The USA at a Glance
Living in the USA
You´ll find that the USA is as varied as it is vast in terms of its people, its geography, and its regional differences soon after your relocation. Of the more than 315.5 million people currently living in the USA, about 72% are of European descent and 13% are African-American. However, it is the Asian and Hispanic demographic groups (with 5% and 16% respectively) that are growing the fastest.
Researchers have estimated that the majority of people living in the USA speak a language other than English in their homes. For expats from all over the world, this multiculturalism may make life in the USA easier as people and authorities are used to dealing with foreigners on a day-to-day basis.
Most international employees in the USA share a positive experience of the country and its people. North Americans are generally outgoing and sociable, trying to make every newcomer feel welcome in the USA. This has to do with a widespread sense of patriotism among Americans. Although not blind to the failings of politicians and the shortcomings of the government, identification with their country and its values tends to be high among U.S. citizens. They are also keen to impart these values to everyone living in the USA.
The USA is a federal republic made up of 50 states. The President of the USA, currently Barack Obama, is both the head of state and government and the commander of the armed forces.
At federal level, the populace is represented by members of Congress in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Every U.S. state retains a lot of autonomy, has its own elected parliament and is ruled by a governor. Every citizen with the right to vote can exercise this right on the local, state, and federal level.
Despite experiencing several setbacks over the past few years, due to the financial meltdown of 2008, people in the USA still enjoy the benefits arising from the country´s status as the world´s largest economy.
Unemployment has been on the rise, but there´s an unbroken demand for highly skilled workers in the country’s many big cities and business hubs, especially in leading high-tech industries such as computer and data processing services.
The USA tops every list when it comes to medical research and the availability of the most modern treatment methods and facilities. However, for a majority of people in the country, none of these services are affordable.
The recent Affordable Care Act will hopefully contribute to making healthcare more accessible to everyone living in the USA. Unfortunately, the country is still singular among developed nations as it does not offer a comprehensive national healthcare plan to its citizens and residents.
There are only two public health insurance plans: Medicare for pensioners and people with disabilities, and Medicaid for impoverished individuals. Due to its new healthcare policy, the government has also launched the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge. This campaign aims to extend existing healthcare plans to the currently five million uninsured children in the USA.
We take a closer look at doctors, hospitals, and medical services in our Extended Guide for expats in the US. You can also read up on travel health, the Affordable Care Act and health and insurance in the United States.