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The United States of America (commonly referred to as the United States, the US, the USA, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, DC, the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, with Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also possesses several territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.
The United States population is projected by the US Census Bureau to be 308,292,000, including an estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants. The United States is the third most populous nation in the world, after China and India. Its population growth rate is 0.98%, compared to the European Union's 0.11%. The birth rate of 13.82 per 1,000, 30% below the world average, is higher than any European countries except Albania and Ireland. In fiscal year 2008, 1.1 million immigrants were granted residence. Mexico has been the leading source of new residents for over two decades; since 1998, China, India, and the Philippines have been in the top four sending countries every year. The United States is the only industrialized nation in which large population increases are projected.
The United States is a multicultural nation, home to a wide variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Aside from the now small Native American and Native Hawaiian populations, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. The culture held in common by most Americans—mainstream American culture—is a Western culture largely derived from the traditions of European immigrants with influences from many other sources, such as Africa. More recent immigration from Asia and especially Latin America has added to a cultural mix that has been described as both a homogenizing melting pot and a heterogeneous salad bowl in which immigrants and their descendants retain distinctive cultural characteristics.
British Citizenship for Americans: The US born citizens can claim UK citizenship through descent if they have at least one parent who is British.