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USA: Introduction and Key Facts

It is hard for anyone to truly get a grasp of the huge dimensions the United States boasts in many respects, be it surface area, population, or economic power. The facts and figures included in this part of our expat guide to the US aim to help you put these dimensions into perspective.

On the one hand, we have covered everything future expats in the US and those about to make their move abroad need to know about their new temporary home country, including vital info on housing, jobs, or healthcare. The below collection of articles, on the other hand, provides you with a general introduction to one of the world’s most popular countries among expatriates.

Size and Political Structure

As you might be aware of, the United States is one of the largest countries on the globe – twice as large as the entire European Union, the expat magnet on the other end of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, only Russia and Canada surpass the United States’ total area of 9.8 million km². Keep in mind that this figure only represents the area of the 50 states (plus the federal district of Washington, D.C.) – the overseas territories, such as Puerto Rico, are not included. The 50 states of the US enjoy a fair degree of individual legislative and executive power independent from the federal government. Some laws, for example on smoking or same-sex marriage, differ considerably from state to state, as do public holidays and, in some cases, taxation. As soon as you have made up your mind on where in the US you want to live, it might be wise to get informed on your new home state. Seeing how we already touched upon the topic of the country’s states: many an expat might forget that the two states which are not part of the contiguous US, namely Alaska and Hawaii, are viable expat destinations in the US as well!

Climate and Forces of Nature

With a large expansion in latitude and longitude comes a large variety of climate zones and weather phenomena. Nearly any type of climate found elsewhere in the world can also be found in the US, and depending on where you settle, you might be able to leave a portion of your wardrobe in your home country. There is also a chance you might have to stock up, though! It is vital for you to get informed about the local climate, potential severe weather events, and the chance of experiencing natural disasters (which are fairly common throughout most of the US) in your new state of residence. Our article on climate in the US has a number of helpful pointers to get you started on your quest for knowledge.

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