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United States of America


The Unites States of America is located in Northern America, neighbouring the country of Mexico to the south and Canada to the north. It has 19,924km of coastline, and borders both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean. It is the third largest country in the world after Canada and Russia, with territory that spans 9.8 million km2. The country is inhabited by over 307.21 million people, 82% of which live in urban areas.

The country is divided into 50 states, which are further subdivided into counties, townships, municipalities and villages. Each state is delegated the power to oversee the running of local services and set independent laws. The US is a member of numerous international organizations, and it uses the US dollar for its national currency (USD).


The United States has both the largest and the most powerful economy in the world, based on its GDP purchasing power parity figure of $14.26 trillion. The service sector generates 76.9% of the countries total GDP, followed by industry which contributes 21.9% and agriculture at 1.2%. Important areas in the service sector include telecommunications, IT and banking, with the New York Stock Exchange being the largest in the world. The most profitable companies in the country, according to Forbes, are Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart Stores, BP, Chevron, Total, Conoco Group and ING Group.

Leading industries include automobile production, electronics, machinery and the manufacturing of other consumer goods. In 2009 The US exported $994.7 billion worth of goods, mainly to the countries of Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and Germany.

Agriculture also plays an important role in the economy of the Unites States. Most agricultural land is used for the cultivation of corn, soya beans, wheat, cotton, tomatoes and potatoes. While popular meats include cattle, chicken, pig and turkey.


There is a strong and diverse transportation infrastructure which spans the entire country, with travel made possible by road, rail, water and air. The United States has the largest amount of Airports operating in any country in the world, with a total of 15,095 paved and unpaved runways. The largest airport in America, and the busiest in the world based on 2009 passenger figures is the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which handles over 88 million passengers annually. Other large airports in the US include O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Dallas Airport(DFW), Denver Airport (DEN), and John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York.

Most passenger transport is via the 6.5 million km of modern roads and expressways that connect all states in the country. All of the highway systems are maintained and operated by the governments of each state, thus the speed limits and number of toll ways vary from state to state. The largest bus company is Greyhound, who provide the most number of inter-state, long-distance bus transportation options. Most of the rail network is operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), which has a dense network and frequent services in New York, Chicago and Washington DC.

The US has 19,312km of navigable waterways, and most cargo transportation is done via one of the countries 30 major ports and harbours. There are a total of 422 merchant marine belonging to the country, including cargo carriers, chemical tankers, and passenger cruise ships.


The United States has the third largest labourforce in the world, after China and India, with 154.1 million people in employment. Over a third of the labour-force work in managerial, technical and professional positions, a quarter in sales and office jobs and 20% in manufacturing and transportation. An estimated 79.7% of the population are white, 12% black and 4% Asian. Different states have mixed ethnic minority groups, and communities and New York and Sacramento are considered to be the most ethnically diverse cities in America. English is the de facto language, which is spoken by 82.1% of the population, while 10.7% can speak Spanish fluently. Numerous immigrant languages are present in the country, such as Chinese, French, German, Italian and Japanese.

The Untied States has one of the most developed and modern education systems in the world. Laws regarding education vary from state to state, with each area being handed its own judicial power to control funding, teaching, and other policies. Compulsory education is provided by the state free of charge, but the total length of mandatory attendance ranges from 7 years to 14 years, depending on the state. The education system works on a graded structure from kindergarten to high school, it is also legal to educate offspring in an approved home-schooling programme. There are over 4000 universities that offer internationally accredited degree programmes, some of the most prestigious universities include Harvard, Yale and Princeton. The United States has a high national literacy rate of 99%.

Business Costs

The Cushman & Wakefield, Office Space Around the World Report 2010 details the average cost of office space rentals throughout different cities in the U.S. Excluding New York, costs are generally lower than those found in developed Western European capital cities such as London and Paris. Areas which saw a 2009 increase are Silicon Valley CBD, Miami and Dallas, where rentals cost and average of $45.34, $55.50 and $28.20 per square foot per annum respectively. Midtown New York City has the highest rental costs in the country at $104.69 per square foot per annum, while some of the lowest rate are found in the Atlanta CBD at $24.67 per square foot per annum.

The taxation system in the US is complex, consisting of various local, municipal and county taxes, the personal tax rate works on a progressive system which ranges from 10% - 35% of gross annual income. There are numerous deductions, and separate tax rates for married couples who file their tax together. America is unique in the fact that it is only one of the only countries in the world to have corporate taxes that also work on a progressive scale. The corporate tax rate ranges from 15% - 35%, depending on the amount earned by the corporation in any given tax year. America is also one of the few nations in the world that doesn’t have a current value added tax on goods and services.

America has legislation to protect workers rights, including a minimum wage pact. Any jobs that are covered by the Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA), are entitled to a minimum of $7.25 an hour, based on a 40 hour work week. Each state sets its own rules and regulations regarding minimum wages, highest minimum wages are found in California, Connecticut and Oregon, while the lowest wages are in Wyoming and Minnesota.
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