Chapter 13: The United States
The United States of America is the third largest country by land area. The US population approximates 315 million. Its population density is about 34 persons per square kilometre. The United States is a multi-ethnic immigrant society, comprising diverse cultural and religious communities from across the globe. Until European colonization in the early seventeenth century, it was inhabited by the Paleo-Indians who migrated from Asia. About 70 per cent of the population is of European origin and 80 per cent are Christian of diverse denominations. Politically, the United States is a constitutional republic and a federation of 50 constituent states with separate legislative and administrative bodies. The United States is a representative democracy, with well-developed constitutional checks and balances on political power and administration. The United States is the largest market-oriented economy in the world and outright the world’s largest economy as measured by annual GDP, at US$16 trillion. While the United States has the third highest per capita income in the world, income inequality is among the highest of the developed countries. This has made the United States an inegalitarian society and stymied its social cohesion and progress. The US economy is post-industrial, although it remains a dominant manufacturing country. Agriculture contributes only about 1 per cent of GDP despite the country being the largest producer of some agricultural commodities such as corn and soybeans. About 68 per cent of US GDP is generated by the services sector.
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