The World Factbook (1982)/United States

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This “Factsheet” on the US is provided solely as a service to those wishing to make rough comparisons of foreign country data with a US "yardstick." Information is from US open sources and publications and in no sense represents estimates by the US Intelligence Community.


9,371,829 km2 (contiguous US plus Alaska and Hawaii); 19% cultivated, 27% grazing and pasture, 32% forested, 22% waste, urban, and other


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm (fishing 200 nm)

Coastline: 19,924 km


Population: 232,195,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.0%

Ethnic divisions: 79.7% white, 11.7% black, 6.5% Spanish origin, 1.5% Asian and Pacific Islander, 0.6% American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut (1980)

Religion: total membership in religious bodies, 133,749,000; Protestant 73,704,000, Roman Catholic 49,602,000, Jewish 5,781,000, other religions 4,662,000 (1978)

Language: English, predominantly

Literacy: 99.0% of total population 14 years or older (1977)

Labor force: 102.9 million (civilian), unemployment 7.6% (1981)

Organized labor: 20.2% of civilian labor force (1978)


Official name: United States of America

Type: federal republic; strong democratic tradition

Capital: Washington, D.C.

Political subdivisions: 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake and Midway Islands; under UN trusteeship Caroline, Marshall, and Northern Mariana Islands

Legal system: based on English common law; dual system of courts, state and federal; constitution adopted 1789; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 July

Branches: executive (President), bicameral legislative (House of Representatives and Senate), and judicial (Supreme Court); branches, in principle, independent and maintain balance of power

Government leaders: Ronald Wilson REAGAN, President; George Herbert Walker BUSH, Vice President

Suffrage: all citizens over age 18, not compulsory

Elections: presidential, every four years (last November 1980); all members of the House of Representatives, every two years; one-third of members of the Senate, every two years

Political parties and leaders: Republican Party, Richard Richards, chairman; Democratic Party, Charles T. Manatt, chairman; several other groups or parties of minor political significance

Voting strength: national average of voting age population voting, 53.9% (1980 presidential election)—Republican Party (Ronald Reagan), 50% of the popular vote (489 electoral votes); Democratic Party (Jimmy Carter), 42% (42 electoral votes); John Anderson (third-line candidate), 6% (no electoral votes); other, 2% (no electoral votes)

Communists: Communist Party membership, claimed 15,000-20,000 (1981); general secretary, Gus Hall; in the 1980 presidential election the Communist Party candidate received 43,896 votes; Socialist Workers Party membership, claimed 1,800; national secretary, Jack Barnes; in the 1980 presidential election, the Socialist Workers Party candidate received 48,650 votes

Member of: ADB, ANZUS, BIS, CCC, CENTO, Colombo Plan, DAC, FAO, GATT, Group of Ten, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICEM, ICES, ICO, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, International Lead and Zinc Study Group, IMCO, IMF, INTELSAT, IPU, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, NATO, OAS, OECD, SPC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO


GNP: $2,368.8 billion (1979); 63.7% personal consumption, 16.4% private investment, 20.1% government, −0.2% net exports; $10,745 per capita

Fishing: catch 6.482 billion metric tons (1980); imports $3,648 million (1980); exports $1,006 million, (1980); est. value, $2,237 million (1980)

Crude steel: 113.7 million metric tons produced (1977), 618 kg per capita consumption

Electric power: 616,486,200 kW capacity (1980); 2,286.439 billion (net) kWh produced (1980), 10,245 kWh per capita

Exports: $181.8 billion (f.o.b., 1979); machinery, chemicals, grains, and road motor vehicles

Imports: $218.9 billion (c.i.f., 1979); crude and partly refined petroleum, machinery, and transport equipment (mainly new automobiles)

Major trade partners: exports—23.4% EEC (5.9% UK, 4.7% FRG), 18.2% Canada, 12.8% LAFTA, 9.7% Japan, 5.4% Mexico; import—18.5% Canada, 16.1% EEC (5.3% FRG, 3.9% UK), 12.7% Japan, 10.6% LAFTA, 4.3% Mexico, 4.0% Nigeria, 3.9% Saudi Arabia (1979)

Aid: obligations and loan authorizations (FY78), economic $6.51 billion, military $2.35 billion

Budget: (FY81 est.) receipts $605.64 billion, outlays $661,237 billion

Fiscal year: 1 October-30 September


Railroads: 286,885 km (1978)

Highways: 6,251,769.5 km (1978)

Inland waterways: 40,416 km of navigable inland channels, exclusive of the Great Lakes (1970)

Freight carried: rail—1,645.0 million metric tons, 1,360.0 billion metric ton/km (1980); highways—936.84 billion metric ton/km (1980); inland water freight (excluding Great Lakes traffic)—569.79 million metric tons, 319.01 billion metric tons/km (1979)

Pipelines: petroleum, 271,921 km (1979); natural gas, 408,203 km (1978)

Ports: 53 handling 9.07% million metric tons or more per year

Civil air: 3,208 multiengine transport aircraft—some 2,500 jet planes, remainder turboprop (December 1980)

Airfields: 14,746 in operation (1979)

Telecommunications: 162 million telephones (74 telephones per 100 popl.); 4,550 AM, 4,100 FM, and 990 TV broadcast stations; 436 million radio and 133 million TV receivers (1979)


Personnel: army 1,108,000, air force 790,000, navy and marines 1,013,000 (1979)

Military budget: $146.2 billion (1981 est. in current dollars)