Country Spotlight: USA

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Full name: United States of America
Capital city: Washington D.C.
Population: 327,167,434 (1 July 2018)
GDP in Current Prices: USD $20.891 trillion (2018) – ranked # 1
GDP real growth: 2.9% (2018)
Area: 9,833,520 km² (land 9,531,905 km²)
Government: Federal presidential constitutional republic
President: Donald Trump
Vice President: Mike Pence
Currency: United States Dollar ($) (USD)
HDI: 13th (2018) – “very high”
Ease of doing business index: 8th (2018/19)
Time Zones:
Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST) GMT -5
Central Standard Time Zone (CST) GMT -6
Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST) GMT -7
Pacific Standard Time Zone (PST) GMT -8
(All zones switched to Daylight Saving Time from
Sunday March 10, 2019 until Sunday November 3, 2019)
Dialling code: 1


The United States of America (USA), also commonly known simply as the US, is primarily a country within the continent of North America. The area known as the contiguous United States, which consists of 48 of the 50 states plus the federal district of Columbia, has a total area of 8,081,867 km² and is bordered to the north by Canada, to the south by Mexico and by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The 49th state, Alaska, is situated to the northeast of Canada and is the largest state by area, while the 50th state, Hawaii, is a group of islands located in the Pacific Ocean within the continent of Oceania.

The District of Columbia is more commonly referred to as Washington D.C. and is the capital of the United States, named after the country’s first president George Washington, one of the country’s Founding Fathers and president from 1789 to 1787. The Constitution of the original thirteen states – created and presented during September 1787, ratified on June 21, 1788 and effective from March 4, 1789 – allowed for a federal district to be created along the Potomac River on the East Coast between the states of Maryland and Virginia that would be under the direct jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.

In total, the US is the fourth largest country by total area and the third most populous country in the world after China and India, with over 327 million people from various ethnic backgrounds. There is no official national language as such, but English is spoken as a first language at home by around 79% of the population aged 5+, compared with Spanish by 13% and Chinese dialects by 1%. Alaska and Hawaii also recognise their native languages, while French is widely used in Louisiana.

Table 1. List of US States by Total Area and Population






















Economy and trade

The US has been the largest economy in the world for several decades, growing by about 4% each year since 1999 on average (an average of 2.0% in real growth). In 2018, the nominal GDP exceeded US $20 trillion, of which Services accounted for an estimated 80%, Industry 19% and Agriculture just under 1%. However, comparing GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, the US ranks second behind China, having been overtaken in 2014. On a GDP per capita basis, the US currently ranks 8th highest according to IMF 2018 figures (US $62,606).

The country is rich in natural resources and is one of the world’s producers of oil and natural gas. It is also one of the world’s largest industrial manufacturing markets. In this regard, the US has attracted immigrants from all over the globe and continues to attract skilled workers. Its biggest trade partners are China (18% of 2017 imports and exports), Mexico (14%), Canada (12%), Japan (6%), Germany (5%) and the UK (3%).

The United States has been at the forefront of scientific research and technological development since the start of the last century and is home to many of the top global companies, particularly within the financial and IT sectors. The US also ranked first last year for the breadth and quality of its universities and higher education facilities, attracting international students particularly from Asia.

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