Culture of the United States
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The culture of the United States of America is primarily of
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
origin, but its influences include
European American European Americans (also referred to as Euro-Americans) are Americans of Ethnic groups of Europe, European ancestry.Asian American Asian Americans are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018 ...
,
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that ...
,
Latin American Latin Americans ( es, Latinoamericanos; pt, Latino-americanos; ) are the citizenship, citizens of the Latin American countries. Latin American countries are Multiracial, multi-ethnic, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. ...
, and
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
peoples and their
cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
. The United States has its own distinct social and cultural characteristics, such as
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
,
music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common elements such as pit ...
,
arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...
, social habits,
cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), no ...
, and
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition ab ...
, otherwise known as
Americana Americana artifacts are related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Co ...
. The United States is ethnically
diverse
diverse
as a result of large-scale
European European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, ...

immigration
throughout its history, its hundreds of
indigenous tribes Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples *Indigenous (ecology), presence in a region as the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention *Indigenous (band), an American blues-rock band *Indigenous (horse), a Hong Kong racehorse ...
and cultures, and through
African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black people, black racial groups of Africa. The term ''African American'' generally denote ...
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and co ...
followed by
emancipation Emancipation is any effort to procure Economic, social and cultural rights, economic and social rights, civil and political rights, political rights or Egalitarianism, equality, often for a specifically disenfranchised group, or more generally, i ...

emancipation
and assimilation. America is an anglophone country with a legal system derived from Anglo-American common law.


Origins, development, and spread

The
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest ...

Europe
an roots of the United States originate with the
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
settlers of
colonial America The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of America from the early 17th century (e.g., 1600s) until the incorporation of the colonies into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, Kin ...
during
British rule The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...
. The varieties of English people, as opposed to the other peoples on the British Isles, were the overwhelming majority ethnic group in the 17th century (population of the colonies in 1700 was 250,000) and were 47.9% of percent of the total population of 3.9 million. They constituted 60% of the whites at the first census in 1790 (%: 3.5 Welsh, 8.5 Scotch Irish, 4.3 Scots, 4.7 Irish, 7.2 German, 2.7 Dutch, 1.7 French and 2 Swedish). The English ethnic group contributed to the major cultural and social mindset and attitudes that evolved into the American character. Of the total population in each colony, they numbered from 30% in Pennsylvania to 85% in Massachusetts. Large non-English immigrant populations from the 1720s to 1775, such as the Germans (100,000 or more), Scotch Irish (250,000), added enriched and modified the English cultural substrate. The religious outlook was some versions of Protestantism (1.6% of the population were English, German and Irish Catholics).
Jeffersonian democracy#REDIRECT Jeffersonian democracy Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father ...
was a foundational American cultural innovation, which is still a core part of the country's identity."Mr. Jefferson and the giant moose: natural history in early America"
Lee Alan Dugatkin. University of Chicago Press, 2009. , . University of Chicago Press, 2009. Chapter x.
Thomas Jefferson's ''
Notes on the State of Virginia ''Notes on the State of Virginia'' (1785) is a book written by the American statesman, philosopher, and planter Thomas Jefferson. He completed the first version in 1781 and updated and enlarged the book in 1782 and 1783. It originated in Jefferso ...
'' was perhaps the first influential domestic cultural critique by an American and was written in reaction to the views of some influential Europeans that America's native flora and fauna (including humans) were
degenerate Degeneracy may refer to: Science * Codon degeneracy * Degeneracy (biology), the ability of elements that are structurally different to perform the same function or yield the same output * Degeneration (medical) ** Degenerative disease, a diseas ...
. Major cultural influences have been brought by historical immigration, especially from
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
in much of the country, Ireland and Italy in the Northeast, Japan in Hawaii.
Latin American cultureLatin American culture is the formal or informal expression of the people of Latin America and includes both high culture (literature and high art) and popular culture (music, folk art, and dance), as well as religion and other customary practices. ...
is especially pronounced in former Spanish areas but has also been introduced by immigration, as has
Asian American culture Asian Americans are Americans of Asian people, Asian ancestry (Naturalization, naturalized Americans who are Immigration to the United States, immigrants from Asia may also identify as Asian-Americans). Although it had historically been used to ...
s (especially on the West Coast).
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some ...
culture has been increasingly introduced by immigration and is pronounced in many urban areas. Since the abolition of slavery, the Caribbean has been the source of the earliest and largest Black immigrant group, a significant source of growth of the Black population in the U.S. and has made major cultural impacts in education, music, sports and entertainment. Native culture remains strong in areas with large undisturbed or relocated populations, including traditional government and communal organization of property now legally managed by
Indian reservations An Indian reservation is a legal designation for an area of land managed by a federally recognized Native American tribe under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also known as Indian Affairs (IA), ...

Indian reservations
(large reservations are mostly in the West, especially
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...
and
South Dakota South Dakota () is a U.S. state in the Upper Midwest region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locate ...

South Dakota
). The fate of native culture after contact with Europeans is quite varied. For example,
Taíno The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Hispaniola (today the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, ...
culture in U.S. Caribbean territories is nearly extinct and like most Native American languages, the
Taíno language Taíno is an extinct Arawakan language that was spoken by the Taíno people of the Caribbean. At the time of Spanish colonization of the Americas, Spanish contact, it was the most common language throughout the Caribbean. Classic Taíno (Taíno pro ...
is no longer spoken. In contrast, the
Hawaiian language Hawaiian (Hawaiian: ', ) is a Polynesian language of the Austronesian language family The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family, widely spoken throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, the islands of the Pacific Ocean and ...
and culture of the Native Hawaiians has survived in
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, a ...

Hawaii
and mixed with that of immigrants from the mainland U.S. (starting before the 1898 annexation) and to some degree Japanese immigrants. It occasionally influences mainstream American culture with notable exports like
surfing Surfing is a surface water sport The following is a list of surface water sports. These are sports which are performed atop a body of water. Towed water sports Environmental impact includes noise, pollutants, shoreline degradation, and distu ...

surfing
and
Hawaiian shirt The Aloha shirt, also referred to as a Hawaiian shirt, is a style of dress shirt originating in Hawaii. They are collared and buttoned dress shirts, usually short-sleeved and cut from printed fabric. They are often worn untucked, but can be worn t ...
s. Most languages native to what is now U.S. territory have gone extinct, and the economic and mainstream cultural dominance of English threatens the surviving ones in most places. The most common native languages include
Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands ** Something of, from, o ...
,
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
,
Navajo The Navajo (; British English: Navaho; nv, Diné or ') are a Native American people Native Americans, also known as American Indians, First Americans, Indigenous Americans and #Terminology differences, other terms, are the Indigenous peopl ...
,
Cherokee The Cherokee (; chr, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, translit=Aniyvwiyaʔi, or chr, ᏣᎳᎩ, links=no, translit=Tsalagi) are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentr ...
,
Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota: /otʃʰeːtʰi ʃakoːwĩ/) are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The modern Sioux consist of two major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota a ...
, and a spectrum of
Inuit languages The Inuit languages are a closely related group of indigenous American languages traditionally spoken across the North American Arctic and to some extent in the subarctic in Labrador. The related Yupik languages are spoken in western and sout ...
. (See
Indigenous languages of the Americas Over a thousand Indigenous languages An indigenous language or autochthonous language, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
for a fuller listing, plus
ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro Party, a 19th-century Portuguese political party (See L ...
, and Carolinian in the Pacific territories.) Ethnic Samoans are a majority in
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
;
ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro Party, a 19th-century Portuguese political party (See L ...
are still the largest ethnic group in
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated_territories_of_the_United_States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United State ...

Guam
(though a minority), and along with Refaluwasch are smaller minorities in the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
. American culture includes both conservative and liberal elements, scientific and religious competitiveness, political structures, risk taking and free expression, materialist and moral elements. Despite certain consistent ideological principles (e.g.
individualism Individualism is the Ethics, moral stance, political philosophy, ideology and social outlook that emphasizes the intrinsic worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and to value independence and self- ...
,
egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy Philosophy ...
, and faith in
freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being w ...

freedom
and
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use t ...
), American culture has a variety of expressions due to its geographical scale and demographics. The United States has traditionally been thought of as a
melting pot The melting pot is a monocultural metaphor for a heterogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the sciences and statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, int ...

melting pot
, with immigrants contributing to but eventually assimilating with mainstream American culture. However, beginning in the 1960s and continuing on in the present day, the country trends towards cultural pluralism, and partisanship. Throughout the country's history, certain
subcultures A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, c ...
(whether based on ethnicity or other commonality, such as
ghettos A ghetto (; from Venetian ''ghèto'', ' foundry'), often ''the'' ghetto, is a part of a city in which members of a minority group A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethni ...

ghettos
) have dominated certain neighborhoods, only partially melded with the broader culture. Due to the extent of American culture, there are many integrated but unique social
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, c ...
s within the United States, some not tied to any particular geography. The cultural affiliations an individual in the United States may have commonly depended on
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, genera ...
, political orientation and a multitude of demographic characteristics such as religious background, occupation, and ethnic group membership. Colonists from the United States formed the now-independent country of
Liberia Liberia (), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tha ...

Liberia
.


Regional variations

Semi-distinct cultural
regions of the United States This is a list of some of the regions in the United States. Many regions are defined in law or regulations by the federal government; others by shared culture and history; and others by economic factors. Interstate regions Census Bureau-designat ...
include
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

New England
, the
Mid-AtlanticMid-Atlantic or Mid Atlantic can refer to: *The middle of the Atlantic Ocean *Mid-Atlantic English, a mix between British English and American English *Mid-Atlantic Region (Little League World Series), one of the United States geographic divisions of ...
, the
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
, the
Midwest The midwestern United States, often referred to simply as the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of ...
, the
Southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
, and the
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...
—an area that can be further subdivided into the
Pacific States The West Coast of the United States, also known as the Pacific Coast, Pacific states, and the western seaboard, is the coastline along which the Western United States meets the North Pacific Ocean. The term typically refers to the Contiguous United ...
and the
Mountain States in Wyoming, a subset of the Rocky Mountains The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch in great-circle distance, straight-line distance from the northernmo ...
. The
west coastWest Coast or west coast may refer to: Geography Australia * Western Australia *Regions of South Australia#Weather forecasting, West Coast of South Australia * West Coast, Tasmania **West Coast Range, mountain range in the region Canada * British ...
of the continental United States, consisting of California,
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its ...

Oregon
, and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
state, is also sometimes referred to as the Left Coast, indicating its Left-wing politics, left-leaning political orientation and tendency towards social liberalism. The Culture of the Southern United States, South is sometimes informally called the "Bible Belt" due to social conservatism, socially conservative Evangelicalism, evangelical Protestantism, which is a significant part of the region's culture. Christian church attendance across all denominations is generally higher there than the national average. This region is usually contrasted with the mainline Protestantism and Catholic Church, Catholicism of the northeastern United States, Northeast, the religiously diverse
Midwest The midwestern United States, often referred to simply as the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of ...
and Great Lakes region, Great Lakes, the Mormon Corridor in Utah and southern Idaho, and the Unchurched Belt, relatively secular western United States, West. The percentage of non-religious people is the highest in the northeastern state of Vermont at 34%, compared to 6% in the Bible Belt state of Alabama. Strong cultural differences have a long history in the U.S., with the southern slave society in the antebellum period serving as a prime example. Social and economic tensions between the Northern and Southern states were so severe that they eventually caused the South to declare itself an independent nation, the Confederate States of America; thus initiating the American Civil War.


Language

Although the United States has no official language at the federal level, Languages of the United States, 28 states have passed legislation making English language, English the official language, and it is considered to be the ''de facto'' national language. According to the 2000 United States Census, 2000 U.S. Census, more than 97% of Americans can speak English well, and for 81%, it is the only language spoken at home. The national dialect is known as American English, which itself consists of numerous regional dialects, but has some shared unifying features that distinguish it from other national varieties of English. There are four large List of dialects of English, dialect regions in the United States—the Inland Northern American English, North, the Midland American English, Midland, the Southern American English, South, and the Western American English, West—and several smaller dialects such as those of New York City English, New York City, Philadelphia English, Philadelphia, and Boston accent, Boston. A Standard language, standard dialect called "General American English, General American" (analogous in some respects to the Received Pronunciation, received pronunciation elsewhere in the English-speaking world), lacking the distinctive noticeable features of any particular region, is believed by some to exist as well; it is sometimes regionally associated with the Midwest. American Sign Language, used mainly by the deaf, is also native to the United States. More than 300 languages besides English have native speakers in the United States—some are spoken by Native Americans in the United States, indigenous peoples (about 150 living languages) and others imported by immigrants. In fact, English is not the first language of most immigrants in the US, though many do arrive knowing how to speak it, especially from countries where English is broadly used.Gambino, Christine P., Yesenia D. Acosta, and Elizabeth M. Grieco. 2018 August 3.
English-Speaking Ability of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2012
(revised). U.S. Census Bureau.
This not only includes immigrants from countries such as Canadian Americans, Canada, Jamaican Americans, Jamaica, and the British Americans, UK, where English is the primary language, but also countries where English is an official language, such as Indian Americans, India, Nigerian Americans, Nigeria, and the Filipino Americans, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, there are nearly 30 million native speakers of Spanish language in the United States, Spanish in the United States. Spanish has official status in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where it is the primary language spoken, and the state of New Mexico; various smaller Spanish enclaves exist around the country as well. Bilingual speakers may use both English and Spanish reasonably well and may Code-switching, code-switch according to their dialog partner or context, a phenomenon known as Spanglish. Indigenous languages of the United States include the Indigenous languages of the Americas, Native-American languages (including
Navajo The Navajo (; British English: Navaho; nv, Diné or ') are a Native American people Native Americans, also known as American Indians, First Americans, Indigenous Americans and #Terminology differences, other terms, are the Indigenous peopl ...
, Yupik languages, Yupik, Dakota language, Dakota, and Apache language, Apache), which are spoken on the country's numerous Indian reservations and at cultural events such as pow wows;
Hawaiian Hawaiian may refer to: * Hawaii state residents, regardless of ancestry * Native Hawaiians, the current term for the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants * Hawaiian language Historic uses * things and people of the Kingdo ...
, which has official status in the state of
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, a ...

Hawaii
;
ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro Party, a 19th-century Portuguese political party (See L ...
, which has official status in the commonwealths of
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an Unincorporated_territories_of_the_United_States, organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the List of extreme points of the United State ...

Guam
and the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
; Carolinian, which has official status in the commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territory Under Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
; and
Samoan Samoan may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ** Something of, from, or related to Samoa, a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands ** Something of, from, o ...
, which has official status in the commonwealth of
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
.


Art

In the late-18th and early-19th centuries, American artists primarily painted landscapes and portraits in a realistic style or that which looked to Europe for answers on technique: for example, John Singleton Copley was born in Boston, but most of his portraiture for which he is famous follow the trends of British painters like Thomas Gainsborough and the transitional period between Rococo and Neoclassicism. The later 18th century was a time when the United States was just an infant as a nation and as far away from the phenomenon where artists would receive training as craftsmen by apprenticeship and later seeking a fortune as a professional, ideally getting a patron: Many artists benefited from the patronage of Grand Tourists eager to procure mementos of their travels. There were no temples of Rome or grand nobility to be found in the Thirteen Colonies. Later developments of the 19th century brought America one of its earliest native homegrown movements, like the Hudson River School and portrait artists with a uniquely American flavor like Winslow Homer. A parallel development taking shape in rural America was the American craft movement, which began as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. As the nation grew wealthier, it had patrons able to buy the works of European painters and attract foreign talent willing to teach methods and techniques from Europe to willing students as well as artists themselves; photography became a very popular medium for both journalism and in time as a medium in its own right with America having plenty of open spaces of natural beauty and growing cities in the East teeming with new arrivals and new buildings. Museums in Chicago, New York City, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. began to have a booming business in acquisitions, competing for works as diverse as the then more recent work of the Impressionism, Impressionists to pieces from Ancient Egypt, all of which captured the public imaginations and further influenced fashion and architecture. Developments in modern art in Europe came to America from exhibitions in New York City such as the Armory Show in 1913. After World War II, New York emerged as a center of the art world. Painting in the United States today covers a vast range of styles. American painting includes works by Jackson Pollock, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Norman Rockwell, among many others.


Architecture

Architecture in the United States is regionally diverse and has been shaped by many external forces. Architecture of the United States, U.S. architecture can therefore be said to be eclectic. Traditionally American architecture has influences from Architecture of England, English architecture to List of Greek and Roman architectural records, Greco roman architecture. The overriding theme of city United States, American Architecture is Skyscraper#Modern skyscrapers, modernity, as manifest in the skyscrapers of the 20th century, with domestic and residential architecture greatly varying according to local tastes and climate, Rural areas in the United States, rural American and Suburb, suburban architecture tends to be more traditional.


Theater and comedy

' tour with Trisha Yearwood in 2014 Theater of the United States is based in the Western tradition and did not take on a unique dramatic identity until the emergence of Eugene O'Neill in the early twentieth century, now considered by many to be the father of American drama. O'Neill is a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. After O'Neill, American drama came of age and flourished with the likes of Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Lillian Hellman, William Inge, and Clifford Odets during the first half of the 20th century. After this fertile period, American theater broke new ground, artistically, with the Absurdist theatre, absurdist forms of Edward Albee in the 1960s. Social commentary has also been a preoccupation of American theater, often addressing issues not discussed in the mainstream. Writers such as Lorraine Hansbury, August Wilson, David Mamet and Tony Kushner have all won Pulitzer Prizes for their polemical plays on American society. The United States is also the home and largest exporter of modern musical theater, producing such musical talents as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, George and Ira Gershwin, Kander and Ebb, and Stephen Sondheim. Broadway theatre, Broadway is one of the largest theater communities in the world and is the epicenter of American commercial theater. The United States originated stand-up comedy and Improvisational theatre#Modern, modern improvisational theatre, which involves taking suggestions from the audience.


Music

American music styles and influences (such as country music, country, jazz, blues, rock and roll, rock music, rock, techno, soul music, soul, hip-hop) and music based on them can be heard all over the world. Music in the U.S. is diverse. It includes African-American influence in the 20th century. The first half of this century is famous for jazz, introduced by African-Americans. According to music journalist Robert Christgau, "pop music is more African than any other facet of American culture." The top three best-selling musicians from the United States are Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Madonna. The best-selling band is Eagles (band), The Eagles.


Film


Broadcasting

Television is a media of the United States, major mass media of the United States. Household ownership of television sets in the country is 96.7%, and the majority of households have more than one set. The peak ownership percentage of households with at least one television set occurred during the 1996–97 season, with 98.4% ownership. As a whole, the television networks of the United States is the largest and most Broadcast syndication, syndicated in the world. As of August 2013, approximately 114,200,000 American households own at least one television set. Due to a recent surge in the number and popularity of critically acclaimed television series, many critics have said that American television is currently enjoying a golden age.


Science and technology

There is a regard for scientific advancement and technological innovation in American culture, resulting in the creation of many modern innovations. The great American inventors include Robert Fulton (the steamboat); Samuel Morse (the telegraph); Eli Whitney (the cotton gin, interchangeable parts); Cyrus McCormick (the reaper); and Thomas Edison (with more than a thousand inventions credited to his name). Most of the new technological innovations over the 20th and 21st centuries were either first invented in the United States, first widely adopted by Americans, or both. Examples include the lightbulb, the airplane, the transistor, the atomic bomb, nuclear power, the personal computer, the iPod, video games, e-commerce, online shopping, and the development of the Internet. This propensity for application of scientific ideas continued throughout the 20th century with innovations that held strong international benefits. The twentieth century saw the arrival of the Space Age, the Information Age, and a renaissance in the health sciences. This culminated in cultural milestones such as the Apollo program, Apollo moon landings, the creation of the Personal Computer, and the sequencing effort called the Human Genome Project. Throughout its history, American culture has made significant gains through the open immigration of accomplished scientists. Accomplished scientists include Scottish-American scientist Alexander Graham Bell, who developed and patented the telephone and other devices; German scientist Charles Steinmetz, who developed new alternating-current electrical systems in 1889; Russian scientist Vladimir Zworykin, who invented the motion camera in 1919; Serb scientist Nikola Tesla who patented a brushless electrical induction motor based on rotating magnetic fields in 1888. With the rise of the Nazism, Nazi party in Germany, a large number of Jewish scientists fled Germany and immigrated to the country, including theoretical physicist Albert Einstein in 1933.


Education

Education in the United States is and has historically been provided mainly by the government. Control and funding come from three levels: Federal government of the United States, federal, State government, state, and Local government, local. School attendance is mandatory and nearly universal at the elementary and high school levels (often known outside the United States as the primary and secondary levels). Students have the option of having their education held in Public school (government funded), public schools, private schools, or homeschooling, home school. In most public and private schools, education is divided into three levels: Primary education in the United States, elementary school, Middle school, junior high school (also often called middle school), and Secondary education in the United States, high school. In almost all schools at these levels, children are divided by age groups into Grade levels, grades. Post-secondary education, better known as "college" in the United States, is generally governed separately from the elementary and high school system. In the year 2000, there were 76.6 million students enrolled in schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Of these, 72 percent aged 12 to 17 were judged academically "on track" for their age (enrolled in school at or above grade level). Of those enrolled in compulsory education, 5.2 million (10.4 percent) were attending private schools. Among the country's adult population, over 85 percent have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher.


Religion

Among developed country, developed countries, the U.S. is one of the most religious in terms of its demographics. According to a 2002 study by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the U.S. was the only developed nation in the survey where a majority of citizens reported that religion played a "very important" role in their lives, an opinion similar to that found in Latin America. Today, governments at the national, state, and local levels are Secularity, secular institutions, with what is often called the "Separation of church and state in the United States, separation of church and state". The most popular religion in the U.S. is Christianity, comprising the majority of the population (73.7% of adults in 2016). Although participation in organized religion has been diminishing, the public life and popular culture of the United States incorporates many Christian ideals specifically about redemption, salvation, conscience, and morality. Examples are popular culture obsessions with confession and forgiveness, which extends from reality television to twelve-step meetings. Americans expect public figures to confess and have public penitence for any sins or moral wrongdoings they may have caused. According to ''Salon (website), Salon'', examples of inadequate public penitence may include the scandals and fallout regarding Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Mel Gibson, Larry Craig, and Lance Armstrong. Several of the original Thirteen Colonies were established by English settlers who wished to practice their own religion without discrimination or persecution: Pennsylvania was established by Quakers, Maryland by Roman Catholics, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Puritans. Separatist Congregationalists (Pilgrim Fathers) founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. They were convinced that the democratic form of government was the will of God. They and the other Protestant groups applied the representative democratic organization of their congregations also to the administration of their communities in worldly matters. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania added religious freedom to their democratic constitutions, becoming safe havens for persecuted religious minorities. The first Bible printed in a European language in the Colonies was by German immigrant Christopher Sauer. Modeling the provisions concerning religion within the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the framers of the United States Constitution rejected any religious test for office, and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment specifically denied the central government any power to enact any law respecting either an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. In the following decades, the animating spirit behind the constitution's Establishment Clause led to the disestablishment of the official religions within the member states. The framers were mainly influenced by secular, Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment ideals, but they also considered the pragmatic concerns of minority religious groups who did not want to be under the power or influence of a state religion that did not represent them. Thomas Jefferson, author of the United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence said: "The priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot."


Public holidays

in 1892 The United States observes holidays derived from events in History of the United States, American history, Christian traditions, and Founding Fathers of the United States, national patriarchs. Thanksgiving (United States), Thanksgiving is the principal traditionally-American holiday, evolving from the English Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony), Pilgrim's custom of giving thanks for one's welfare. Thanksgiving is generally celebrated as a family reunion with a large afternoon feast. Independence Day (United States), Independence Day (or the Fourth of July) celebrates the anniversary of the country's United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and is generally observed by parades throughout the day and the shooting of fireworks at night. Christmas Day, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, is widely celebrated and a federal holiday, though a fair amount of its current cultural importance is due to secular reasons. British colonization of the Americas, European colonization has led to some other Christian holidays such as Easter and St. Patrick's Day to be observed, though with varying degrees of religious fidelity. Halloween is thought to have evolved from the ancient Celtic/Gaelic festival of Samhain, which was introduced in the American colonies by Irish settlers. It has become a holiday that is celebrated by children and teens who traditionally dress up in costumes and go door to door trick-or-treating for candy. It also brings about an emphasis on eerie and frightening urban legends and movies. Additionally, Mardi Gras, which evolved from the Catholic tradition of Carnival, is observed in New Orleans, St. Louis, Mobile, Alabama, and numerous other towns.


Names

The United States has few Naming law, laws governing given names. Traditionally, the right to name your child or yourself as you choose has been upheld by court rulings and is rooted in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. This freedom, along with the cultural diversity within the United States has given rise to a wide variety of names and naming trends. Creativity has also long been a part of American naming traditions and names have been used to express personality, cultural identity, and values. Naming trends vary by race, geographic area, and socioeconomic status. African-Americans, for instance, have developed a very distinct naming culture. Both religious names and those inspired by popular culture are common. A few restrictions do exist, varying by state, mostly for the sake of practicality (e.g., limiting the number of characters due to limitations in record-keeping software).


Fashion and dress

Fashion in the United States is eclectic and predominantly informal. While the diverse cultural roots of Americans are reflected in their clothing, particularly those of recent immigrants, cowboy hats and cowboy boot, boots, and leather motorcycle jackets are emblematic of specifically-American styles. Jeans, Blue jeans were popularized as work clothes in the 1850s by merchant Levi Strauss, a German-Jewish immigrant in San Francisco, and adopted by many American teenagers a century later. They are worn in every state by people of all ages and social classes. Along with mass-marketed informal wear in general, blue jeans are arguably one of US culture's primary contributions to global fashion. Though the informal dress is more common, certain professionals, such as bankers and lawyers, traditionally dress formally for work, and some occasions, such as weddings, funerals, dances, and some parties, typically call for formal wear. Some cities and regions have specialties in certain areas. For example, Miami for swimwear, Boston and the general
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

New England
area for formal menswear, Los Angeles for casual attire and womenswear, and cities like Seattle and Portland for eco-conscious fashion. Chicago is known for its sportswear, and is the premier fashion destination in the middle American market. Dallas, Houston, Austin, Nashville, and Atlanta are big markets for the fast fashion and cosmetics industries, alongside having their own distinct fashion sense that mainly incorporates cowboy boots and workwear, greater usage of makeup, lighter colors and pastels, “college prep” style, sandals, bigger hairstyles, and thinner, airier fabrics due to the heat and humidity of the region.


Sports

In the 1800s, colleges were encouraged to focus on intramural sports, particularly track and field, track, field, and, in the late 1800s, American football. Physical education was incorporated into primary school curriculums in the 20th century. Baseball is the oldest of the major American team sports. Professional baseball dates from 1869 and had no close rivals in popularity until the 1960s. Though baseball is no longer the most popular sport, it is still referred to as "the national pastime." Also unlike the professional levels of the other popular spectator sports in the U.S., Major League Baseball teams play almost every day. The Major League Baseball Season (sports), regular season consists of each of the 30 teams playing 162 games from April to September. The season ends with the Major League Baseball postseason, postseason and World Series in October. Unlike most other major sports in the country, professional baseball draws most of its players from a Minor league baseball, "minor league" system, rather than from College sports in the United States, university athletics. American football, known in the United States as simply "football," now attracts more television viewers than any other sport and is considered to be the most popular sport in the United States. The 32-team National Football League (NFL) is the most popular professional American football league. The National Football League differs from the other three Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, major pro sports leagues in that each of its 32 teams plays one game a week over 17 weeks, for a total of 16 games with one Bye (sports), bye week for each team. The National Football League regular season, NFL season lasts from September to December, ending with the National Football League playoffs, playoffs and Super Bowl in January and February. Its championship game, the Super Bowl, has often been the highest rated television show, and it has an audience of over 100 million viewers annually. College football also attracts audiences of millions. Some communities, particularly in rural areas, place great emphasis on their local high school football team. American football games usually include cheerleaders and marching bands, which aim to raise school spirit and entertain the crowd at halftime. Basketball is another major sport, represented professionally by the National Basketball Association. It was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891, by Canadian-born physical education teacher James Naismith. College basketball is also popular, due in large part to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, NCAA men's Division I basketball tournament in March, also known as "March Madness." Ice hockey is the fourth leading professional team sport. Always a mainstay of Great Lakes and
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

New England
-area culture, the sport gained tenuous footholds in regions like the American South since the early 1990s, as the National Hockey League pursued a policy of expansion. Lacrosse is a team sport of Native Americans in the United States, American and First Nations, Canadian Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American origin and is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Lacrosse is most popular in the East Coast area. National Lacrosse League, NLL and Major League Lacrosse, MLL are the national box lacrosse, box and outdoor lacrosse leagues, respectively, and have increased their following in recent years. Also, many of the top Division I college lacrosse teams draw upwards of 7–10,000 for a game, especially in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

New England
areas. Soccer is very popular as a participation sport, particularly among youth, and the United States men's national soccer team, US national teams are competitive internationally. A twenty-six-team (with four more confirmed to be added within the next few years) professional league, Major League Soccer, plays from March to October, but its television audience and overall popularity lag behind other American professional sports. Other popular sports are tennis, softball, rodeo, swimming (sport), swimming, water polo, fencing, shooting sports, hunting, volleyball, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, Ultimate (sport), Ultimate, disc golf, cycle sport, cycling, mixed martial arts, MMA, roller derby, wrestling, Olympic weightlifting, weightlifting, and rugby football, rugby. Relative to other parts of the world, the United States is unusually competitive in women's sports, a fact usually attributed to the Title IX antidiscrimination law, which requires most American colleges to give equal funding to men's and women's sports. Despite that, however, women's sports are not nearly as popular among spectators as men's sports. The United States enjoys a great deal of success both in the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, constantly finishing among the top medal winners.


Sports and community culture

Homecoming is an annual tradition of the United States. People, towns, high schools and colleges come together, usually in late September or early October, to welcome back former residents and alumni. It is built around a central event, such as a banquet, a parade, and most often, a game of American football, or, on occasion, basketball, wrestling or ice hockey. When celebrated by schools, the activities vary. However, they usually consist of a football game, played on the school's home football field, activities for students and alumni, a parade featuring the school's marching band and sports teams, and the coronation of a Homecoming Queen. American high schools commonly field football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, golf, swimming, track and field, and cross-country teams as well.


Cuisine

The cuisine of the United States is extremely diverse, owing to the vastness of the continent, the relatively large population (1/3 of a billion people) and the number of native and immigrant influences. Mainstream American culinary arts are similar to those in other Western countries. Wheat and corn are the primary cereal grains. Traditional American cuisine uses ingredients such as turkey (bird), turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize, corn (maize), squash (plant), squash, and maple syrup, as well as indigenous foods employed by American Indians and early European settlers, African slaves, and their descendants. Iconic American dishes such as apple pie, doughnut, donuts, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrants and domestic innovations. French fries, Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are consumed. The types of food served at home vary greatly and depend upon the region of the country and the family's own cultural heritage. Recent immigrants tend to eat food similar to that of their country of origin, and Americanization, Americanized versions of these cultural foods, such as American Chinese cuisine or Italian-American cuisine often eventually appear. Vietnamese cuisine, Korean cuisine and Thai cuisine in authentic forms are often readily available in large cities. German cuisine has a profound impact on American cuisine, especially mid-western cuisine; potatoes, noodles, roasts, stews, cakes, and other pastries are the most iconic ingredients in both cuisines. Dishes such as the hamburger, pot roast, baked ham, and hot dogs are examples of American dishes derived from German cuisine. Different regions of the United States have their own cuisine and styles of cooking. The states of Louisiana and Mississippi, for example, are known for their Cajun cuisine, Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine, Creole cooking. Cajun and Creole cooking are influenced by French, Acadian, and Haitian cooking, although the dishes themselves are original and unique. Examples include Crawfish etouffee, Crawfish Étouffée, Red beans and rice, seafood or chicken gumbo, jambalaya, and boudin. Italian, German, Hungarian, and Chinese influences, traditional Native American, Caribbean, Mexican, and Greek dishes have also diffused into the general American repertoire. It is not uncommon for a "middle-class" family from "Middle America (United States), middle America" to eat, for example, restaurant pizza, home-made pizza, enchiladas con carne, chicken paprikash, Beef Stroganoff, beef stroganoff, and bratwurst with sauerkraut for dinner throughout a single week. Soul food, mostly the same as food eaten by white southerners, developed by southern African slaves, and their free descendants, is popular around the South and among many African-Americans elsewhere. Syncretism, Syncretic cuisines such as Louisiana Creole, Cajun, Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Tex-Mex cuisine, Tex-Mex are regionally important. Americans generally prefer coffee to tea, and more than half the adult population drinks at least one cup a day. Marketing by U.S. industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and Dairy industry in the United States, milk (now often fat-reduced) ubiquitous breakfast beverages. During the 1980s and 1990s, the caloric intake of Americans rose by 24%; and frequent dining at fast food outlets is associated with what health officials call the American obesity, American "obesity epidemic." Highly sweetened soft drinks are popular; sugared beverages account for 9% of the average American's daily caloric intake. File:Thanksgiving Dinner Alc2.jpg, Traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. File:Quail 07 bg 041506.jpg, A cream-based New England chowder, traditionally made with clams and potatoes. File:CaesarSalad3.jpg, A Caesar salad containing croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire, and pepper. File:Jambalaya.jpg, Creole Jambalaya with shrimp, ham, tomato, and Andouille sausage. File:Flickr wordridden 3397801155--Chicken fried steak.jpg, Chicken Fried Steak (or Country Fried Steak) File:California club pizza.jpg, California-style pizza, California club pizza with avocados and tomatoes. File:Hoagie Hero Sub Sandwich.jpg, A submarine sandwich, which includes a variety of Italian luncheon meats. File:Dennysbreakfast.jpg, American breakfast, American style breakfast with pancakes, maple syrup, breakfast sausage, sausage links, bacon strips, and fried eggs. File:Flint coney island.jpg, A hot dog sausage topped with beef chili, white onions and mustard. File:BBQ Pulled Pork.jpg, A barbecue Pulled pork, pulled-pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw. File:Apple cobbler.jpg, An apple cobbler dessert.


The Nuclear Family and Family structure

The American Nuclear Family Family arrangements in the United States reflect the nature of contemporary Society of the United States, American society, as they always have. The nuclear family Is an idealized version of what most people think when they think of family. The nuclear family is (two-married adults with one or more biological children), The Nuclear family, nuclear Family holds a special place in the mindset of Americans and their culture, Today a person may grow up in a single-parent family, go on to marry and live in a childless couple arrangement, then get divorced, live as a single for a couple of years, remarry, have children and live in a nuclear family arrangement.


Youth dependence

Exceptions to the custom of leaving home in one's mid-twenties can occur especially among Italian and Hispanic Americans, and in expensive urban real estate markets such as New York City, California, and Honolulu, where monthly rents commonly exceed $1,000 a month.


Marriage and divorce

Marriage laws are established by individual states. The typical wedding involves a couple proclaiming their commitment to one another in front of their close relatives and friends, often presided over by a religious figure such as a minister, priest, or rabbi, depending upon the faith of the couple. In traditional Christian ceremonies, the bride's father will "give away" (handoff) the bride to the groom. Secular weddings are also common, often presided over by a judge, Justice of the Peace, or other municipal officials. Same-sex marriage is legal in all states. Divorce is the province of state governments, so divorce law varies from state to state. Prior to the 1970s, divorcing spouses had to allege that the other spouse was guilty of a crime or sin like abandonment or adultery; when spouses simply could not get along, lawyers were forced to manufacture "uncontested" divorces. The no-fault divorce revolution began in 1969 in California; New York and South Dakota were the No-fault divorce#The adoption of no-fault divorce laws by the other states, last states to begin allowing no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences" is now available in all states. However, many states have recently required separation periods prior to a formal divorce decree. State law provides for child support where children are involved, and sometimes for alimony. "Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago... between 40% and 60% of ''new'' marriages will eventually end in divorce. The probability within... the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%... Perhaps 25% of children (ages 16 and under) live with a stepparent." The median length for a marriage in the U.S. today is 11 years with 90% of all divorces being settled out of court.


Housing

Historically, Americans mainly lived in a rural environment, with a few important cities of moderate size. American cities with housing prices near the national median have also been losing the Household income in the United States, middle income neighborhoods, those with median income between 80% and 120% of the metropolitan area's median household income. Here, the more affluent members of the middle-class, who are also often referred to as being professional or upper middle-class, have left in search of larger homes in more exclusive suburbs. This trend is largely attributed to the ''American middle-class#Middle-class squeeze, Middle-class squeeze'', which has caused a starker distinction between the American middle-class#statistical middle class, statistical middle class and the more privileged members of the American middle class, middle class. In more expensive areas such as California, however, another trend has been taking place where an influx of more affluent middle-class households has displaced those in the actual middle of society and converted former American middle-class#statistical middle class, middle-middle-class neighborhoods into Upper middle-class#American upper middle-class, upper-middle-class neighborhoods.


Transport


Automobiles and commuting

The rise of suburbs and the need for workers to commute to cities brought about the popularity of automobiles. In 2001, 90% of Americans drove to work by car.Highlights of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey
, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation, accessed May 21, 2006
Lower energy and land costs favor the production of relatively large, powerful cars. The culture in the 1950s and 1960s often catered to the automobile with motels and drive-in restaurants. Outside of the relatively few urban areas, it is considered a necessity for most Americans to own and drive cars. New York City is the only locality in the United States where more than half of all households do not own a car. In the 1950s and 1960s subcultures began to arise around the modification and racing of American automobiles and converting them into hot rods. Later, in the late-1960s and early-1970s Detroit manufacturers began making muscle cars and pony cars to cater to the needs of wealthier Americans seeking hot rod style, performance and appeal.


Social class and work

Though most Americans in the 21st century identify themselves as American middle class, middle class, American society and its culture are considerably fragmented. Social class, generally described as a combination of Educational attainment in the United States, educational attainment, Income in the United States, income and occupational prestige, is one of the greatest cultural influences in America. Nearly all cultural aspects of mundane interactions and consumer behavior in the U.S. are guided by a person's location within the country's Social structure of the United States, social structure. Distinct lifestyles, consumption patterns and values are associated with different classes. Early sociologist-economist Thorstein Veblen, for example, said that those at the top of the societal hierarchy engage in conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption. American upper class, Upper class Americans commonly have elite Ivy League Educational attainment in the United States, educations and are traditionally members of exclusive clubs and fraternities with connections to high society (social class), high society, distinguished by their enormous incomes derived from their wealth in assets. The upper-class lifestyle and values often overlap with that of the Managerial Class, upper middle class, with main differences being higher attention to security and privacy in home life and high regard for philanthropy (i.e. the "Donor Class") and the arts. Due to their large wealth (inherited or accrued over a lifetime of investments) and lavish, leisurely lifestyles, the upper class are more prone to idleness. The upper middle-class, or the "working rich", commonly identify education and being cultured as prime values, similar to the upper class. Persons in this particular Social structure of the United States, social class tend to speak in a more direct manner that projects authority, knowledge and thus credibility. They often tend to engage in the consumption of so-called mass luxuries, such as designer label clothing. A strong preference for natural materials, organic foods, and a strong health consciousness tend to be prominent features of the upper middle-class. American middle-class individuals in general value expanding one's horizon, partially because they are more educated and can afford greater leisure and travel. Working-class individuals take great pride in doing what they consider to be "real work" and keep very close-knit kin networks that serve as a safeguard against frequent economic instability. Working-class Americans and many of those in the middle class may also face occupation alienation. In contrast to upper-middle-class professionals who are mostly hired to conceptualize, supervise, and share their thoughts, many Americans have little autonomy or creative latitude in the workplace. As a result, white collar professionals tend to be significantly more satisfied with their work. In 2006, Elizabeth Warren presented her article entitled "The Middle Class on the Precipice", stating that individuals in the center of the income strata, who may still identify as middle class, have faced increasing economic insecurity, supporting the idea of a working-class majority. Political behavior is affected by class; more affluent individuals are more likely to vote, and education and income affect whether individuals tend to vote for the Democratic or Republican party. Income in the United States, Income also had a significant impact on health as those with higher Income in the United States, incomes had better access to health care facilities, higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality rate and increased health consciousness. This is particularly noticeable with black voters who are often socially conservative, yet overwhelmingly vote Democratic. In the United States occupation is one of the prime factors of Social structure of the United States, social class and is closely linked to an individual's identity. The average workweek in the U.S. for those employed full-time was 42.9 hours long with 30% of the population working more than 40 hours a week. The Average American worker earned $16.64 an hour in the first two quarters of 2006. Overall Americans worked more than their counterparts in other developed post-industrial nations. While the average worker in Denmark enjoyed 30 days of vacation annually, the average American had 16 annual vacation days. In 2000 the average American worked 1,978 hours per year, 500 hours more than the average German, yet 100 hours less than the average Czech Republic, Czech. Overall the U.S. labor force is one of the most productive in the world, largely due to its workers working more than those in any other post-industrial country (excluding South Korea). Americans generally hold working and being productive in high regard; being busy and working extensively may also serve as the means to obtain esteem.


Race and ancestry

Race in the United States is based on physical characteristics, such as skin color, and has played an essential part in shaping American society even before the nation's conception. Until the civil rights movement of the 1960s, racial minorities in the United States faced institutionalized discrimination and both social and economic marginalization. Today the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of the Census recognizes four races, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American or American Indian, African American, Asian American, Asian and White American, White (European American). According to the U.S. government, Hispanic Americans do not constitute a race, but rather an ethnic group. During the 2000 U.S. Census, Whites made up 75.1% of the population; those who are Hispanic or Latino constituted the nation's prevalent minority with 12.5% of the population. African Americans made up 12.3% of the total population, 3.6% were Asian American and 0.7% were Native American. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution—ratified on December 6, 1865—abolished slavery in the United States. The northern states had outlawed slavery in their territory in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century, though their industrial economies relied on raw materials produced by slaves. Following the Reconstruction period in the 1870s, racist legislation emerged in the Southern states named the Jim Crow laws that provided for legal segregation. Lynching was practiced throughout the U.S., including in the Northern states, until the 1930s, while continuing well into the civil rights movement in the South. Chinese Americans were earlier marginalized as well during a significant proportion of U.S. history. Between 1882 and 1943 the United States instituted the Chinese Exclusion Act (United States), Chinese Exclusion Act barring all Chinese immigrants from entering the United States. During the Second World War, roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans, 62% of whom were U.S. citizens, were imprisoned in Japanese American internment, Japanese internment camps by the U.S. government following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, an American military base, by Japanese troops. Due to exclusion from or marginalization by earlier mainstream society, there emerged a unique subculture among the racial minorities in the United States. During the 1920s, Harlem, New York became home to the Harlem Renaissance. Music styles such as jazz, blues, hip hop music, rap, rock and roll, and numerous folk-songs such as Blue Tail Fly, Blue Tail Fly (Jimmy Crack Corn) originated within the realms of African-American culture and were later adopted by the mainstream. Chinatowns can be found in many cities across the country and Asian cuisine has become a common staple in mainstream America. The Hispanic community has also had a dramatic impact on American culture. Today, Catholics are the largest religious denomination in the United States and outnumber Protestants in the Southwest and California. Mariachi music and Mexican cuisine are commonly found throughout the Southwest, and some Latin dishes, such as burritos and tacos, are found practically everywhere in the nation. Economic variance and substantive segregation, is commonplace in the United States. Asian Americans have Household income in the United States, median household income and Educational attainment in the United States, educational attainment exceeding that of other races. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans have considerably lower Income in the United States, income and Educational attainment in the United States, education than do White Americans or Asian Americans. In 2005, the Household income in the United States, median household income of Whites was 62.5% higher than that of African Americans, nearly one-quarter of whom live below the Poverty in the United States, poverty line. 46.9% of Crime in the United States, homicide victims in the United States are African-American. After the attacks by Muslim terrorists on September 11, 2001, discrimination against Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. rose significantly. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) reported an increase in hate speech, cases of airline discrimination, hate crimes, police misconduct, and racial profiling.
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Race relations

White Americans (non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic/Latino and white Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic/Latino) are the racial majority and have a 72% share of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 US Census. Hispanic and Latino Americans comprise 15% of the population, making up the largest ethnic minority. African American, Black Americans are the largest racial minority, comprising nearly 13% of the population. The non-Hispanic Whites, White, non-Hispanic or Latino population comprises 63% of the nation's total. File:Man holding sign during Iranian hostage crisis protest, 1979.jpg, A man holding a sign that reads "deport all Iranians" and "get the hell out of my country" during a protest of the Iran hostage crisis in Washington, D.C. in 1979 Throughout most of the country's history before and after its independence, the majority race in the United States has been Caucasian, and the largest racial minority has been African-Americans. This relationship has historically been the most important one since the founding of the United States. Currently, most African-Americans are descendants of African slaves imported to the United States, though some are more recent immigrants or their descendants. Slavery existed in the United States at the time of the country's formation in the 1770s. The U.S. banned the importation of slaves in 1808. Slavery was partially abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation issued by the president Abraham Lincoln in 1862 for slaves in the Southeastern United States during the Civil War. Slavery was rendered illegal by the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Jim Crow Laws prevented full use of African American citizenship until the 20th century. The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed official or legal segregation in public places or limited access to minorities. Relations between white Americans and other racial or ethnic groups have been a source of tension at various times in U.S. history. With the advent of European colonization, and continuing into the early years of the republic, relations between whites and Native American was a significant issue. In 1882, in response to Chinese immigration due to the California Gold Rush, Gold Rush and the labor needed for the Transcontinental Railroad, the U.S. signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned immigration by Chinese people into the U.S. In the late 19th century, the growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S., fueled largely by Mexican immigration, generated debate over policies such as English as the official language and reform to immigration policies. A huge majority of Americans of all races disapprove of racism. Nevertheless, some Americans continue to hold negative racial/ethnic Stereotypes of groups within the United States, stereotypes about various racial and ethnic groups. Professor Imani Perry, of Princeton University, has argued that contemporary racism in the United States "is frequently unintentional or unacknowledged on the part of the actor", believing that racism mostly stems unconsciously from below the level of cognition.


Death and funerals

It is customary for Americans to hold a Wake (ceremony), wake in a funeral home within a couple of days of the death of a loved one. The body of the deceased may be embalmed and dressed in fine clothing if there will be an open-casket Viewing (funeral), viewing. Traditional Jewish and Muslim practices include a ritual bath and no embalming. Friends, relatives and acquaintances gather, often from distant parts of the country, to "pay their last respects" to the deceased. Flowers are brought to the coffin and sometimes eulogy, eulogies, elegy, elegies, personal anecdotes or group prayers are recited. Otherwise, the attendees sit, stand or kneel in quiet contemplation or prayer. Kissing the corpse on the forehead is typical among Italian Americans and others. Condolences are also offered to the widow or widower and other close relatives. A funeral may be held immediately afterward or the next day. The funeral ceremony varies according to religion and culture. American Catholics typically hold a Catholic funeral, funeral mass in a church, which sometimes takes the form of a Requiem mass. Jewish Americans may hold a service in a synagogue or temple. Pallbearers carry the coffin of the deceased to the hearse, which then proceeds in a procession to the place of final repose, usually a cemetery. The unique Jazz funeral of New Orleans features joyous and raucous music and dancing during the procession. Mount Auburn Cemetery (founded in 1831) is known as "America's first garden cemetery." American cemetery, cemeteries created since are distinctive for their rural cemetery, park-like setting. Rows of grave (burial), graves are covered by lawns and are interspersed with trees and flowers. Headstones, mausoleums, statuary or simple plaques typically mark off the individual graves. Cremation is another common practice in the United States, though it is frowned upon by various religions. The ashes of the deceased are usually placed in an urn, which may be kept in a private house, or they are interred. Sometimes the ashes are released into the atmosphere. The "sprinkling" or "scattering" of the ashes may be part of an informal ceremony, often taking place at a scenic natural feature (a cliff, lake or mountain) that was favored by the deceased.


Drugs and alcohol

American attitudes towards drugs and alcoholic beverages have evolved considerably throughout the country's history. In the 19th century, alcohol was readily available and consumed, and no laws restricted the use of other drugs. Attitudes on drug addiction started to change, resulting in the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, Harrison Act, which eventually became proscriptive. A movement to ban alcoholic beverages called the Temperance movement, Temperance movement, emerged in the late 19th century. Several American Protestant religious groups and women's groups, such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union, supported the movement. In 1919, Prohibitionists succeeded in Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, amending the Constitution to prohibit the sale of alcohol. Although the Prohibition period did result in a 50% decrease in alcohol consumption, banning alcohol outright proved to be unworkable, as the previously legitimate distillery industry was replaced by criminal gangs that trafficked in alcohol. Prohibition Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, was repealed in 1933. States and localities retained the right to remain "dry", and to this day, dry county, a handful still do. During the Vietnam War era, attitudes swung well away from prohibition. Commentators noted that an 18-year-old could be Conscription in the United States, drafted to war but could not buy a beer. Since 1980, the trend has been toward greater restrictions on alcohol and drug use. The focus this time, however, has been to criminalize behaviors associated with alcohol, rather than attempt to prohibit consumption outright. New York was the first state to enact tough drunk-driving laws in 1980; since then all other states have followed suit. All states have also banned the purchase of alcoholic beverages by individuals under 21. A "Just Say No to Drugs" movement replaced the more liberal ethos of the 1960s. This led to stricter drug laws and greater police latitude in drug cases. Drugs are, however, widely available, and 16% of Americans 12 and older used an illicit drug in 2012. Since the 1990s, marijuana use has become increasingly tolerated in America, and a number of states allow the Medical cannabis in the United States, use of marijuana for medical purposes. In most states marijuana is still illegal without a medical prescription. Since the 2012 general election, voters in the District of Columbia and the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada,
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its ...

Oregon
, and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Marijuana is classified as illegal under federal law.


Volunteerism

Alexis de Tocqueville first noted, in 1835, the American attitude towards helping others in need. A 2011 Charities Aid Foundation study found that Americans were the first most willing to help a stranger and donate time and money in the world at 60%. Many low-level crimes are punished by assigning hours of "community service", a requirement that the offender perform volunteer work; some high schools also require community service to graduate. Since US citizens are required to attend jury duty, they can be jurors in legal proceedings.


Governmental role

In the federal government of the United States, responsibilities that are usually in a Ministry of Culture, cultural minister's portfolio elsewhere are divided among the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Federal Communications Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior, the United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the United States Commission of Fine Arts, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Gallery of Art. However, many state and city governments have a department dedicated to cultural affairs.


Military culture

From the time of its inception, the military played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged out of the victorious First Barbary War, Second Barbary War, and the War of 1812. Even so, the Founding Fathers of the United States, Founders were suspicious of a permanent military force and not until the outbreak of World War II did a large standing army become officially established. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the onset of the Cold War, created the modern U.S. military framework; the Act merged previously Cabinet-level United States Department of War, Department of War and the United States Department of the Navy, Department of the Navy into the United States Department of Defense, National Military Establishment (renamed the Department of Defense in 1949), headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the United States Department of the Air Force, Department of the Air Force and National Security Council. The U.S. military is one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its manpower from a large pool of paid Volunteer military, volunteers; although Conscription in the United States, conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1972. As of 2011, the United States spends about $550 billion annually to fund its military forces, and appropriates approximately $160 billion to fund War on Terrorism, Overseas Contingency Operations. Put together, the United States constitutes roughly List of countries by military expenditures, 43 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. armed forces as a whole possess large quantities of advanced and powerful equipment, along with widespread placement of forces around the world, giving them significant capabilities in both defense and power projection. There is and has been a strong military culture among military veterans and currently serving military members.


Gun culture

In contrast to most other Western nations, Gun law in the United States, guns are widely legal in the United States, and private gun ownership is common; almost half of American households contain at least one firearm. In fact, there are more privately owned firearms in the United States than in any other country, both ''per capita'' and in total. Considerable freedom to possess firearms is often considered by the people and the government to be guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Civilians in the United States possess about 42% of the global inventory of privately owned firearms, though rates of gun ownership vary significantly by region and by state; gun ownership is most common in Alaska, the Mountain States, and Southern United States, the South, and least prevalent in
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state that is an archipelago, a ...

Hawaii
, the Territories of the United States, island territories, California, and
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York (state), New York to the west and by the Cana ...

New England
. Gun ownership tends to be more common in rural than in urban areas. Image:Houston Gun Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center.jpg, left, Visitors at a gun show Hunting, plinking and target shooting are popular pastimes, although ownership of firearms for purely utilitarian purposes such as personal protection is common as well. In fact, "personal protection" was the most common reason given for gun ownership in a 2013 Gallup poll of gun owners, at 60%. Ownership of handguns, while not uncommon, is less common than ownership of long guns. Gun ownership is considerably more prevalent among men than among women; men are approximately four times more likely than women to report owning guns.


See also

* 1950s American automobile culture * American studies * American exceptionalism * American Dream * Americanization *
Americana Americana artifacts are related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Co ...
* Society of the United States * American imperialism * Culture of the Southern United States *Midwestern United States, Culture of the Midwestern United States *Western United States, Culture of Western United States *Appalachian culture, Appalachian Culture * Etiquette in North America * Folklore of the United States * Philanthropy in the United States * Stereotypes of Americans


References


Further reading

* Coffin, Tristam P.; Cohen, Hennig, (editors), ''Folklore in America; tales, songs, superstitions, proverbs, riddles, games, folk drama and folk festivals'', Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1966. Selections from the ''Journal of American folklore''. * * Ellen Ruppel Shell, Shell, Ellen Ruppel, ''Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture'', New York: Penguin Press, 2009. * Peter Swirski, Swirski, Peter. ''Ars Americana Ars Politica: Partisan Expression in Contemporary American Literature and Culture''. Montreal, London: McGill-Queen's University Press (2010) *


External links


Customs & Culture in the U.S.

American Culture Education

Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans


* [https://web.archive.org/web/20110627175126/http://www.commoncensus.org/ CommonCensus Map Project] – Identifying geographic spheres of influence {{DEFAULTSORT:Culture Of The United States American culture, American society, American studies Arts in the United States Entertainment in the United States