If you’re anything like most Americans, you probably know a few things about your country. But, did you know there are a lot of fascinating facts about us that you don’t know?
We rounded up some of those interesting tidbits for you. Keep reading to discover these fun and quirky facts about America.
1. New York is the most densely populated city in the world
New York City is one of the most recognizable and influential cities in the world, attracting people from all over the world who come to the city for business, education, culture, entertainment, fashion, media, medical research, and many other reasons. The city is also home to many of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, as well as a variety of museums and galleries.
The city is characterized by its dense population and a high degree of diversity, particularly in terms of racial and ethnic groups. It is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel, as well as the largest African American and Latino populations in the U.S.
According to the United Nations’ Demographic Yearbook, New York has a population of 8,213,839 in an area of 321 square miles, making it the most densely populated city in the world. This includes the five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.
This density is driven by the city’s geography, which is largely built on three islands in the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean. This position helped it grow into a major trading and maritime hub.
However, this density also has environmental implications. The city is among the most energy-efficient and least car-dependent in the U.S., relying on public transportation and pedestrianism to get around.
In addition, it is also the largest metro area in the country that isn’t primarily made up of suburban homes. It has more than half of its residents living in urban areas, and fewer than a quarter of all households own cars.
Despite its high population density, the city has been able to manage it fairly well. For example, the city has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
It also has some of the largest and most successful universities in the world, including Columbia University and New York University. It is also home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other American city.
While population growth has slowed since the 1990s, it has still remained fairly steady over the years, with a total of 8.21 million people living in the city as of 2016. The city’s population growth has been slow, but it is expected to continue growing slowly in the future.
2. Kansas produces enough wheat to feed the world
Kansas is known as the “Wheat State” and the “Breadbasket of the World.” In 2017, wheat was Kansas’ top agricultural export, bringing in nearly $1 billion. From farmers to flour mills and beyond, a global network depends on Kansas’ 328 million bushels of wheat harvested each year.
Wheat is an important food staple, and it’s a key component in many American favorites. It’s used to make bread and a variety of other products, including cereal and pretzels. It’s also found in beverages like bourbon and beer.
The United States is the largest producer of wheat in the world, and about half of it goes abroad. That’s why scientists at Kansas State University are working to develop new climate-resistant wheat varieties that can help alleviate hunger in the developing world.
But drought is putting a damper on this year’s crop. It’s a problem that experts say will hurt Kansas’ reputation as the “breadbasket of the world.”
When farmers in western and central Kansas plant their winter wheat crops this year, they expect to harvest fewer bushels than last year because of dry weather. The result is expected to be a drop in production worth more than $1 billion at current prices for the hard red winter wheat.
It’s a big problem, and it’s one that isn’t going to be solved overnight. It’s a trend that economists, analysts and growers don’t see reversing anytime soon.
Fortunately, the Wheat Quality Council’s twice-yearly tours have brought stakeholders from the industry – wheat growers, millers, commodity traders, bakers and researchers – together in an effort to educate non-agricultural people about the industry. This year’s tour drew upwards of 100 participants from across the country and abroad.
The tour aims to teach people about how to grow and harvest wheat. It also gives participants an inside look into the wheat business, which can be complicated and confusing to the average person without a background in agriculture.
Despite the drought, the tour expects Kansas’ summer wheat harvest to be bigger than ever before, thanks to newer drought-resistant wheat varieties. And a weakened dollar that fell to the lowest in more than three years earlier this year should boost demand and increase the price of wheat, says Brad Seery, vice president at Wheat Quality Council. That should allow Kansas’ lifelong farmers to continue to plant wheat as they have for generations.
3. S’mores were invented in the U.S.
If you’re looking for the quintessential summertime treat, a toasted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers will do the trick. Whether you roast them over a campfire or heat them up on your kitchen stove, s’mores have been a North American favorite for decades.
The first official recipe for s’mores was written in 1927. However, it’s possible that the tradition of combining roasted marshmallow and chocolate started even earlier. For example, in 1913, a candy called Mallomars first appeared, which features a round graham cracker topped with marshmallow and covered in dark chocolate.
S’mores are a staple at campfires, but they’re also delicious if you cook them in the microwave or on your grill. They can be served as a dessert, snack or breakfast, and are made with simple ingredients like graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.
There are lots of ways to make s’mores, and you can even add other ingredients to give them a kick. For example, you can replace chocolate with peanut butter or swap in a slice of banana for a fruity twist on this classic summer treat.
You can also make s’mores with ginger snaps, Oreos or pretzels. These options are perfect for those who don’t have a campfire or aren’t sure how to make them.
Another popular alternative is to use a metal rod or coat hanger instead of a wooden stick. According to S’mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion, marshmallows tend to cook faster and more consistently on a metal rod than on a wooden one.
Using a metal rod or coat hanger also makes it easy to get the s’mores a little charred on the outside for a more authentic campfire experience.
In addition to being a fun way to spend time with friends and family, s’mores are a great treat for adults and kids alike. They can be enjoyed with a glass of milk or as an on-the-go dessert, and they’re perfect for camping trips.
If you love the idea of s’mores but aren’t sure what to make, there are plenty of recipes available online that will get you started. Just be sure to read the warnings and instructions before you start roasting them over a fire.
4. Eight U.S. presidents were born in Virginia
The United States has seen 45 men hold the position of president over the course of 229 years, but they have only come from 21 different states. As a result, if you count presidents by their birthplace, Virginia has produced more than any other state in the Union.
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe and William Henry Harrison all hailed from Virginia, as did Woodrow Wilson. These eight presidents have made significant contributions to American history and continue to be influential in our national identity today.
Retired Bridgewater College political science professor David McQuilkin says that these eight presidents are closely tied to the Commonwealth’s role in history. The state is home to many historic homes, churches and taverns that can provide a glimpse into the lives of these presidents.
One of the most popular destinations in the Shenandoah Valley is Staunton’s own Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, where you can see artifacts from his life, including a model of his White House and an autobiography written by his son, Woodrow Wilson Jr.
Other museums in the area feature a variety of presidents’ memorabilia, and you can visit historic sites that were important to them. Some of these sites include the homes and taverns that were part of their childhoods or their early careers in politics, like Monticello, which Jefferson grew up in, and Tuckahoe Plantation, where Washington spent his formative years.
The most famous of these homes is Monticello, the awe-inspiring mountainside estate that Jefferson built for his family. The property is now a National Historic Landmark and a place where you can learn about the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence, proclaimed the nation’s independence from Great Britain, and established many of the traditions and institutions that still shape the presidency today.
Other prominent presidents who were born in Virginia include Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and John Tyler. You can learn more about these presidents in dozens of other museums, including Richmond’s Hampden-Sydney College, which is home to the National Museum of American History.