Way of Life - شهية الطبخ المغربي

Way of Life

For census purposes, the United States is divided into urban areas and
rural areas. An urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, is a
community with 2,500 or more people. A rural area is a community with
fewer than 2,500 people.
In 1790, the year of the first census, about 95 percent of the nation's
people lived in rural areas, and only about 5 percent were urban dwellers.
Through the years, these percentages changed steadily and dramatically.
Today, about 75 percent of all the people live in urban areas. Only about
25 percent live in rural areas.
Several factors contributed to the dramatic population shift from the
countryside to urban areas. Through the years, Americans greatly
improved agricultural methods and equipment. From the 1800's onward,
farm work has become more and more efficient, farm production has
soared, and fewer and fewer people have been needed to work on the
nation's farms. At the same time, an industrial boom has created large
numbers of new jobs in the nation's urban areas. As a result of these
economic changes, a steady flow of people from rural to urban areas has
taken place. Also, large numbers of immigrants-many of whom had been
farmers in their homelands-found jobs in cities and settled there when
they reached the United States. In addition, the variety of job choices and
recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities in cities attracted
many rural people, especially the young. Large numbers of rural people
left home to seek employment and excitement in cities.
Urban life. Urban areas, which range from giant cities surrounded by
suburbs to small towns, dot the U.S. landscape. Although the urban areas
cover about 2 1/2 percent of the land, they are the home of about threefourths
of the people. New York City, with about 7 million people, is the
largest U.S. city by far. Los Angeles has about 3 1/2 million people.
Chicago has a population of about 2 3/4 million. Five other U.S. cities-
Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit, and Dallas-each have more
than 1 million people.
Networks of suburbs surround many U.S. cities. The central cities and
their suburbs form units called metropolitan areas. There are about 268
metropolitan areas in the United States. The three largest are, in order of
size, the New York-Newark, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Chicago areas.
The New York-Newark metropolitan area has about 17 million people, the
Los Angeles-Long Beach area has more than 8 3/4 million people, and the
Chicago area has about 7 1/2 million people.
For many years, the vast majority of the country's urban population lived
in the central cities. But during the mid-1900's, suburban population
soared throughout the United States, while central city growth slowed
down or decreased. In 1970, for the first time, more Americans lived in
suburbs than in central cities.
The Northeast and Midwest have long had most of the nation's largest
urban areas. But during the 1900's, other parts of the country
experienced dramatic urban growth. Since the early 1900's, many
California urban communities-especially Los Angeles-have grown
tremendously. Since the mid-1900's, the populations of many more urban
areas in the West, and in the South and Southwest, have soared. Such
metropolitan areas as Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Phoenix grew
rapidly. Large numbers of people were attracted to the West, South, and
Southwest by jobs created by new industries. Also, many of the fastestgrowing
communities have warm, sunny climates, which helped attract
many of the newcomers. Parts of the South, Southwest, and West are
sometimes called the Sun Belt because they have such climates.
Urban economies provide jobs for a great variety of workers, including
office and factory workers, bankers, doctors, fire fighters, medical
personnel, police officers, teachers, trash collectors, and construction and
transportation workers. Urban life also has many other positive features.
Because urban areas have large populations, they generally offer a wide
variety of specialized services and shops. Urban dwellers can take
advantage of an assortment of restaurants, recreation facilities, and
places of entertainment. Because of such facilities as art galleries,
museums, libraries, theaters, and concert halls, many cities are important
cultural centers. These and other features make urban areas exciting and
interesting places to live for many people.
The people of most U.S. urban areas represent a variety of ethnic
backgrounds. Most cities include neighborhoods in which almost all the
people belong to the same ethnic or nationality group. The people of large
urban areas are also divided economically. Urban society includes
extremely wealthy and extremely poor people, and a huge middle class.
The wealthy live in luxurious apartments or condominiums, or in large,
comfortable single-family houses. Middle-class housing also includes
apartments, condominiums, and single-family houses. In general, the
housing of the middle class is comfortable, though not as luxurious as that
of the wealthy. In contrast, large numbers of urban poor people live in
substandard housing. They rent crowded, small apartments or rundown
single-family houses.
In addition to substandard housing, urban areas have a number of other
unpleasant features. Such features include high crime rates, racial and
ethnic friction, noisy surroundings, pollution, and traffic jams.
Rural life. More than 97 percent of all the land of the United States is
classified as rural. But much of the rural land is uninhabited or only thinly
inhabited. About 25 percent of all Americans live in rural areas.
Farms provide the economic basis of the nation's rural areas. But only
about 9 percent of the country's rural people work on farms. Many other
rural people own or work in businesses related to agriculture, such as
grain and feed stores and warehouses. Mining and related activities and
light industries also employ many rural people. Still other rural Americans
work as teachers, police officers, salesclerks, or in other occupations.
Many farmers hold other jobs for part of the year to add to their incomes.
American farmers of today lead vastly different lives from those of their
grandparents. Machines have eliminated much backbreaking farm work.
Farmers use machines to help them plow, plant seeds, harvest crops, and
deliver their products to market. Many farms have conveyor systems so
that the farmer no longer has to shovel feed to farm animals. Milking
machines make morning and evening chores easier. In the home, farm
families may have all the comforts and conveniences of city people. In the
1900's, the automobile, telephone, radio, television, and computer
brought U.S. farm families into close contact with the rest of the world.
The steady decline in the percentage of the country's rural population has
slowed since 1970. Although many people continued to move away from
rural areas, others chose to move into rural towns and farm communities.
Many of the newcomers wanted to escape the overcrowding, pollution,
crime, and other problems that are part of life in urban areas and to take
advantage of benefits of country living. Rural areas have lower crime rates
and less pollution than urban areas. They are also far less noisy and
Because of their small populations, rural communities collect less tax
revenues than urban communities do, and they generally cannot provide
the variety of services that urban areas can. For example, rural
communities have cultural and recreational facilities that are more limited
than those available in urban areas. For many rural Americans, social life
centers around family gatherings, church and school activities, special
interest clubs, and such events as state and county fairs.
Rural areas generally have less diversified economies than urban areas.
Because there are fewer jobs and a smaller variety of jobs to choose from,
rural communities may experience more widespread economic hardships
than urban communities. A single economic downturn-a drop in farm
prices, for example, or the closing of a mine-can cause economic hardship
for an entire rural area.
The nation's rural areas, like its urban areas, have wealthy, middle class,
and poor people. For the most part, however, the gaps between economic
classes are not as large in rural areas as in urban areas. Most rural
Americans live in single-family houses. The majority of the houses are
comfortable and in good condition. But some people, including many who
live in parts of Appalachia-in the eastern United States-and other pockets
of rural poverty, have rundown houses and enjoy few luxuries.
Education has been an important factor in the economic development of
the United States and in the achievement of a high standard of living for
most Americans. It has also contributed to the enjoyment of life for many
people. Americans are among the best-educated people in the world.
Schools, libraries, museums, and other educational institutions in the
country provide learning opportunities for people of all ages.
Schools. During the early history of the United States, most schools were
privately owned. Church groups owned and operated many of them. In
the early 1800's, the idea of free public schools began to gain widespread
support in the country. State and local governments took the
responsibility for establishing public school systems. By 1918, every state
had laws requiring children to attend school until they reached a certain
age or completed a certain grade. Today, about 75 percent of the nation's
elementary and high schools, and about 45 percent of its institutions of
higher learning, are public schools. The rest are private schools run by
religious organizations or private groups.
Many American children begin their schooling before enrolling in first
grade. About 35 percent of all the children aged 3 and 4 attend nursery
schools, and about 95 percent of all 5-year-olds attend kindergarten. More
than 99 percent of all U.S. children complete elementary school, and
about 75 percent of them graduate from high school. Approximately 60
percent of the high school graduates go on to colleges or universities.
About 20 percent of the country's adults complete at least four years of
higher education.
Adult education is an important part of the school system in the United
States. Millions of adults take courses at universities, colleges, vocational
schools, recreation centers, or other institutions. Many adults continue
their schooling to improve their job skills or to get training for a new job.
Others attend classes simply to develop new hobbies or to find out more
about topics that interest them. A growing number of part-time and fulltime
college and university students are men and women who have held
jobs or raised families and are returning to school to get a degree.
Public schools in the United States are supported mainly by taxation.
Private schools get their operating funds chiefly from tuition and
contributions of private citizens. The nation's schools, like its private
businesses, have always had to deal with financial problems. Rapidly
rising material and salary costs have increased the financial problems of
the schools. Some public and private schools have cut back on programs
and reduced their faculties to try to keep expenses in line with revenues.
Colleges and universities have sharply increased their tuition and fee
Schools in the United States face a number of other problems. Many
schools, particularly in large cities, have rundown buildings, inadequate
supplies, and overcrowded conditions. A far higher percentage of young
people in these areas drop out of school than in other areas. Some people
claim that schools in their areas fail to provide students with the skills to
obtain and hold jobs. Schools with large numbers of students from other
countries face the problem of educating some children who speak little or
no English.
Libraries provide the American people with access to books, periodicals,
pamphlets, and other printed matter. In addition, many libraries offer
compact discs, videotapes, and other multimedia materials; Internet
access; research services; lectures; and educational exhibits.
There are thousands of public libraries in the United States. They range
from one-room libraries in small towns to huge city libraries and their
branches. There are also thousands of university and college libraries in
the United States, as well as thousands of libraries in elementary schools
and high schools.
The nation's library system also includes large numbers of private
research libraries and special libraries with collections limited to certain
fields of knowledge. In addition, many government agencies and
businesses operate their own libraries. Three of the government's many
libraries are considered national libraries because of their large and varied
collections and because of the many services they provide. They are the
Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library of the Department of
Agriculture, and the National Library of Medicine of the Department of
Health and Human Services.
Museums. There are thousands of museums in the United States. They
include museums of art, history, natural history, and science. In addition,
a number of historic houses and villages are classed as museums. The
collections of many of the nation's museums are devoted to a single topic
of interest, such as the history of baseball or railroads. Some museums
have huge collections of items from many parts of the world. Others
feature exhibits of local interest. In addition to exhibits, many U.S.
museums offer classes, lectures, films, field trips, and other educational
services. The most famous museums in the United States include the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Museum of Science and
Industry in Chicago, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Religion. About 60 percent of all the American people are members of an
organized religious group. Among them, about 52 percent are Protestants,
38 percent Roman Catholics, 4 percent Jews, 3 percent Mormons, and 3
percent are members of Eastern Orthodox Churches. Relatively small
numbers of Americans belong to other faiths, such as Islam and
Buddhism. Roman Catholics make up the largest single religious
denomination in the United States. About 56 million Americans are Roman
Catholics. The country's largest Protestant groups are, in order of size,
Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and Presbyterians.
Religion has played an important role in the history of the United States.
Many people came to the American Colonies to escape religious
persecution in other lands. The early colonists included Puritans in New
England, Roman Catholics in Maryland, and Quakers in Pennsylvania. The
early Americans made religious freedom one of the country's basic laws.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which was
adopted in 1791, guarantees every American freedom of religion. It also
provides that no religious group be given official recognition as a state
church. These provisions were intended to prevent persecution of religious
minorities and the favoring of one church over another. Religious freedom
was one of the reasons immigrants continued to flock to the United States
through the years.
Although all religious groups in the United States enjoy freedom, Christian
traditions have had a stronger influence on American life than those of
any other faith. For example, most offices, factories, and other places of
employment are closed on Sunday, the Sabbath of most Christians. The
influence of Christianity results from the fact that a majority of the people
are Christians.
Throughout the country's history, religion has influenced everyday life in a
number of ways. For example, in colonial America many religious rules
were enforced by local governments. Some of the laws that prohibited
activities on Sunday still exist.
Today, religion has relatively less influence in the everyday lives of most
Americans. But churches and other religious organizations continue to
play important roles in American life. Their chief functions are to provide
moral guidance and places for worship. However, religious groups also
operate many elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities,
hospitals, and nursing homes. They provide aid for refugees, the poor, the
elderly, orphans, and other persons in need. Social gatherings are held at
many churches. Some religious groups take active roles in discussing such
issues as birth control and rights for minorities and women.
Recreation. Most Americans have a great deal of leisure time, and they
spend it in a variety of ways. They pursue hobbies, take part in sports,
attend sporting and cultural events, watch movies and television, listen to
music, and read books and magazines. They enjoy trips to museums,
beaches, parks, playgrounds, and zoos. They take weekend and vacation
trips, eat at restaurants, go on picnics, and entertain friends at home.
These and other activities contribute to the richness and diversity of
American life.
Sports rank as a leading American pastime. Millions of Americans enjoy
watching such sports events as automobile races, horse races, and
baseball, basketball, and football games-either in person or on television.
Many Americans, especially children and other young people, play
baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. People of most ages participate
in such sports as bicycle riding, boating, bowling, fishing, golf, hiking,
hunting, running, skiing, softball, swimming, and tennis.
Motion pictures, plays, concerts, operas, and dance performances attract
large audiences in the United States. Americans find entertainment at
home, as well. Almost all American homes have a television set. On the
average, a set is in use in each home for about seven hours a day.
Hobbies occupy much of the leisure time of many Americans. Large
numbers of people enjoy raising flower or vegetable gardens or indoor
plants. Other popular hobbies include stamp collecting, coin collecting, and
photography. In the last half of the 1900's, interest in such crafts hobbies
as needlepoint, quilting, weaving, pottery making, and woodworking
increased sharply.
Most Americans spend part of their leisure time traveling. Many take
annual vacations, as well as occasional one-day excursions or weekend
trips. Some have vacation homes near lakes or seashores, in the
mountains, or in other recreation areas. Others own motor homes or
trailers, which provide living and sleeping quarters during trips. Some
people enjoy camping in tents. Others prefer to stay in hotels or motels
while on trips.
Food. Americans eat a wide variety of foods. A typical dinner consists of
meat and potatoes, plus a lettuce salad or a vegetable, and sometimes
rolls or bread. Favorite dinner meats include beef steaks, ground beef
dishes, chicken, ham, and turkey. Fish, shellfish, and such dishes as pizza
and spaghetti also serve as main courses.
For lunch, many Americans eat a sandwich, such as a hamburger or a hot
dog. Other favorite sandwiches include those made with meat or sliced
sausage, cheese, peanut butter, and chicken or tuna salad.
Some Americans enjoy a hearty breakfast of eggs or pancakes served with
bacon or sausage. Others prefer a light breakfast of toast or a pastry, or
cereal with milk and fruit. Orange juice accompanies many breakfasts.
Cake, cookies, pie, and ice cream are eaten as desserts and snacks. Other
snack foods include chocolate candy, potato or corn chips, and such fruits
as bananas, apples, oranges, and grapes.
Beverages are drunk with meals and also at other times for refreshment.
Consumption of soft drinks, especially cola, exceeds that of any other
beverage. Americans also drink much coffee, milk, and beer, and smaller
amounts of fruit juices, tea, and wine.
Americans eat out often. Fast-food restaurants have wide popularity. They
offer a limited variety of foods, all of which are served within a few
minutes. Common fast-food items include hamburgers and other
sandwiches, fried chicken, and French fried potatoes. Many Americans also
enjoy the cooking of other countries. Chinese, French, Italian, and
Mexican restaurants have long been popular. Since the mid-1900's,
Americans have increasingly enjoyed the cuisines of India, Japan,
Thailand, the Middle East, and many other areas.
Some regions of the United States have distinctive food specialties. For
information on such foods.

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