70 Interesting Facts About The United States

Last updated on December 29th, 2018

The United States of America is a country consisting of 50 independent states in the northern part of America, sixteen territories and a district of Columbia (Washington D.C.). It is the world’s third most populous country after China and India and the world’s fourth largest country by land area after Russia, Canada, and China.

Facts About The United States

1. The United States of America is also referred to as “the States”, “the United States”, “the U.S.”, “the USA”, and “America”.

2. In 1783, the United States became the first country to gain independence from a European power.[1]

3. Did you know that the GPS is operated and maintained by the U.S. Air Force? The Global Positioning System is a utility that provides users with positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services. The system consists of three segments: the space segment, the control segment, and the user segment. Learn more about GPS.

4. The first constitution of the United States was adopted in 1788. For the acceptance of the constitution which was proposed in 1787, nine states needed to vote in its favor. Delaware was the first state and New Hampshire was the ninth state to accept the constitution, thus making it legal. [1,8]

5. The current U.S. flag was designed by a high school student – Robert G. Heft.

Flag of the United States 

U.S. flag
The U.S. flag. Image credit – CIA. Note: the design and colors have been the basis for a number of other flags, including Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico.

6. There are 13 stripes on the American National flag, representing the original thirteen colonies? And there were thirteen stars arranged in a circle. However, today, there are 50 stars for 50 states. The flag has had 27 versions since its debut.[14]

7. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP and the world’s second-largest economy by PPP. It is also the third most populated country in the world after China and India.[1]

8. Did you know that Rhode Island witnessed the beginning of the American Revolution? It was here that the first successful water-powered cotton-spinning factory went into operation in the 1790s.

9. Did you know that the United States has the world’s largest coal reserves? However, note that China is the world’s biggest consumer and producer of coal.[41]

10. The phrase “United States of America” was first published anonymously in the Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776.[1]

11. Did you know that more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese? Obesity costs Americans $147 billion each year. Colorado has the lowest obesity rates.[19]

United States on the map

12. The United States experiences the highest rate of tornadoes of any country in the world. On an average, the country deals with more than 1000 tornadoes every year.

13. Alaska has the longest coastline of any state while Florida has the second longest.[15]

14. Did you know that gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento, California in 1948? Interestingly, by 1850 nearly 300,000 immigrants had arrived to seek their fortune.

15. The United States of America has the world’s largest air force. It was founded on September 18, 1947. The USAF with more than 5,369 military aircraft is the most technologically advanced air force in the world.[12]

16. Michael Phelps, a retired swimmer, from the United States is the most decorated and the most successful Olympian of all times. He has won 28 medals. Phelps won eight gold medals at 2008 Beijing Games.[9]

17. Mount Rushmore Monument in the United States shows the heads of the four former presidents of the United States (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.)

Mount Rushmore Monument
Mount Rushmore as seen from visitor area, July 2017. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

18. The United States (9,833,517 sq km) is more than twice the size of the European Union (4,475,757 sq km).

19. The first United States Census was taken in 1790. The census takes place every ten years and counts all people living in the U.S.

20.  Spanish is the second most common language spoken in the U.S. However, the U.S. does not have any official language.[14]

21. Lasting from 1929 to 1939, The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of America. The economic crash happened because of the soaring stock prices and the decline in production of goods coupled with rising unemployment. The crash of the stock market kick-started the depression which eventually left millions unemployed, furthered slowdown of production, and led to the failure of more than half of the country’s banks.[3]

22. In 1800 the U.S. population was approximately 5,309,000 and by 1850 it was 23,191,867.

23. The U.S. was formed by thirteen colonies of Great Britain after defeating Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was issued.

24. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States. In 2012, he was re-elected as the country’s president. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump.

25. Did you know that Los Angeles ranks as the city with worst traffic in the United States?[43] Once again, it is interesting to note here that Elon Musk is trying to solve this problem with his new venture “The Boring Company”. The initial Test Tunnel, located in Hawthorne, CA is used for testing and development of the company’s transportation system. Learn more about the tunnel here.

26. The country has a large population. However, due to the fact that it also has an extensive area under its territory, the population density of America is relatively low.[4]

27. Death Valley is the lowest point in the continent and Mt. McKinley is the highest point in North America.[16]

28. The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine which is allegedly shipped from Columbia.[5]

29.  George Washington was the first president of the United States.

30. To the west of the United States lies the Pacific Ocean and to the East lies the Atlantic Ocean. Mexico lies at the southern end of the country and thus connects the U.S. with the other South American countries.

31. The horizontal width of the U.S. is 2860 miles and the vertical length of the country is 1582 miles. Hawaii is the widest U.S. state from east to west.[17,18]

32. Did you know that the Everglades National Park is the only ecosystem in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist side by side?[42]

33. The geographical center of the 48 contiguous U.S. states is located at 39°50′N 98°35′W. However, the geographic center of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) is located at a point northeast of Belle Fourche, South Dakota.[6]

34. The United States has 16 territories out of which five are permanently inhabited (Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.) These five are classified as unincorporated territories. The other uninhabited 11 territories of the U.S. include Bajo Nuevo Bank, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, Serranilla Bank and Wake Island (these 11 territories have no permanent or native population).[7]`

35. Did you know that the U.S. Patent Act was passed in Philadelphia in 1790?

36. Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S. president to own a patent and a saloon.[13] 

37. Did you know that before 1776, the United States was not a single country? The individual states were colonies of the British Empire, called British Colonies. Initially, thirteen colonies came together to become a new country. The first permanent British settlement was in Virginia, at Jamestown, in 1607.[10]

38. Did you know that the important ideas for the declaration of independence were contributed by a committee of five people including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, John Adams and Roger Sherman? Although the credit for authoring the Declaration of Independence is often given to Thomas Jefferson.[11]

39. On the back of the Declaration of Independence, a few words are handwritten that say “Original Declaration of Independence/ dated 4th July 1776”. However, it is not known who wrote this. About 200 copies of the declaration were made. The original copy of the document is housed and displayed at the National Archives in Washington DC.[11]

40. Four of the forty-five presidents of the United States have been assassinated in office.[13]

41. The United States is the first country to have developed nuclear weapon and the only country to have used them in combat.[1]

42. The United States and Russia both claim to have landed on the moon for the first time in history in 1969.[1]

43. Did you know that the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for just US$7.2 million in 1867?

44. After Christianity and Judaism, Islam is the third largest religion in number in the U.S.

45. Three U.S. presidents died on 4th of July. Thomas Jefferson and John Adam died on July 4, 1826, while John Monroe died on July 4, 1831.[20]

46. The only point shared by four states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) in the U.S. is the Four Corners Monument.[22]

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/four-corners-monument - facts about the United States
The Four Corners MonumentImage credit – Wikipedia.org

47. Did you know that Nelson Mandela was on U.S. terror watch list until 2008?[21] 

48. According to Title 3 of the US Code, the U.S. president earns a salary of $400,000 a year.[23]

49. The first oil drilling started near Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859.

50. In 2001, the first self contained artificial heart was successfully implanted into a man with end heart failure at the Jewish Hospital of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.[39]

51. Did you know that a US company is trying to build a human colony on Mars? It takes about 7 months to get to Mars from the Earth. Musk and SpaceX have proposed the development of Mars transportation infrastructure in order to facilitate the eventual colonization of Mars.[40]

52. Did you know that Yellowstone (Area: 8,991 km²) was the first national park in the U.S.? It was established in 1872. The National Park Service was established in 1916.

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