Culture in the United States of America

Discover the Culture of the United States

American culture falls under what is referred to as Western culture. As the United States is a country of immigrants, influence on culture in the USA has come form Native Americans, Europe, Africa (Afro-Americans)and new groups of immigrants. USA's culture is distinctly diverse and considered by many as a "salad bowl", consisting of many subcultures such as the African American cutlure in USA. Regional cultural differences are also notable through the country.

Due to its great diversity, there is no one particular American attitude or outlook. Culture in America has been driven by such ideals as liberty , equality and the pursuit of happiness as evidenced in the Declaration of Independence. Ideals and perceptions in the United States are largely based upon the following: liberty, equality, self-sufficiency, Judeo-Christian morality, democracy, pluralism, altruism, patriotism, populism and free markets. Many of USA's cultural values diverge from those of Europe and Asia. American's strongly believe in experimentation and consider failure as a step closer to success. The creation of personal peer networks is encouraged as opposed to pre-established hierarchies. There is no formal caste or class system in the USA and many believe that invisible boundaries can be crossed. American's generally have an optomistic view that every problem can be solved if enough effort and commitment is put in. USA's culture is defined by openess in the expression of opinions, in social situations and in signs of affection such as hugging.

Regional differences can be seen in the culture of the United States. This variation is often as a result of race, ethnicity, religion, region and so forth. Rural communities have been decreasing as more people view cities as offering greater opportunities for employment and entertainment. About half of the United States' population resides in suburbs, considered by many to be the "American dream". Urban centres are notably different due to the density of people in the cities as well as the greater diversity of subcutures.

Family life is a large part of any culture. The early 1900s was dominated by what is referred to as the nuclear family - a two-parent family. In this family structure, children typically live at home and then go off to pursue tertiary education, usually moving out of the house during their 20s. Generally, an idividual who is older then 25 and still living with his/her parents is frowned upon. In recent years it is common for both parents to have jobs as well as care for the family. Children are often sent to day-care from a young age in dual-earner families. Single-parent families are on the increase in the USA. Such families often experience economic difficulties as there is only one "breadwinner". Gender roles in American culture have seen great changes since the 1970s. Most roles are not restricted to a single gender, the greatest exception being in the military. Whilst the law makes no gender restrictions, certain roles are considered gender specific in culture.

Due to the great diversity of the USA's population, numerous languages are spoken in the country. English is spoken as a home-language by 81 % of Americans whilst 97% can speak the language. Languages which feature in USA culture are Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, French and various native languages. Many religions are adhered to by Americans. Traditionally the United States was mostly Protestant. Today, there is no dominant religion and many off-shoots have developed.

This is just a brief overview of culture in USA. Due to the large population of the country and its great diversity, the study of American culture is extensive and in-depth.


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