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2.2.2 Human Geography and Demographics

According to the US Census Bureau, the population estimate for 2005 was 295,734,134 and growing quite quickly, having increased nearly 15 million since 2000. The percentage of females was 50.9 %. Despite the post-war "Baby Boom" that has left most European countries with a high percentage of pensioners today, with the number rapidly increasing, over a quarter of Americans are under 18 as birth rates are still high. Immigration is still significant, with over 11 % of Ameri­cans born abroad.

Although many Americans are rich by any standards, 12.4 % live below the "poverty line". In 1999 the average per capita income was $21,587 and the median household income was $41,994.

Many such details may be read and digested on the US Census Bureau website, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.htrnl but perhaps the strangest is the fact that in 2000, just under 50m Americans had a registered disability; physical, mental or emotional.

Americans, in part due to categories decided by the U.S. government, generally describe themselves as being one of five ethnic groups:

White, (also called Caucasian); 68.0 %

African American, (also called Black); 12.9 %

Hispanic, (also called Latino); 13.4 %

Asian American and 4.2 %

Native American 1.5 %

The states, with their U.S. postal abbreviations, traditional abbreviations, and capitals, are:

AL Ala. Alabama

AK Alaska Alaska

AZ Ariz. Arizona

AR Ark. Arkansas

CA Calif. California

Montgomery MT Mont.

Juneau NE Neb.

Phoenix NV Nev.

Little Rock NH N.H.

Sacramento NJ N.J.

Montana Helena

Nebraska Lincoln

Nevada Carson City

New Hampshire Concord New Jersey Trenton

NM N.M. NY N.Y. NC N.C. ND N.D. OH Ohio

Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia

Hawaii Hawaii

Honolulu OK Okla. Oklahoma

Ore.

Pa.

R.I.

S.C.

S.D.

Tenn.

Texas

Utah

Vt.

Va.

Wash. W.Va. Wis. Wyo.

CO Colo.

CT Conn.

DE Del.

FL Fla.

HI

ID IL

GA Ga.

Idaho 111.

IN Ind. IA Iowa KS Kan. KY Ky. LA La. ME Maine MD Md. MA Mass. MI Mich. MN Minn. MS Miss. MO Mo.

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Denver

Hartford

Dover

Tallahassee

OR

PA

RI

SC

SD

TN

Atlanta

Boise

Springfield Indianapolis Des Moines Topeka Frankfort

Baton Rouge TX Augusta UT Annapolis VT Boston VA

Lansing WA Saint Paul WV Jackso WI

Jefferson City WY

New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Santa Fe

Albany

Raleigh

Bismarck

Columbus

Oklahoma

City

Salem

Harrisburg

Providence

Columbia

Pierre

Nashville

Austin

Salt Lake City

Montpelier

Richmond

Olympia

Charleston

Madison

Cheyenne

Much of American culture is strongly contrasted to Canadian culture. A key example is that Canadians see their country as a mosaic of unique immigrant cul­tures, a large picture made up of many distinct pieces, rather than a melting-pot, in the way that American like to describe their society and culture. The USA heavily stresses that its immigrants fuse their various cultural identities together in this 'melting pot', rather than retain ethnic groups with their own clear identities. Ob­viously this will not always be the case and many anthropologists and sociologists have invented theories that modify the official view to offer a compromise that is nearer to reality. Two of these many theories are the "salad bowl" culture theory and the "pizza" culture theory.