Love it or hate it, America is one of the most powerful countries in the world and shows no signs of letting up. During its relatively short lifespan, America has become home to people from across the globe, bringing different ethnicities, cultures, religions, and languages into one diverse and evolving nation. Of course, emerging powers like India or China are strengthening all the time, but there is no denying that the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave is still out in front. If you are in any doubt, here are just 16 ways America is number one in the world.
- World’s largest reserve currency
The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 tied the world’s currencies to the US dollar which is backed by the largest reserves of gold. Over 60% of the globe’s foreign banks use US dollars as their currency reserve.
- Biggest military spends and arms exports
America spends more than every other country on its military budget. In 2019, the US spent $732 billion, which constituted 38% of the total global spend. America was also responsible for 36% of the world’s arms exports between 2015-2019. In second place is Russia, but the US spent 76% more during that period.
- Highest spend on medical research and healthcare
When it comes to money spent, America spends more on medical research and development than any other country, with $543 billion spent in 2017. The majority of the medical research papers published in the world are written by Americans. The American healthcare system is a controversial topic, but we spend more on our healthcare (in total and per capita) than any other nation. The average amount spent on each citizen is $10,000.
- Dominant force in technology and artificial intelligence
Many of the world’s greatest and most influential technological inventions were created in the US. From the personal computer and the microchip to the social media revolution, America has changed the way the world interacts. Artificial intelligence is another area where America is leading the way, with President Donald Trump signing an Executive Order launching the American AI Initiative in February 2019. America has also invested over $70 billion in automation stocks, which is the most any nation has committed to robotics.
- Olympic sports achievements
Myprotein conducted research that found that the USA dominates the global sporting arena, having won 2,520 medals at the Olympics, more than any other nation. The US has also hosted eight Olympic Games and is due to host the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. The article also speculates that this could be because athletic talent is recognized and nurtured from an early age, that colleges support young people to pursue sport, and being a sportsperson is viewed as a legitimate and highly respectable career.
- Top media consumers
American consumes more media than any other country in the world, including the internet, TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. In fact, the media market in the US was worth nearly $680 billion in 2018, which accounted for almost a third of the global market.
- Highest movie box office takings
India is responsible for the highest number of movies made and tickets being sold, but in terms of box office takings, Hollywood takes the top spot. In 2019, Hollywood movies took in $11.45 billion, and countries all over the world have been influenced by American culture as a result.
- Home to the most billionaires
America is home to more billionaires than any other country in the world, with over 640 at last count. In addition, the richest person in the world who is predicted to become the planet’s first-ever trillionaire (Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon), was born and lives in America.
- Largest stock exchange
The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street was founded in 1817 and now has the largest market value of all stock exchanges. In fact, the New York Stock Exchange is more valuable than NASDAQ, Tokyo, and London put together.
- Space exploration, aerospace, and aviation
While some countries might try to argue, America has always been and continues to be a world leader where it concerns space exploration, aerospace, and aviation. We put the first man on the moon and more recently launched the SpaceX rocket, the first-ever commercialized space flight. America also leads in the development of aircraft engines, jets, and helicopters.
- World-leading universities
According to the QS World University Rankings in 2020, America boasts the best three universities in the world:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Stanford University
- Harvard University
It is no surprise that these universities are also the most expensive places to study in the world.
- Most charitable donations
The CAF World Giving Index shows that Americans make more charitable donations than any other nation on the planet, with more than $427 billion donated in 2018. Most donations were made to charities that help humans, with religion and health being other popular causes.
- Highest number of pet dogs and cats
While China takes second place, America is home to the world’s highest number of animal lovers, with nearly 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats recorded.
- Largest road network
If you add up all the roads in America, they equal 4.09 million miles, which is the largest road network that you will find in the world. America also has the Pan-American Highway, which is the world’s longest road at 29,800 miles starting in Alaska and ending in Argentina.
- Spending on cosmetic surgery
Americans spend more on cosmetic surgery than any other nation, with $16.5 billion spent on 17.7 million cosmetic procedures and treatments in 2019. The most popular forms of cosmetic surgery include tummy tucks and breast augmentation.
- Birthplace of fast-food chains
The biggest fast-food chains in the world started in the US including Macdonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway, and Starbucks. On average, American people spend $1,200 on fast food annually, which works out to $50 billion for the whole country.