Geography of the United States

Geography of the United States

When talking about the Unites States of America in a geographical sense we refer to the US as a part of the American continent and also its other territories. The US is located in the North of the American continent and also consists of Alaska, Hawaii, US Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. Not all of these are found in the continental America. Some like Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are, as the name implies, islands and do not come into contact with the US continental territory. They are however governed in a looser or tighter way by the United States of America.

For instance the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is US territory and it is under the jurisdiction of the United States of America, although it has a government of its own that comes with the separation of powers. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a population of approximately 3,548,000 and the capital is San Juan.

Guam is another territory of the US that is situated in the Western Pacific Ocean. This territory is not incorporated within the US and has a civilian form of government. Guam is considered to be a non-self-governing territory. The territory of Guam consists of the largest Mariana Islands and is located in the south of this group of islands. The most important city in Guam is also its capital called Hagatna, Guam has a population of approximately 160,000.

The third territory will discuss is actually a group of islands consisting of Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas and surrounding islands. The territory of the US Virgin Islands has a population of 106,405 and the capital of Charlotte Amalie, the US Virgin Islands are located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Hawaii is the newest state in the US of America with Honolulu as its capital. It joined the US in 1959 and is located Oceania. It has a population of 1,419,561 and is the 41st state when measuring population.

There are also 2 smaller states that also represent US territory these are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the American Samoa.

The US’s total area is considered to be around 9,629,000 square kilometers. This makes the US the 4th country in the world when measuring the total area of its territory and with a population of around 318,900,000 it is the 3rd country in the world.

When talking about the continental US we mention the whole 48 states plus Alaska that have the following borders: to the north Canada and northwest Russia, to the south Cuba and Bahamas. The coastline consists of the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

Washington is located in the District of Colombia and is the capital of the US. It has a population of 658, 893 and is the 23rd largest city in the US, it has been the capital of the US since 1791.

The US has a total of 50 states each with a governor and different laws that govern them, however the United States of America are a federation and thus a federal law governs over all.

When taking into account the 3 biggest states population wise we refer to California (38,802,500), Texas (26,956,958) and Florida (19,893,297) while on the other hand the least populated territories are Northern Mariana Islands (53,883), American Samoa (55,519) and US Virgin Islands (106,405).

The biggest US states when considering area are Alaska (1,717,854 square km), Texas (696,621 square km) and California (423,970 square km). The smallest are Rhode Island (4,002 square km), Delaware (6,030 square km) and Connecticut (12,548 square km).

Alaska is the biggest state of the US when territory area is considered, it was purchased from the Russian Empire in 1867 with the total of 7.2 million dollars. The capital of Alaska is Juneau and its biggest city is Anchorage.

US territory is varied when it comes to natural landscape and it consists of all types of geographical figures.

In eastern part of the US we find a coastal plain that includes the Florida peninsula and moving into the central and western part of the territory we come across mountains.

To the east the Appalachian Mountains are found, they span from southern Canada to Central Alabama. The highest peak in the mountain range is Mount Mitchell with an elevation of 2,037 meters.

The central-eastern part is made up of the Great Pains that are situated between the Mississippi River to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. It is an important agricultural reserve and before this role was fulfilled it served as a grass plain. The only notable higher elevation found in the Great Plains is the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains.

In the north-central the Great Lakes can be found, they consist of a total of five lakes. The biggest of the lakes is Lake Superior with a total area of 82,103 square km and stretching through Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, it is followed by Lake Huron (59,570 square km).

Missouri is the largest river in the US with a length of 3,767 km, it starts its course in the Rocky Mountains (Montana) and meets up with the Mississippi river in St. Louis. The second biggest river is located in the center of the Great Plains and is the Mississippi river with a total length of 3,544 km. It flows from the north of the US continental territory (Minnesota) to the south state of Louisiana.

To the west we find the Rocky Mountains – Rockies that stretch from the north (Canada) to the south (New Mexico). The total length of the mountain chain is 4,830 km and it was formed around 70 million years ago. It has a maximum elevation of 4,400 meters represented by Mount Elbert and is home to the Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.

Alaska is separated from the 48 states by Canada and has the biggest coastline when compared to all of the other US states. The territory of Alaska is home to the biggest elevation mountain wise in the US territory, Mount McKinley (6,168 meters).

Southwestern US is made up of mountains, basins and desert lands that is why southwestern US features an arid terrain that consists of rocky hills of limestone and granite.

A total of five climate regions can be found across the US territory based on the geographical features that are present in those areas. To the south west we find a desert climate a dry climate that offers a high temperature, around 38 degrees during the summer. The far side of the south west is dominated by a Mediterranean climate significantly cooler at around 25 degrees.

The south is dominated by a subtropical climate due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, this climate is represented by mild winters and hot, humid summers. This brings temperatures to 32 degrees in the summer.

The Middle Coast and Western Plains have temperate and continental humid climate. The temperate climates are represented by four distinct seasons with hot summers and cold snowy winters.

Northwestern US has a temperate oceanic climate that is dry in the summer and wet and cool in the winter. Averagesin the summer are around 26 degrees and in the winter temperatures drop to as low as -1 degrees.

The most densely populated areas in the US are the cities that make up of 81% of the residing citizens. California and Texas are the most populated states and city wise New York is the biggest state with around 8 million inhabitants. The second biggest city is Los Angeles with a population of 3,884,307.

The average density for the US territory is around 32.52 people per square km making it the 180th country when considering population density.

A total of 72% of the population is made up by white Americans followed by 12% African Americans and around 5% Asian Americans, the rest are Pacific islanders, Alaska natives or Native Americans and others.

An American male has an average life expectation of 77 years while females live up to 81 years of age. An average 2.5 immigrants per 1000 Americans are present in the US. From the total population of the US a percentage of 66 % makes up the adult population while 14 % are represented by people over 65 years and 20 % are under the age of 14.

There are 4 big parts when talking about the US’s resources; these are agriculture, forestry, drilling and mining. The agriculture enjoys a climate variation that suits all types of plants and crops like fruits, vegetables, cotton and tobacco. Crops can be found in the northern Mexico and Texas.

Forestry is predominant in the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf States and on the coast of South Atlantic. Coal is the primary mining product because the US holds a total of 27 % of the world’s coal reserves, the main area that coal is extracted from is located near the Appalachians. Drilling is done in the Gulf and Arctic regions of the US and oil and gas are the predominant drilling products that make up the drilling industry.