Special Report

50 Most Amazing Things About America Today

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The United States of America is a nation unlike any other. The U.S. is different from the rest of the world because it does not have a common ethnic or linguistic background, and as such does not draw on a single national identity, value set, or heritage. Another distinguishing characteristic is the United States Constitution, the oldest written document of its kind that contains checks and balances of government. To paraphrase former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”

The Founding Fathers believed the new nation was a special place, a place without class distinction, where people would be free to worship, organize, speak freely, and build a better future for themselves. America became a magnet for immigrants, whose only limit to success — at least in theory — was their imagination.

From this firmament have emerged inventions like the personal computer; cultural phenomena like jazz and motion pictures; and the inexorable pursuit of equality and justice for all — the civil rights acts, women’s suffrage, and same-sex marriage.

As the evolving American experiment continues to fascinate us, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled 50 most amazing things about America today. We reviewed online resources, government agencies, and surveys such as those done by the Pew Research Center to create our list.

Click here to see the 50 most amazing things about America today.

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1. The U.S. is big

The U.S. is the third largest country in the world by land mass — nearly as big as the entire continent of Europe.

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2. World class athletes

American athletes have won more Olympic medals than athletes from any other country.

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3. Climate diversity

The U.S. is the only country that falls within five different climate zones.

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4. Magnet for international tourism

The U.S. attracts more tourists than every country in the world after Spain and France.

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5. Fresh water supply

Lake Superior is the largest body of freshwater in the world by surface area.

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6. Office space

The Pentagon — headquarters of the Department of Defense — is the largest office building by floor area in the world.

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7. Space exploration

The only people to have walked on the moon’s surface are Americans.

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8. Immigration destination

The U.S. is home to more than 40 million immigrants — more than any other country in the world.

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9. Music central

Much of the music the world listens to — jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, country, folk, R&B, soul, and gospel — came out of the U.S.

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10. Hollywood is dominant

The U.S. film industry is the largest, oldest, and most profitable film industry in the world. The film industry generated about $11.4 billion in 2016, nearly double the amount generated in China, the world’s second-largest film industry.

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11. Slice of heaven

More than nine in every 10 Americans have eaten pizza in the last month. According to some estimates, Americans consume the equivalent of about 100 acres of pizza every day.

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12. Government property

Nearly one-third of all land in the U.S. — or 650 million acres — is federally owned.

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13. Fast food nation

On any given day in U.S., about 84.8 million adults — 37% of the adult population — consume fast food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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14. America does not entirely belong to Americans

Foreign investors own 27.3 million acres of U.S. farmland, an area about the size of Virginia.

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15. President

The U.S. was the first nation to use the title of “President” for its head of state.

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16. Inventions

The U.S. is at the center of global invention. Airplanes, computers, cellphones, potato chips, and the light bulb are just a few examples.

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17. Americans love dogs

There are an estimated 75.8 million dogs in the U.S., more than double the number in Brazil, the country with the second most dogs.

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18. The U.S. economy is massive

Though the U.S. is home to less than 5% of the world’s population, it is responsible for nearly 25% of global economic output.

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19. Petroleum production

The U.S. became the world’s largest petroleum producer in the last 10 years. The U.S. produced 15.6 million barrels of petroleum per day in 2017, 3.5 million more than Saudi Arabia, the world’s second-biggest petroleum producer.

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20. U.S. flag

The current iteration of the American flag was designed by a high school student.

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21. Second Amendment

There are more guns than people in the United States — about 101 for every 100 people, according to some estimates. The country with the next highest ownership rate is Serbia, where there are 58 guns for every 100 people.

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22. German influence

Some 45.2 million Americans identify as ancestrally German, more than any other nationality.

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23. Imperial system of measurement

The U.S. is one of only three countries that has not officially switched to the metric system. Liberia and Burma are the other two.

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24. Job tenure

The typical wage or salary worker in the U.S. has been with their current employer for 4.2 years.

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25. Green currency

The government chose to color U.S. currency green as an anti-counterfeiting strategy. When the color was adopted in the 19th century, cameras could only take black and white photographs, making imitation bills difficult to produce.

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26. Population concentration

Over half of the U.S. population lives in just nine states — California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina.

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27. Americans like to travel

The number of passports held by Americans leaped to 21.4 million in 2017, the most ever recorded.

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28. Belief in the individual

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 57% of Americans believe that individuals control their own success in life, the largest share of any country surveyed.

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29. Americans like to move

The U.S. is one of most mobile nations on Earth. According to a Gallup poll, 24% of U.S. adults reported moving within the country in the past five years.

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30. Tornados

Three out of every four tornadoes in the world occur in the United States.

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31. Nobel Prizes

The U.S. has won more Nobel Prizes than any other country.

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32. Biodiversity

The U.S. ranks among the top 10 countries in the world for the number of mammal, reptile, fish, and vascular plant species.

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33. Forest

The U.S. has over 3.1 million square miles of forest land, more than every country in the world after Canada, Brazil, and Russia.

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34. Americans love football

Super Bowl XLIX was the most watched broadcast in U.S. television history. An estimated 114.4 million people tuned in to watch the big game in 2015 — equal to more than a third of the U.S. population.

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35. Minority white

New Census Bureau projections predict the U.S. will be “minority white” — 49.7% — by 2045.

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36. America is connected

An estimated 96% of Americans use the internet, compared with about 54% of the global population.

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37. Generosity

The U.S. is one of the most generous nations in the world, trailing only Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand, according to the 2018 World Giving Index – published annually by international nonprofit organization Charities Aid Foundation.

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38. Plenty of coastline

The U.S. has about 12,380 miles of coastline, more than all but eight other countries worldwide.

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39. Home of the world’s largest private sector employer

Founded in Arkansas in 1962, Walmart is the world’s largest private-sector employer, providing 2.2 million jobs.

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40. Manhattan’s Chinatown

Manhattan’s Chinatown is home to more Chinese residents than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.

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41. Higher education

The U.S. has the world’s strongest higher education system and draws over a million international students a year, the most of any country.

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42. Energy

The U.S. accounts for 21% of energy consumption globally and has the world’s highest per capita energy consumption. America is second in the world in energy production.

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43. Breweries

Good news for beer lovers. The number of brewers in the U.S. climbed to 6,372 in 2017, from just 89 in 1978, fueled by the craft beer surge.

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44. American companies dominate

Eight of the 10 largest companies in the world by market cap are American.

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45. Supersized employer

According to the book, “Fast Food Nation,” at some point, one out of eight Americans will work for McDonald’s.

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46. Native American influence

More than half of the states–26–have names with native American origins.

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47. Hurricanes

The U.S., with its extensive coastline, has had more tropical cyclone hits, 268, than any other country, according to data from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

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48. Americans love hot dogs

Americans bought more than $3 billion worth of hot dogs in supermarkets last year. Los Angeles is top dog for franks, consuming about 31 million pounds a year.

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49. Belief in God

A Pew Research Center study conducted from 2011 to 2013 found that about 54% of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, compared with 24% of people in Canada, 21% in Australia, and 21% in Germany.

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50. Basketball

While baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, it borrows heavily from the British game of cricket. Similarly, football is based largely on the British sport of rugby. Invented in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891, basketball is the most popular uniquely American game.

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