The USA at a Glance
Living in the USA
- Americans are known to be very sociable, which makes it easy for expatriates to feel welcome and at home quickly.
- Healthcare has always been an issue in the US, but with the Affordable Care Act of 2010 the number of uninsured people has decreased.
- Public transportation networks are only available in the major cities of the US, however, there are different ways for getting around the country such as buses or inter-city services like Amtrak.
- The education system in the States is very comprehensive and some of the best universities in the world are located in the USA.
Living in the USA, you’ll find that the country is as varied as it is vast in terms of both its people and its geography. Of the more than 324 million people currently living in the USA, about 63% are of European descent, and 13% are African-American. However, it is the Asian and Hispanic demographic groups that are growing the fastest, standing at 5.6% and17.6%, respectively, as of 2015.
Researchers have estimated that around 21% 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 there are used to dealing with foreigners on a day-to-day basis.
Most internationals and immigrants living in the USA share a positive experience of the country and its people. North Americans are generally described as outgoing and sociable, trying to make every newcomer feel welcome and at home in the US. This could very well be related to a widespread sense of patriotism among Americans. Although not blind to failings of politicians and shortcomings of the government, most US citizens identify with their country and its values to a high extent. They are also keen to impart these values to everyone else living in the USA.
A General Overview of One of the World’s Largest Economies
The USA is a federal republic made up of 50 states. The president of the USA, currently Barack Obama until January 2017, is both chief of state and head of government, as well as commander of the armed forces.
At the federal level, the populace is represented by Members of Congress in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Every US state retains a lot of autonomy, however, and has its own elected legislature and governor. Every citizen with the right to vote can exercise this right on the local, state, and federal level.
Despite a number of setbacks over the past few years due to the financial meltdown of 2007, people living in the USA still enjoy the benefits arising from the country’s status as one of the world’s largest economies.
While unemployment has been an issue for most of the past decade, it has been decreasing over the previous few years. Either way, 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.
World-Class Healthcare but Not for Everyone
The USA is part of any discussion concerning global leaders in medical research and the availability of the most modern treatment methods and facilities. Unfortunately, for a majority of people in the country, few of these services are affordable.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as “Obamacare”, was the most significant overhaul of the US healthcare system since the 1960s. Unfortunately, the country is still singular among developed nations in that it does not offer a comprehensive national healthcare plan to its citizens and residents. However, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 16.4 million uninsured people have already gained health coverage. Even though there was a lot of criticism beforehand, it will hopefully contribute to making healthcare more accessible to everyone living in the USA until the point where every single American is insured.
There are only two public health insurance plans for people living in the USA: Medicare for pensioners as well as people with disabilities and Medicaid for impoverished individuals. With its new healthcare policy, the government also launched the Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge. This campaign aims to extend existing healthcare plans to uninsured children living in the USA, of whom there were five million at the time of implementation.
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.
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