All of us know about the USA, but we really don’t know enough. For example, did you know that the state of Montana has three times as many cows as people? Or that there are three towns in the country called “Santa Claus”?
Not many people know the following 15 facts about the USA; they will astonish you!
1. In the USA, any ransom payments you might make to a kidnapper are tax-deductible.
If, under some unfortunate circumstances, one were required to pay ransom to a bunch of kidnappers, it would do you well to realise that the IRS identifies ransom money as theft, along with blackmail, extortion, and embezzlement, and under the same laws that apply to them, ransom money is tax-deductible. You do, however, need proof of the money you have lost.(source)
2. You could buy a lifetime, unlimited first-class travel pass with American Airlines for $250,000 in 1981.
Introduced in 1981, this membership started at $250,000 and allowed members access to the Admirals Club and the airline’s VIP lounges; they also gained air miles every time they flew, besides the freedom to fly wherever they want to, whenever they want to. An additional $150,000 could land you the companion pass as well.(source)
3. American homes have more exotic animals than American zoos.
At present, some states allow privately owning an exotic animal, without imposing any restrictions on the owners. 32% of these animals are reptiles while big cats constitute 19%, and primates 16%. However, commercially importing endangered animals has been restricted in the country since the early 1970s.
It is estimated that at least 5,000 tigers are being held captive in private homes, with no one licencing or regulating these pet owners.(source)
4. Facebook is cited as causing 1 in 5 divorces in the United States, and when it comes to providing online divorce evidence, 66 percent cite social networking sites as their primary source.
A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 81% of the country’s attorneys claim to have seen a vast increase in the number of divorce cases that cite Facebook as a source of evidence, with 1 in every 5 divorce cases citing it as their primary source.(source)
5. There are 115,000 janitors, 83,000 bartenders, 323,000 restaurant servers, and 80,000 heavy-duty truck drivers in the States who hold Bachelor’s degrees.
The higher education bubble that appears to be prevalent in the country seems to be hinting at the possibility that college graduates under the age of 25 are more likely to take up jobs in Starbucks or a similar franchise or in a local restaurant than find work as engineers and scientists and the likes. In fact, today, at least 1 in 3 college grads are working as janitors, bartenders or waiters and waitresses, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.(source)
6. In the 1920s and ’30s, during Prohibition, the U.S. government poisoned alcohol, killing over 10,000 people.
Alcohol poisoning was unsettlingly commonplace in Prohibition-era America, with a large number of people either ending up extremely sick or too dead to be extremely sick. The bootlegged alcohol that was all the rage was found to contain metals and other impurities that led to severe casualties. This was later found to be part of the government’s plan to scare people from consuming illicit alcohol: to this extent, it was ordered that industrial alcohol be poisoned – products that bootleggers frequently stole, reselling them as drinkable spirits.
By the time Prohibition ended in 1933, about 10,000 people had died of alcohol-induced poisoning.(source)
7. 1 American consumes as many resources as 32 Kenyans.
This means that, with a population 10 times that of Kenya’s, the USA consumes 320 times more resources than Kenya does; the average rate at which the people of North America, Japan, Western Europe, and Australia consume resources such as oil and metals being 32 times higher than that of other countries.(source)
8. In 1962, the U.S. blew up a hydrogen bomb in space that was 100 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that struck Hiroshima.
As part of a weapons test, this hydrogen bomb was detonated to see if Van Allen belts surrounding the Earth might have an impact on the blast, or vice-versa, and if the explosion could damage nearby objects or produce radiation that could disrupt vision. Part of the plan involved sending rockets hundreds of miles up, to the extent that they surpass the Earth’s atmosphere and then detonate the bombs they contained.(source)
9. If everyone on the planet led the same lifestyle as that of the average American, we would need the resources of 4.1 Earths to sustain us.
Americans use up 20% of the world’s available energy, eat 15% of the world’s meat, and produce 40% of the world’s garbage. Taking all this (and more) into consideration, the total generated ecological footprint of Americans indicates that, were all the people on this world to lead the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need 4.1 Earths to sustain mankind.(source)
10. Christmas, being an ancient pagan holiday, was illegal in the U.S. till 1907.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1660, was the first to impose a ban on Christmas festivities. Several other states followed suit, until, in 1863, Alabama became the first state to lift the ban and legalise Christmas; there were, therefore, about 200 years in the history of America wherein Christmas was illegal.
The last state to lift the ban on Christmas was Oklahoma, in 1907; the US government had already declared Christmas as a federal holiday in 1870.(source)
11. A 17-year-old designed the current flag of the US for a school project; he received a B- for it.
17-year-old Robert Heft, in 1958, designed a prospective flag for the US as part of a school project, for which he received a B-. After talking with his teacher, it was agreed that if the Congress accepted the flag, his grade would be reconsidered. The rest, as they say, is history – or at least an integral part of history: the design for the flag was accepted and admitted into the Union in 1959.
And of course, Heft’s grade was, as promised, reconsidered and raised to an A.(source)
12. For every 3 people in the US, there are 2 pets.
Nearly 3/4th of the American population owns pets. This adds up to approximately 218 million pets in the United States, excluding, of course, the fish. Survey indicates that Americans also spent about $61.4 billion on their pets in 2011 alone; a family’s average expenditure on their pets, therefore, amounted to $500 – 1% of a family’s total spending in a year.(source)
13. Interracial marriages were banned in the U.S. from 1776 to 1967.
These laws defined interracial marriages and interracial sex – called “miscegenation” – as a felony. First enacted in the early 1660s, they were retained after America gained independence in 1776; they were only completely repealed in 1967, after they were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The laws, while they existed, prohibited individuals of different races to marry; this was especially true when it came to marriages between whites and non-whites, especially blacks, Asians, and Native Americans.(source)
14. College costs in the U.S. have risen by 500% since 1985.
In the last 30 years, college tuition fees in the U.S. have surged by approximately 538%; medical costs, on the other hand, saw a 286% increase, while the consumer price index rose by 121%.
The steady increase in college tuition has resulted in more students going in for education loans, while, at the same time, making American colleges less accessible to domestic, as well as overseas students.(source)
15. 8th January, 1836 was the last day in history that the US National Debt stood at $0.
When Andrew Jackson took office as the President in 1829, the national debt of the United States stood at $58.4 million. Come the 8th of January, 1835, he announced that the national debt had been paid in full. However, this only lasted a year, with the country headed for a massive depression in the immediate years.
Today, the US’s debt is over $16 trillion.(source)