Background: Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Over a span of more than five decades, the economy has achieved steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
Religions: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.);
Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census);
note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99%; male: 99%; female: 99% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $14.72 trillion (2010 est.); $14.33 trillion (2009 est.); $14.72 trillion (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $14.62 trillion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 2.7% (2010 est.); -2.6% (2009 est.); 0% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $47,400 (2010 est.); $46,700 (2009 est.); $48,300 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.2%; industry: 22.2%; services: 76.7% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 12% (2004 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%; highest 10%: 30% (2007 est.);
Labor force: 154.9 million;
note: includes unemployed (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7%; manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20.3%; managerial, professional, and technical: 37.3%; sales and office: 24.2%; other services: 17.6%;
note: figures exclude the unemployed (2009)
Unemployment rate: 9.7% (2010 est.); 9.3% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $2.092 trillion; expenditures: $3.397 trillion (2010 est.);
Industries: highly diversified, world leading, high-technology innovator, second largest industrial output in world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining;
Industrial production growth rate: 3.3% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 4.11 trillion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 3.873 trillion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - exports: 24.08 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 57.02 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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