Living in the USA guide

Find out all you need to know to relocate and live in the USA with the expat guide

Our selection of articles for expatriation in the USA

Dating in the USA

Dating in a foreign country can be intimidating. You may be worried about the right things to say, how to behave, where to meet ...

Renting options in New York

Known as the biggest city in the United States, New York is home to world-famous monuments and jaw-dropping views that are to die ...

Renting options in Los Angeles

Renting is the most popular type of accommodation in Los Angeles, and there is always a plethora of options available at any ...

Study in the USA

The United States is home to some of the world's best universities. Consequently, it is a country where many people wish to ...

Miami's labour market

Miami is a large city in the South East of the United States, part of the biggest metropolitan area in the state of Florida. It's ...

Leisure activities in Miami

You need no formal introduction to the glitz and glamour of the Magic City, coupled with the deep blue oceans and sunny weather ...

Adapting to the New York culture

Surviving in a new environment can be particularly challenging when moving to a big city like New York. Here are some tips to ...

Leisure activities in New York City

Regardless of the season, the temperature or the day of the year, New York is a city that remains both vibrant and lively all ...

Setting up a business in the USA

Many people dream of being their own boss and building their own little empire from scratch. The United States is home to the ...

Obtaining Permanent Residency in the U.S.

Living and settling in the USA is a dream for millions of people. Seen as the country of great freedoms and opportunities, the ...

Things to do in Los Angeles alone, with family and friends or with a partner

Los Angeles is emblematic of glitz, glamour, and vibrant social life. The city brims with opportunities for exhilarating weekday ...

Marriage in the United States

Marriage is a contract that commits two people emotionally, legally, and materially. In the US, both same-sex and opposite-sex ...

Relocating to the USA

Moving is stressful and requires good planning. If you decide to relocate to the USA, a shipping company will greatly reduce the ...

Buying property in New York

Purchasing a property is a serious decision — and not the easiest of tasks, especially if you are doing it in a foreign ...

Buying property in Los Angeles

Buying a home in Los Angeles can be the right solution if you plan to stay in the United States for a long time. And if you make ...

About the USA

Geography

Stretching over more than 9.8 million km², the United States is the fourth largest country in the world. Located in North America, it shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. Its eastern and western borders are respectively framed by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The U.S. is made up of fifty states, some of the most popular ones being California, New York, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska. The capital is Washington DC.

Given its size, the continental U.S. is grouped into five major regions: the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West. The country spans four time zones with two additional ones for Hawaii and Alaska. Climate varies from humid and tropical to arid and harsh.

It is important to note that individual states can experience extreme weather conditions. The Midwest and south see tornados from March through June. Hurricanes and flooding are common in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Every two to seven years, the El Niño phenomenon causes intense precipitation and winter storms, which impact most parts of the continental U.S. Even so, the majority of storms and weather phenomena are not usually of catastrophic proportion.

Economy

The U.S. economy is considered capitalist, and its currency is the U.S. dollar. According to the most recent data from the World Bank, the U.S. GDP is the largest in the world, followed by the European Union and China. The main industries in the U.S. are petroleum, technology and telecommunications, food processing and agriculture products, consumer goods, and lumber.

From 2008 to late 2009 the U.S. experienced its biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The subprime mortgage bubble and risky lending practices required bailouts and new fiscal policies to prevent further impact on the U.S. and global economies. Although the economy has mostly recovered from this crisis and remains stable, the budget deficit, increasing military spending, and inadequate investment in infrastructure remain long-term concerns.

Culture

American culture is a Western culture that has been strongly influenced by its multicultural roots. Even so, there are some commonly held values in the United States. The U.S. is a highly individualistic country. Many people believe that they are in charge of their fate and can become successful through hard work and dedication. Compared to other cultures, Americans can seem very informal ' it is not uncommon for bosses to be addressed by their first name or for people to share details about their personal lives rather quickly after meeting someone new. Also, people from the U.S. tend to be very direct, with a tendency to prefer to attend to the task at hand immediately rather than engaging in pleasantries beforehand.

Demography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current population of the U.S. amounts to over 325 million people, making it the third most populous country. It is highly urbanised with more than 80% of Americans living in cities. Although there is no official language in the United States, English is spoken by 79% of the population and is the principal language in government and schools. Spanish is also quite common. Both Hawaii and Alaska officially retain their indigenous languages.

American society enjoys a great ethnic and cultural diversity. Each year roughly one million people are granted permanent residency (green cards) in the United States. This immigration rate is much higher than in most other countries. Many people who choose to study in the U.S. also choose to stay to work permanently or temporarily. Most expats in the United States come from Mexico, China, and India, and the most popular states for expats are California, New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.

Government

The United States of America is a constitutional federal republic, meaning that the Constitution defines the relative power of the people, state governments, and the federal government. As a federal republic, citizens exercise their power by electing state and federal representatives. It is a misconception that the U.S. is a democracy because citizens do not directly control legislation.

On the federal level, the government is made up of three distinct branches. Power is shared between executive (the presidency), legislative, and judicial branches of the government so that no single group can gain too much power. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch (Congress) to write the laws, the president to implement them, and the judicial branch to interpret and strike down any laws which are not constitutional.

Useful Links:

USA fact sheet
List of foreign embassies in the USA

Quick Information

Capital : Washington
Official Languages : English , Spanish; Castilian , French
Currency : Dollar
Area : 9629091 Km2
Population : 310232863
Calling Code : +1

Share your Expat Experience in the Guide

As an Expat.com member you can share your own experience about your expatriation by writing some articles in the Expat Guide.
Formalities, Visas, Work, Bank. Share your tips or your knowledges about the new country where you chose to live, or about your own country.