About United States of America
The United States of America (USA or U.S.A.), commonly called the United States (US or U.S.) and colloquially as America, is a federal republic consisting of fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is situated in the northwest portion of the continent, with Canada to its east and Russia to its west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also possesses several territories in the Pacific and Caribbean.
The United States includes a wide variety of climate types due to its large size, range of geographic features, and non-contiguous arrangement. In the United States to the west of the 100th meridian, much of the USA is semi- arid to desert in the far southwestern USA. To the east of the 100th meridian, the climate is humid continental in the northern areas (locations above 40 north latitude), to humid temperate in the central and Atlantic coast regions, to humid subtropical in the Gulf and south Atlantic regions. The southern tip of Florida is tropical. Much of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the Cascade Range are alpine. The climate along the coast of California is Mediterranean, while the upper West coast is areas in coastal Oregon and Washington are cool temperate oceanic. The state of Alaska on the northwestern corner of the North American continent is largely subarctic, with an oceanic climate in its southern edge and a polar climate in the north. The archipelago state of Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is tropical.
English (American English) is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2010, about 230 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language. Some Americans advocate making English the country’s official language, as it is in at least twenty-eight states. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii by state law.