With 325 million people, America is the third-largest nation in the world.
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Following a succession of waves of immigration, the nation has grown from its Native American foundations and attracted individuals from all over the world. As a result, it is among the most culturally varied locations on earth and is frequently referred to as a “melting pot.” It is practically impossible to characterise a “typical” American in such a large country.
The various races and cultures in American’s have had varying degrees of effect on the various regions, giving each one a distinctive balance. They are brought together by a shared belief in the “American Dream,” which holds that everyone can succeed and become wealthy with effort and aptitude. One of the things that creates a significant effect on newcomers from other nations is the fact that success is celebrated and appreciated rather than envied.
Because Americans place a high value on hard work, many employment contracts offer far less vacation time than would be provided by the majority of businesses in Europe. New hires frequently receive two weeks of vacation time at first, with the ability to accrue more time based on length of service.
For individuals who are from cultures where people are more quiet, Americans have a reputation for being outgoing and straightforward in their communication, which can take some getting used to. They frequently have a great sense of humour and willingly invite guests into their homes. Special groups are often formed to welcome new residents to the neighbourhood. The majority of Americans are patriotic, and it is strongly frowned upon to disrespect the nation or the national anthem.
The national anthem is typically sung at important athletic events, and most schools recite the pledge of loyalty every morning. Particularly on occasions like July 4th, when Independence Day is celebrated, the stars and stripes flag is flown in a lot of public spaces and outside a lot of residences. The American flag must never touch the ground, and even accidentally letting it dangle touching the ground can cause neighbours to react negatively.
Most people only have a very limited exposure to international news due to how localised TV news is prone to being. Compared to 60% of Canadians, 75% of Britons, and 75% of Australians, only 36% of the population has a passport. Although Americans are the second most travelled population in the world, just one in five of them go outside of the country. Most Americans are willing to relocate for work throughout the nation, even if many never leave their hometowns.
Although certain states have official or preferred languages, the US does not have an official language. 90% of the population speaks some English, making it the most common language. In contrast, it’s thought that 20% of people speak a language other than English at home. The most popular foreign languages are German, French, Chinese, and Spanish.
English is the primary language in the United States, despite it not being an official language. More than 93% of Americans, and 81% of them exclusively, can speak English fluently, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The US is home to about 30 million native Spanish speakers. The United States is home to native speakers of more than 300 languages, including English. About 150 of these languages are still in use today and some were brought here by immigrants.
In the United States, there are four main regional dialects: northeastern, southern, inland north, and midwestern. From what were formerly the “Middle Colonies” to the Midwest to the Pacific states, the Midwestern accent—which is regarded as the “standard accent” in the United States and is comparable in some ways to the received pronunciation everywhere in the English-speaking world—can be heard.
The quest for religious freedom was a common motivator for early Americans to immigrate here, and religion continues to play a significant role in American culture. According to studies by the Pew Research Center, almost every known religion is practised in America, while only 23% of people in the country say they are atheists. Approximately 71% of people identify as Christians, while communities of Muslims and Buddhists are also expanding.
Most major religions have places of worship in most cities, allowing people to maintain their religious practises. The separation of religion and the State is a fundamental American concept, however there have been instances of religious persecution of minorities in the nation.
Protestant Christianity has historically dominated American religious heritage. In 2016, 74% of Americans said they were Christians, and 49% said they were Protestants. Protestants belong to a number of denominations, with Catholicism (23%) being the largest. A large number of other religions, including Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism, are also practised in the United States. A majority of the 18% of Americans who do not identify with any religion, as well as agnostics and atheists, fall into this category. The government is a secular entity that upholds what is frequently referred to as the “separation of church and state.”
Both as a spectator sport and as a participant sport, sport is an integral component of American society. Popular sports including baseball, basketball, football (American football rather than soccer), and ice hockey are avidly watched on TV and bring sizable audiences. Each of these sports is uniquely American and more well-liked here than everywhere else on earth. The pursuit of fitness and outdoor activities, such as jogging, aerobics, skiing, and other participation sports, are also quite popular. Other sports, such soccer, athletics, tennis, and golf, are also very popular.
Baseball has been recognised as the national sport since the late nineteenth century; the other three top team sports in the nation are American football, basketball, and ice hockey. Large crowds are drawn to college basketball and football as well. By a number of metrics, football is currently the most watched spectator sport in the country.  Soccer is a popular youth and amateur sport in the nation, despite not being one of the top professional sports. Golf and auto racing, notably NASCAR, have surpassed boxing and horse racing as the most watched individual sports. Many outdoor sports, like tennis, are also well-liked.
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Due to the size of the country (around 330 million people), the number of native and immigrant influences, and the size of the continent, the United States has a very broad range of food. The cuisine provided at home varies widely and is influenced by the geographical region and the family’s own cultural background. Recent immigrants typically consume cuisine that is similar to that of their place of origin, but ultimately Americanized versions of these cultural delicacies, like American Chinese cuisine or Italian-American cuisine, arise; as examples, Vietnamese cuisine, Korean cuisine, and Thai cuisine.
The most recognisable elements in both cuisines are potatoes, noodles, roasts, stews, cakes, and pastries. German cuisine has a significant influence on American cuisine, particularly midwestern cuisine. The hamburger, pot roast, baked ham, and hot dogs are a few examples of American foods that have German influences.
Each region of the United States has its unique cuisine and cooking techniques. Cajun and Creole cuisine, for instance, are popular in Louisiana. Despite the fact that the meals themselves are original and distinctive, French, Acadian, and Haitian cuisine are all influences on Cajun and Creole cooking. Crawfish Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, Chicken or Seafood Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Boudin are a few examples. Influences from Italy, Germany, Hungary, and China as well as traditional Native American, Caribbean, Mexican, and Greek foods have permeated the American culinary landscape. In a single week, a “middle-class” family from “middle-America” would consume, among other things, homemade pizza, takeout pizza, enchiladas con carne, chicken paprikas, beef stroganoff, and bratwurst with sauerkraut.
The majority of American apparel, aside from traditional business wear, is varied and casual. While recent immigrants’ dress, in particular, reflects their different cultural backgrounds, cowboy hats, boots, and leather motorcycle jackets are distinctively American looks.
Levi Strauss, a Jewish-German trader who immigrated to San Francisco in the 1850s, popularised blue jeans as workwear, and many American teens adopted them a century later. They are currently often worn by people of all ages and social groups on every continent. Blue jeans, along with mass-produced casual clothing in general, are probably the U.S. culture’s most significant contribution to world fashion. Numerous prestigious fashion houses, including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, have their corporate offices in this nation. Numerous niche audiences are catered to by brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Eck Unltd.
In the United States, the federal, state, and local governments are primarily responsible for overseeing and funding education. At the elementary and secondary levels, attendance at school is required and essentially ubiquitous (often known outside the United States as the primary and secondary levels).
Students can choose between attending public, private, or home schools for their education. Elementary school, junior high school (sometimes known as middle school), and high school are the three levels of education that are often offered in both public and private schools. The majority of schools at these levels divide students into grades according to their age groupings. In the US, post-secondary education, also referred to as “college” or “university,” is typically controlled independently from the elementary and secondary school systems.
There were 76.6 million students enrolled in kindergarten through graduate programmes in the year 2000. Of these, 72% of 12 to 17-year-olds were considered to be intellectually “on track” for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). 5.2 million (10.4 percent) of those enrolled in compulsory education went to private schools. Over 85% of the adult population in the nation has completed high school, and 27% has a bachelor’s degree or above.
Americans started settling in greater numbers in the suburbs, a band encircling large cities with a higher density than rural areas but far lower than metropolitan areas, immediately following World War II. The vehicle, the availability of huge land parcels, the ease of more and longer paved roads, the rising violence in urban areas (see white flight), and more affordable housing are only a few of the reasons for this migration. These brand-new single-family homes were frequently included in sizable contracts for residences constructed by a single developer, and they were typically one or two stories tall.
The low-density development that resulted has been derogatorily dubbed urban sprawl. But this is altering. White flight is turning around, with a large number of Yuppies and upper-middle class Baby Boomers returning to metropolitan areas, typically in condominiums, such the Lower East Side of New York City and the South Loop of Chicago. As a result, many poorer inner-city people have been displaced. (Read about gentrification.)
Compared to the suburbs or small towns, housing in urban regions may consist of more apartments and semi-attached residences. The density and diversity of numerous diverse subcultures, as well as the presence of retail and manufacturing structures combined with housing in urban regions, are the primary differences between urban life and suburban living, aside from housing. Additionally, people who live in cities are more likely to use public transportation, and kids are more likely to walk or bike to school than be driven by their parents.
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Within a few days of a loved one’s passing, it is usual in America to host a wake in a funeral home. If there will be an open-casket viewing, the deceased’s body may be embalmed and dressed in elegant apparel. A ceremonial bath and no embalming are part of traditional Jewish and Muslim practise. People assemble to “pay their last respects” to the deceased, frequently travelling from far-off regions of the country. The casket is decorated with flowers, and eulogies, elegies, personal anecdotes, or group prayers may also be recited. Otherwise, participants sit, stand, or kneel while in silent reflection or prayer.
A funeral may be held right away or the following day. The ritual of the funeral differs depending on the religion and culture. The usual funeral service for Catholics in America is held in a church and occasionally takes the form of a Requiem mass. A service might be held in a synagogue or temple for Jewish Americans. The deceased’s coffin is carried by pallbearers to the hearse, which then makes its way in a procession to the location of ultimate rest, which is typically a cemetery. New Orleans’ distinctive jazz funeral includes dancing and upbeat, boisterous music during the procession.
In the United States, a “death industry” has emerged to replace earlier, more casual customs. Before funeral homes were common, a wake would be held in a regular, private residence. Frequently, the most opulent chamber was set aside for this use.