Land of Opportunity
The United States of America has been a land of opportunity and a symbol of hope for immigrants from around the world, since its Independence nearly 250 years ago. A better life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were the main reasons that made the early settlers decide to move to America. Despite the various challenges that they faced along the way, these pioneers and patriots, and the generations that followed, have worked hard to build an incredible country where people have the freedom and opportunity to make their dreams come true.
Individuals from a wide variety of countries and cultures immigrate to the United States and bring with them different ways of thinking which contribute to new discoveries, inventions and other technologies. Immigrants have been among the top business leaders, scientists, scholars, entertainers, athletes, politicians and other distinguished individuals living in the USA.
In short, US immigration has brought many benefits to both immigrants and the country that has welcomed them: it’s been a “two-way street”.
Geographically located in North American continent, the United States of America (USA) is bordered by Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, and sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. As a large coastal country, the US has thousands of miles of scenic seashores and beautiful beaches, where millions of Americans go to play in the surf and relax in the sunshine. Several mountain ranges rise high into the limitless sky (including the Appalachians and Rockies), providing picturesque places to enjoy activities in the Great Outdoors. You will also find rain forests in Hawaii, towering redwoods in California, peaceful pine forests in Colorado, and colorful oak and maple forests in New England. The middle section of the United States is a flat region known as the Great Plains, which is home to many American farms and ranches which produce much of the world’s food supply. There are also numerous rivers that snake across large sections of the country (such as the Mississippi, and Ohio rivers), while many lakes also dot the terrain (the Great Lakes being the largest). The desert regions of the southwest have become increasingly popular places to live in the USA, particularly for retirees seeking warm weather in cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix. As this summary shows, America’s geographical diversity offers something for everyone!
The United States has 50 states (the 48 contiguous states, plus Alaska and Hawaii), as well as the District of Columbia, where Washington, DC (the national capital) is located. Each state is further divided into several smaller counties. The top 10 largest states in regard to their territory are Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming.
The United States population is 328 million. The country’s most populous states are California (39.5 million), Texas (28.3 million), Florida (20.9 million), New York (19.8 million), Pennsylvania (12.8 million), Illinois (12.8 million), Ohio (11.6 million), Georgia (10.4 million), North Carolina (10.2 million), and Michigan (9.9 million).
The number of estimated immigrants in the country is 43-45 million, or around 14 percent of the total population, which is the largest immigrant population of any country in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 35% of the immigrants living in the USA reside in western states; 33% live in the South; another 21% make their homes in the Northeast; and 11% of immigrants have settled in the Midwest. Research by the Pew Research Center also reveals that the following US metropolitan areas have the largest immigrant populations: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington DC, Atlanta, Riverside, Boston, San Jose, Phoenix, San Diego, and Philadelphia (among others).
America’s most-populated cities in 2018 include #1 New York City (8.6 million), #2 Los Angeles (3.9 million), #3 Chicago (2.7 million), #4 Houston (2.3 million), #5 Phoenix (1.6 million), #6 Philadelphia (1.5 million), #7 San Antonio (1.5 million), #8 San Diego (1.4 million), #9 Dallas (1.3 million), and #10 San Jose (1 million).
The United States of America is proud to be a democracy with a written Constitution and Bill of Rights that establishes a system of “checks and balances” which limits the power of the government by dividing it between the national government and the 50 states. The power of the national government is further divided among the executive branch (i.e., the US President and the executive branch agencies), legislative branch (i.e., the US Congress, which is further divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate), and the judicial branch (i.e., the federal district and appellate courts, and the US Supreme Court). Similarly, the power of each of the 50 states is divided among the executive branch (i.e., the governor), legislative branch (e.g., state assembly), and judicial branch (e.g., district courts, courts of appeal, state supreme court). The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights limit the power of the government and guarantee the many freedoms (e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc.) enjoyed by people living in the USA. American citizens vote for their elected officials in local, state and national elections held on a regular basis. Although this system of government is not perfect, it does tend to be stable, since each branch of government at the national or state level can “check” or “balance” the power of the other branches.
America has the world’s largest economy, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of around $19 trillion per year. Services account for around 80.2 percent of GDP; industry makes up about 18.9 percent; and agriculture contributes approximately 0.9 percent. This booming economy is creating an average of 200,000 new jobs in the USA each month, resulting in a very low unemployment rate (3.9 percent in July 2018). Nonetheless, there are approximately 6.6 million jobs in the USA that are unfilled, because there are not enough workers available. Employers across the country are looking for workers to fill US jobs in construction, education, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, technology, and many other business sectors. This is good news for people who want to move to America, since there are millions of US jobs available.