many jobs. In the west, they were ridden by cowboys for handling cattle on the large ranches of the region and on cattle drives. In cities, these including transporting people via carriage and horse-drawn public transport. They were used for hauling freight and for farming. In some cases, their labor was deemed more efficient than using steam-powered equipment to power certain types of mechanized equipment. At the same time, the maltreatment of horses in cities such as New York, where over 130,000 horses were used, led to the creation of the first ASPCA in 1866. In the 19th century, the Standardbred breed of harness racing horse developed in the United States, and many thoroughbred horse races were established.

At the start of the 20th century, the United States Department of Agriculture began to establish breeding farms for research, to preserve American horse breeds, and to develop horses for military and agricultural purposes. However, after the end of World War I, the increased use of mechanized transportation resulted in a decline in the horse populations, with a 1926 report noting horse prices were the lowest they had been in 60 years. Horse numbers rebounded in the 1960s, as horses came to be used for recreational purposes.

In 1912, Russia held the most horses in the world, with the U.S. having the second-highest number. There were an estimated 20 million horses in March 1915 in the United States. But as increased mechanization reduced the need for horses as working animals, populations declined. A USDA census in 1959 showed the horse population had dropped to 4.5 million. Numbers began to rebound somewhat, and by 1968 there were about 7 million horses, mostly used for riding. In 2005, there were about 9 million horses.

In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimated there were about 82,000 feral horses in the United States under the supervision of the BLM on federal lands in the west. Additional feral horse populations exist elsewhere in the United States, especially on several islands off the Atlantic coast, where the National Park Service oversees populations of the Banker horse in North Carolina, the Cumberland Island horse in Georgia, and the horses on the Maryland side of Assateague Island, home to the Chincoteague pony. In Canada, a similar Atlantic population is the Sable Island horse of Nova Scotia.

Dogs in the United States have significant popularity and status – they are often treated as family members. Currently, the American Kennel Club is the largest registry of pure breed dogs across the world.

Some of the earliest archaeological traces of the existence of dogs in the United States can be dated back to 9,000 b.p. Dogs came to America after crossing from Siberia to Alaska, and it was during this period that the domestication of dogs began in America.

A variety of American dog breeds are noted to have been mixed with Spanish and French dog breeds. The European idea of registering dog breeds and breed clubs led to the foundation of Kennel Club in Great Britain in 1873. The American Kennel Club, prevalent in The United States, was highly influenced by this European predecessor. Currently, The American Kennel Club is the largest purebred dog registry, and registers more than 1 million dogs each year. The kennel club also organizes events for purebred dogs.

Dogs in the United States have been involved in activities separate from their role in individual families. Dog racing started in 1919 after the opening of a greyhound track in Emeryville, California, and continues to this day. Gambling on such races often occurs and, while it is usually not formally authorized by law, is technically permitted in eighteen states. Of these eighteen, fifteen currently contain dog tracks.

Dogs are also occasionally used in illicit activities, most notably dog fighting. All fifty states have criminalized managing, sponsoring, promoting or operating a dogfighting enterprise or inciting dogs to fight, with dogfighting being a felony in 48 states. Several of those laws specifically exempt the employment of dogs for managing livestock and for hunting.

In 1975, no states had recorded a crime conviction for any dogfighting offenses. By 2000 participation in a dogfighting business was illegal in forty-five states, punishable by fines of up to $150,000 and a maximum number of 10 years in jail, depending on the state in which the crime was committed. One notable case occurred in 1998, when, during a police raid, about 55 dogs were found in the California home of Cesar Cerda. It was later determined that Cerda used them for dogfighting. Following a conviction on 63 counts concerning animal cruelty, Cerda was given a jail sentence of 6–7 years.

In 2009, FBI and the Humane Society of Missouri carried out a raid in eight states, in which 407 dogs were collected and an estimated of twenty-six individuals were taken into custody. 17 suspects were found of guilty. This raid is considered as the "biggest Dogfighting raid" in the US.

Due to the popularity of dog ownership, dog parks are now found in nearly every city of the country. However, this prevalence has led a few towns, agencies, and others to enforce restrictions. Some towns and urban areas don't permit occupants to have certain types of big-sized dogs, while insurance agencies occasionally have similar regulations. Due to these actions, individuals are recommended to find out about local laws and regulations when considering a large canine. Additionally, numerous states have chain or leash laws that oblige canines to be on leash when they are outside.

After a rash of attacks within the mid-1980s, some leading to the deaths of toddlers, several American cities have severely restricted possession of Pit bulls, making them entirely illegal in some cases. These such laws have been termed "breed-specific legislation" and are often successfully challenged within the courts. A minimum of 2 states - Minnesota and Oklahoma - don't enable their municipalities to control possession of dogs in line with breed. Alternatively, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review two state supreme court decisions - in Kansas and Ohio - upholding ordinances that ban people from keeping pit bulls. These laws have also faced scrutiny outside of the United States, with the British Veterinary Association, The Kennel Club of London and others have opposed breed specific legislation.

Additional regulations apply to those involved in the breeding or sale of dogs. Much of these regulations come from the Animal Welfare Act (otherwise known as the "AWA"), which has come to be regarded as the acceptable standard for animal treatment. Under the rules set forth by the act, a dog stock breeder should be licensed with the USDA, and is classified a "class A" dealer. This can be outlined partially as someone "whose business involving animals consists solely of animals that are bred and raised on the premises in a closed and stable colony and those animals acquired for the only purpose of maintaining or enhancing the breeding colony .. [,and] any individual who, in commerce for compensation or profit... sells ... any dog... to be used as a pet." In 1971 breeders became subject to standards issued by the USDA for humane handling and care of dogs. Similarly, "class B" dealers should also be licensed and accommodate AWA laws. In 1993, the USDA issued a final rule requiring that all pet dogs and cats be held for at least five days before being offered to an animal dealer, which must hold a license. This was done to prevent the sale of stolen pets and give pet owners a chance to locate lost or stolen animals.

These are primarily animal brokers or distributors who don't breed dogs and usually hold them in facilities and negotiate their sale to pet shops. Retail stores that sell dogs are not explicitly mentioned by any federal law, but several state regulations on such sales exists. The final classification under the act is for individuals or business who are involved with displaying animals. Such entities are classified as C class and they are required to hold a Class C license. According to an estimate provided by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in 2009 there were about 9,530 facilities provided or licensed under the AWA:

Type

Estimate

A

3,898

B

1,031

C

2,732

Researchers/Other

1,257

AWA laws for dogs start with general housing standards. According to the act, the facilities at which dogs live are to be frequently maintained, and often cleaned and sanitized. In addition to this, facilities must effectively forestall escape, access by different animals, and injury. Cooling, heating ventilation, lighting, and running potable water are all compulsory, as well as "disposable and drainage systems that are made and operated in order that animal wastes are eliminated and therefore the animals stay dry," per section 3.10. Temperatures in indoor housing should not fall below forty five degrees Fahrenheit or rise higher than eighty five degrees for over four consecutive hours, and dogs should be provided with a daily lighting cycle. Furthermore, different kinds of animals should not be housed alongside other animals of which they are not compatible.

Outside of the AWA, there are additional legal issues pertaining to dogs that are handled by both states and municipalities. The practice of pound seizure (permitting felines and canines to be taken from shelters for research or experimentation) was ordered by three states in 2000, this law established in 2004. Alternatively, twelve states now forbid this practice.

Other practices considered commonplace in the United States are criticized or forbidden abroad. One such instance is the intentional ear cropping and tail docking of specific dogs routinely carried out in the United States for cosmetic purposes. These acts are prohibited in England and few other nations. While not illegal in the United States, both the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association are formally opposed to the ear cropping and tail docking of dogs.

Notably, many dogs in the country safely receive vaccinations on an annual basis. Since the 1950s, preventative measures have been taken against rabies for both domesticated and wild dogs. Such measures have eliminated canine rabies from the United States.

Complementing internal efforts, dogs entering the country can be subjected to inspection, most significantly dogs being imported from a country where rabies is present. In the event that a dog is brought over from a country determined to be "rabies free" by the World Health Organization, an inspection is not required.

The dog population experienced relative stability from 1987 to 1996, before seeing a yearly increase of 3-4% since that time. In 2000, there were 68 million dogs in the country, and by 2017 that estimate had grown to 90 million registered as pets, with about 40% of American households owning a dog.

In 2012, there were 83.3 million dogs and about 47% of households had a dog. 70% of the owners had only one dog, 20% of the owners had two dogs, and 10% of the owners had three or more dogs. In 2017 there was an average of 1.5 pet dogs per household.

In comparison, in 2017 there were 94.2 million pet cats in the USA, yet with fewer households having at least one.

At least 4.5 – 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. About 20 to 30 of these bites result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With the rise of E-commerce and more mail delivery, parcel delivery, Food delivery, and grocery delivery, dog attacks on delivery workers has been increasing. The owner is liable for any damage, injury, or emotional harm caused by the dog and the company is responsible for workers' compensation if the worker decides to press charges. There were 5,400 reported dog attacks in 2021 on USPS workers. In 2006 there were over 72 million dogs in the United States with over 44.8 million households or 39% owning at least one dog and that was an increase from 34.1 million or 37% of households owning a dog in 1988.

There are a number of dog breeds that originated in the United States:

Many different species of mammal can be classified as cats (felids) in the United States. These include domestic cat (both house cats and feral), of the species Felis catus; medium-sized wild cats from the genus Lynx; and big cats from the genera Puma and Panthera. Domestic cats vastly outnumber wild cats in the United States.

At least 67 species of sabertoothed cats existed in North America between 42 million and 11 thousand years ago before going extinct. Their disappearance can be attributed to both the changing climate at the end of the Ice Age and the appearance of humans in the Americas.

Some prehistoric animals referred to as "saber-toothed cats" were in fact marsupials and not cats at all, but called such because of their resemblance to true felines with large canine teeth.

Two main species of big cat once inhabited the United States. One is the jaguar (Panthera onca), which is related to many species of big cat found on other continents. Though there are single jaguars now living within Arizona, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States (in the states of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Louisiana) since the early 20th century; although it is found throughout most of South America, its territorial limit being lands further south than northern Argentina.

The other North American 'big cat' is the cougar (Puma concolor), which is also known as the puma, mountain lion, catamount, panther, and many other names. Despite weighing 70 kg. (150 lbs) on average and being called a 'mountain lion,' the cougar is not a member of Panthera and is more closely related to the domesticated cat than it is to lions.

Cougars can be found throughout the continental Americas. Though they may have been more evenly distributed in the United States and Canada (as far north as the southern Yukon border), their populations are currently highest in the western states and provinces respectively. However, western (and possibly southern) cougars are migrating and being encountered more frequently in ranges where the eastern cougar population was previously extirpated and declared extinct. This includes the US mid-west and east coast, and central and eastern Canadian provinces. Populations of cougars in Florida have always been continuous and well known.

Three mammal species in the United States are referred to as "wild cats": the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), and the bobcat (Lynx rufus). However, none of these animals belong to Felis, the genus of the wildcat and the domestic cat. The ocelot is found in low numbers only in Arizona and Texas (and was once found in Arkansas and Louisiana as well), and is in the genus Leopardus, small spotted cats that inhabit the Americas; the Canada lynx (distributed in the Western United States, New England, Alaska, and Canada) and bobcat (ranging from southern Canada to central Mexico) are both in the genus Lynx, which inhabit Eurasia and North America. The jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), found in Central and South America, also once occurred near the lower Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas, along with the margay (Leopardus wiedii); both are considered possibly extirpated from the United States.

The domestic cat (Felis catus) is a popular pet, with an estimated 93.5 million cats kept as pets and about one third of all households in the United States keeping at least one. Eighty-seven percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not require a certificate of health for cats brought into the United States, but cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry. Cats must be quarantined regardless of place of origin when brought into Hawaii and Guam.

Various organizations using the term Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and in United States all organizations using the name SPCA are independent; there is no umbrella organization. Some of the more notable organizations include:

  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Monterey County, California

  • San Francisco SPCA

The National Cat Groomers Institute of America is an organization devoted to training and certifying people in the grooming of cats. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, it was founded in 2007 by Danelle German, the organization's current president.

Cats Indoors! is a public education campaign by American Bird Conservancy and supported by the National Audubon Society and other conservation organizations to encourage control of cats in order to protect birds from predation by cats. The objective of the conservancy's campaign is that all domestic cats should be kept safely indoors.

About Greg Loucks

Greg Loucks was born on Friday May 9th, 1980 at home (mid-wife) in northwest Phoenix, Arizona (Deer Valley). Being that Greg was born on the same day as American Abolitionist: John Brown (1800), American journalist: Mike Wallace, musicians: "The Piano Man", Billy Joel and David Gahan, lead singer of New Wave band "Depeche Mode" and actors: Candice Bergen, Albert Finney, Glenda Jackson, Rosario Dawson, John Corbett and Allie Mills (mother "Wonder Years"), Greg also was destined for greatness.

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Flagstaff, Arizona 86001-7128

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