Information about your trip to the USA
Your USA trip
Faster, higher, farther … the US is considered the land of opportunity and still the superpower with the largest economy in the world. They are home to the largest corporations, the most visited websites and the most famous brands worldwide. In the US, everything is a little bigger than normal, whether it’s shopping malls, cars or fast food portions.
A destination of superlatives with numerous attractions that has something for (almost) everyone to offer.
USA in a nutshell – some key data
- Total area: 9,826,675 km²
- Residents: 327.774.344 (23.05.18)
- Population density: 33 inhabitants per km²
- States: 50 states (+ 1 federal district + various island territories)
- Climate: from arctic to tropical
- Biggest city: New York City
- Capital: Washington D.C..
- Political system: presidential democracy
- Acting President: Donald Trump
- Highest elevation: Denali (6190 meters)
- Deepest point: Badwater in Death Valley (85.5 m below sea level)
The national borders of the United States cover a length of 12,221 kilometers, with the common border with Canada a total of 8,895 km long (2,477 kilometers are located between Alaska and Canada). The border with Mexico is significantly shorter at 3,326 kilometers. The US coastline on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico covers a total of 19,924 kilometers. In the north-south expansion, the US also brings it to about 2,500 kilometers and an extension of about 4,500 kilometers between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
From arctic to tropical – the diverse climate of the United States
Due to the sheer size of the United States of America and the geographic diversity of state to state there are extremely diverse climatic conditions. While the northern regions of Washington to Maine have a moderate, temperate climate, the further south one gets, the warmer it gets.
So you can speak in the southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and parts of Florida already subtropical climate. In the south of Florida even prevails tropical climate with rainy and dry season. In California, by contrast, the climate is more Mediterranean due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Sub-polar to arctic climate with long dark, cold winters is in Alaska, in Hawaii, however, there is a relatively constant tropical climate with mild temperatures.
The weather on the continent is characterized by passing high and low pressure areas. Due to the lack of West-East mountains, it can be very humid even in actually cooler cities such as New York City or Boston in the summer and on the other hand in Florida in winter, for example, in the winter quite cold. The hottest region of the US is the southwest. There, the weather conditions are sometimes extreme and you have to expect depending on the season with heavy rains, heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes. In the central part of the USA tornadoes occur again and again in the spring, in the autumn especially in the southern areas, like Florida, the danger of hurricanes arises.
Most rainfall occurs in the northwestern United States. The place with the highest precipitation rate is the town of Forks in the US state of Washington, which is known from the book / film series “Twilight”.
As a good travel time in the US is generally the spring, but this depends heavily on the chosen destination. Visits to Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, California or Wyoming are worthwhile in the summer, while the northeastern United States reveals its magic, especially in autumn. Then, in states like Vermont, Maine, and the north of New York, you can experience the Indian Summer with its beautiful foliage colors. A breathtaking sight that gives you the feeling of being immersed in other times.
From Alaska to Hawaii – in the USA, landscape offers (almost) everything your heart desires
Mixed forests on the east coast, deciduous forests in the south, mangrove rainforests in Florida, dry deserts in the southwest, taiga and tundra in Alaska or Hawaii with its approximately 1800 different flowering plants, the landscape of the USA is as varied as its climate and can be divided into several large landscapes.
Here one differentiates on the continent the coastal plains on the Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachian Plateau, the Canadian Shield, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin and the Inner Plains. All in all, a clearly visible outline can be observed on the mainland, as mountains such as the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachians move from north to south. In the lee of these mountains, for many, the epitome of the Wild West, the endless prairie with its desert and grasslands.
On the weather side of the mountains, you can still find extensive forests today, but compared to the whole of the USA – compared to the former woodland – not many of the original forests are present. Exceptions are, for example, the redwoods and the Hoh rainforest. The former biodiversity of the prairies is unfortunately no longer as it once was, but could be obtained through targeted conservation measures and areas many of the approximately 17,000 species of vascular plants.
Contributing to this are the 58 national parks and the many other protected areas of the USA, which provide a home for many animal and plant species. In total, around 400 different mammal species, 750 bird species, 500 reptile and amphibian species and more than 90,000 insect species live in the USA.
The 10 largest cities in the USA
- New York City (8.2 million inhabitants)
- Los Angeles (3.8 million inhabitants)
- Chicago (2.7 million inhabitants)
- Houston (1.5 million inhabitants)
- Philadelphia (1.5 million inhabitants)
- Phoenix (1.6 million inhabitants)
- San Antonio (1.4 million inhabitants)
- San Diego (1.3 million inhabitants)
- Dallas (1.2 million inhabitants)
- San Jose (1 million inhabitants)
The USA – melting pot of cultures
The history of the United States of America is a history of immigration. The Native Americans account for only about one percent of the population (with the exception of Alaska). Today, a total of 562 recognized tribes and 245 unrecognized groups are known.
The first to arrive in large numbers were Spaniards, French and English. In addition, from the 17th century people from West Africa (usually involuntarily as slaves) were brought to the North American continent. It followed from the mid-18th and especially in the mid-19th century many immigrants of German and Irish descent. Later, people from other regions of Europe, such as Italy, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and from about the second half of the 19th century, many people from East Asia and the Middle East also joined. A colorful mixture that can still be seen and felt throughout the United States today.
Today, 72 percent of Americans have European ancestors, while just over 13 percent of Americans have African-American roots. Asian immigrants make up around five percent of the population. Especially in the southwestern United States and Florida, many people of Latin American origin live. The German Americans account for more than 50 million, currently the largest population group in the United States. Most spoken language is English. A good half of Americans profess a Protestant church, but Catholics, Judaism and Islam are also great religions in the country.
In the US, society can roughly be divided into six social classes. One distinguishes the upper class, the upper and lower middle class, the working class and the lower class. Even today, there is a clear difference in the social structure between the black and white populations. Blacks usually have lower incomes, shorter life expectancies, worse education, are more involved in homicides and are more often sentenced to death.
Well prepared in your USA adventure
A trip to the US needs to be well planned to get everything going smoothly, from planning to the flight to your stay in the United States. We help you with that. The first question is: Do you need a visa? Visit our website for information on entry requirements and flights to the US, airports and fares. You will learn what to look out for in your luggage, on board the plane, and when entering the United States, and we’ll also provide you with an extensive US vacation checklist and comprehensive information on rental cars, roads, traffic rules, and more. You would like to work as an Au Pair in the USA? Or even live and work there permanently? So they come to the green card for the United States. Need the right mobile phone contract or prepaid card for your USA trip? In addition, you need a power adapter in the US because the US power grid is different.
The USA – the largest economy in the world
With a GDP of nearly $ 20 million, the US is the largest economy in the world. This is not least due to the many natural resources of the country, the rich mineral resources, fertile soils, the temperate climate and the length of the navigable waterways. They are mostly private companies that produce mainly for private consumption (two-thirds). Well-known companies are, for example, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft or Alphabet Inc. (“Google”). The main exporting country of the USA is Canada, main import country China.
Other countries, other customs – what you should pay attention in the US in any case
Fats, whoever travels to a foreign country, should behave properly there. But you have to know as a first-time visitors, how decent behavior is defined in the target country and what is different there. That’s why we’ve put together a lot of information on how to make your stay in the US a success. We give you an overview of the different time zones, media and means of communication. And we’ll tell you what to look for in terms of money in the US, whether it’s shopping or dining out. A generous tip belongs there for example to the good sound. And to keep you up to date on the latest developments in the United States of America, be sure to check our News section regularly.
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