The 50 Most Common Questions Asked About America from Abroad

The 50 Most Common Questions Asked About America from Abroad

With help from the team at Google, we collected and answered the most common questions the rest of the world has about America.
January 23, 2017, 5:00am

Every day, a whole bunch of people use Google's search engine to help answer all manner of questions, from important life-changing decisions like what to eat for lunch, to trivial queries about how many albums the band Hoobastank has put out (five).

Though America may now be an empire in decline, a decent number of these global inquiries are about the USA. With help from the Google team, we collected and answered the 50 most common questions about America from the rest of the world. Turns out that people have heard about our military prowess.

What time is it in America?

At time of press: 7:43 AM, 8:43 AM, 9:43 AM, 10:43, 11:43 AM, and 12:43 PM, depending on where you're standing. We're a pretty big country, and we often have to ask this question of ourselves when coordinating communications with friends, family, and colleagues thousands of miles away. Best to tailor your query to a specific city for future time inquiries.

How many states are in the USA?

This is an easy one. There are 50 states. That said, we also have Washington, DC, and 16 island territories like Puerto Rico that are like states, but the citizens have fewer rights. It's kinda fucked up.

How many people are in the US?

The most recent census has us at 324,406,583 citizens, and we have a net gain of one person every 17 seconds so… "medium a lot?"

How old is America?

We were officially founded in 1776, so that has us at a relatively spry 238 years young, but you could be pedantic and argue older based on when colonists got here. All you need to know is that we're old enough. ;)

When was America discovered?

I'm sure you didn't mean to open such a can of worms with this question, my inquisitive foreign friend, but this is a highly contested subject. Columbus got here in 1492, but we're starting to collectively realize that he was a genocidal piece of shit and, since there were humans already living here when he came through, maybe he shouldn't get so much praise for his "discovery."

Who won the 2016 Election?

A lot of people won their respective Senate, House, and gubernatorial races, but if you just mean the presidency, Donald Trump won.

What is the capital of America?

Washington, DC.

Who discovered America?

As noted above, this is all a matter of perspective and how you define discovery. Columbus is the go-to answer, but there might have been some other Europeans who beat him, or this Islamic scholar who figured out it was there using math. And then, of course, there are the Clovis people who walked across the land bridge from Asia.

What percentage of Americans vote?

In the November general election, only 59.7 percent of those eligible voted.

Who is the president of America?

As of Friday, Donald J. Trump is the POTUS. Most of us are just as confused about how that happened as you are.

When was slavery abolished in USA?

The 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, was ratified on December 6, 1865. Of course, that doesn't mean every slave was suddenly unshackled that day like at the end of The Wiz. We were terrible enough to find ways to keep quasi-slavery going for quite a while after that.

How many Americans died in WWII?

Calculating war death is tricky, but we lost around 405,000 military and civilian lives with another 30,000 who went missing. Russia lost 24 million in the same conflict, so you could say we got off easy.

Who found America?

Knock it off.

Is Puerto Rico part of the United States?

Yes, PR is a territory and likely to remain one (i.e. not become a state).

How many gold medals does USA have?

We have earned 1,118 gold medals over the 49 Olympic games we've participated in. This puts us in first place for all time totals, well ahead of the Soviet Union's paltry 473 golds. We get a gold medal in gold-medal-having. USA! USA! USA!

How to move to America?

You could sneak in, marry someone, fill out a bunch of paperwork and wait forever, visit and then defect if your homeland sucks. There are a bunch of ways to pull this off, but, honestly, with the new president, ongoing economic slump, and half the country hating immigrants, now might not be the best time to come over.

Is America a country?

Yes? I mean, officially it's the "United States of America," but "America" has become acceptable shorthand, whether or not South America likes it.

When was America great?

Good question. The answer depends on what color your skin is and the inherent subjectivity of "greatness," of course.

Is America a democracy?

Another one where I wish I could give you a clear cut answer, but, alas, this is also up for debate. We are a representative democracy in that we elect officials to act on our behalf, but that rarely pans out as we'd like it to.

As many point out, we're also a republic. There's overlap between democracies and republics. It's like the square and rectangle classification thing in geometry.

How many registered voters are in the US?

More than 200 million were registered to vote in the November election. Only 138 million voted, in the end, so I guess 60 million people had somewhere better to be that day.

How many aircraft carriers does the US have?

We currently have ten active carriers and three more buns in the oven.

We probably don't need that many, but, let's be real, aircraft carriers are pretty sick. You get the best of land, air, and sea all scrunched up into one.

How many Americans are there?

I just told you. I'll look again. OK, we're at 324,406,913 now. Not that drastic a change. Don't ask again.

Where is America?

Don't you see? America was in your heart the whole time.

But also, we're on planet Earth smushed between Canada and Mexico with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans bookending our wester and eastern coasts respectively.

How many illegal immigrants are in the US?

As of 2014, we had 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, but that's really just us spit-balling. Turns out, people trying to live under the radar are somewhat hard to keep data on.

When did the US enter WWII?

We took some potshots from the sidelines going all the way back to 1940, but we officially clicked "going" on WWII's Facebook event invite on December 7, 1941, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

How many Americans died in Vietnam?

Assuming you're just asking about the war and not including the tourists who choked on Banh Mis last year, 58,209 Americans died in Vietnam.

Why did the US enter WWI?

A German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British vessel Lusitania, killing (among others) 129 Americans who were aboard. Soon after, a telegraph was intercepted wherein Germany was promising Mexico a bunch of (formerly Mexican) US land if it joined sides with the Huns.

Congress was like "talk shit, get hit" and voted to join the Great War on April 6, 1917.

How to move to Canada from US?

Why are you, someone who isn't in the US, asking how to move to Canada from the US?

Anyway, if you want to do things by the books, you're going to need to fill out a ton of paperwork, spend more than you probably have saved, and wait for a while to be allowed it. Even if you try to marry a Canadian, you're still looking at a wait time of 14 months.


It might just be easier to sneak across the border and pray Trudeau's softer on illegal immigrants than Trump.

Who really discovered America?

No! Fuck off.

What is the country code for USA?

We're #1. No, literally, it's just +1.

How to watch US Netflix?

Well, I hope you watch it on a large screen, so you can really take in all the visuals. And comfortably, maybe with a friend or a loved one.

If you're talking about skirting regional restrictions, you could download a VPN.

How much is a US stamp?

Our stamps cost $0.47. Be sure to buy "forever stamps," though. They still count, even if the regular stamp price goes up! There is zero reason not to get these inflation-proof bad boys.

How to get job in USA?

According to baby boomers, it's as easy as walking into a store, demanding to speak to the manager, and asking if they're hiring.

How many guns are in America?

Somewhere in the ballpark of 300 million guns are floating around America. That's almost one for every man, woman, and child. And if you haven't seen a child popping off rounds at the gun range, you ain't lived, brother.

What is Thanksgiving in USA?

Thanksgiving is an annual holiday where extended families come together to argue over politics and eat a meal that nobody is particularly jazzed about. Nobody has actually been thankful for something at a Thanksgiving meal since 2003.

How to apply for US visa?

Business or pleasure? Once you know which of the 20 US visas you're applying for, just fill out some paperwork online and busy yourself for a few weeks while you wait for it to be processed.

How many people are in the US military?

We've got 1,281,900 people in active duty military and another 801,200 junior varsity troops spread out across our reserve forces. Don't mess with us, buster.

What percentage of America is white?

Obligatory "race is a social construct" aside, the self-identified non-Hispanic white population was at 63 percent in the 2012 census, but that number has likely shrunk a bit since.

Is the United States a country?

For the time being, yes, the United States is still a country.

What does America mean?

People have been trying to figure that out since the country's inception. Best guess: capitalism.

If you mean the word itself, it's just named after some dude, Amerigo Vespucci, who sailed around the world a bunch during the Renaissance.

How many nukes does the US have?

We're sitting on a war chest of 4,760 nuclear weapons with varying degrees of BOOM-power.

That might sound like a huge number, but, in fact, we've decommissioned a fuck-ton since the 60s and 70s, when you couldn't leave the house without tripping over a Fat Man.

Is Canada a part of the US?

Nah. It ain't like that between us and Canada.

How to call US from Mexico?

You can either use the +1 trick from above when dialing, or speak into the tin can and string set up we have over by Juarez.

How many Indians are in the USA?

As of 2010, there were 2,843,391 Indian-Americans living in the United States.

How many millionaires are in the US?

We've got millions of millionaires here in the USA—10.4 million American households bootstrapped themselves up to a net worth of more than $1,000,000. But we only have one Chamillionaire.

When did America become a country?

We might've been founded on July 4, 1776, but most historians agree that America truly became a country the following weekend when the founders all went out to Joshua Tree to shroom and bond.

Is today a holiday in the US?

Probably. We love boring filler holidays here. Even if there isn't an A-list calendar holiday happening on a given date, you can bet some state legislature has deemed it "Crème brûlée appreciation day" or some bullshit.

Where is weed legal in the US?

I'm going to direct you to this map because neither you nor I want a list of 28 state names here.

How many time zones are in the US?

It's been so long since your first question about time that I'll forgive you for forgetting. There are six time zones in the US, my dear.

How many Syrian refugees in USA?

Ending on a chipper note, I see. With 4 million Syrians fleeing their homes and ISIS and desperate for a place to turn, the US has graciously agreed to take in… (drumroll)… 16,000, give or take.  Follow Justin Caffier on Twitter.