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flag United States United States: Living

In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion


Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates
Even though there are strict regulations in place in the US, over 11 million foreign residents have relocated to the country over the last 10 years, with up to 1 million applications received each year.
Blogs For Expats
Meet up
The Expat Forum
For Further Information
Life in the USA - Guide
Immigration Authority
United Citizenship and Immigration Services
Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
L&J Moving Transportation
Go Movers
Mover Worldwide

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
New York remains the most expensive city in North America. It currently ranks 11th according to the Mercer Index 2016 whilst San Francisco and Los Angeles are respectively ranked 26th and 27th.
Quality of Life
San Francisco has the highest quality of living in the United States according to Mercer Index (29th out of 231), followed by Boston (35th) and Honolulu (36th).
Sanitary Conditions
Sanitary conditions in the United States are generally very good, with a few exceptions in outlying areas. San Francisco, Columbus, Buffalo, San Jose and Portland figure among the cleanest American cities.
For Further Information
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer

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Renting an Apartment

Description of apartments
Apartment or Condominium: In an apartment complex, the whole building is owned by one company whereas in a condominium the complex is made up of individual owners.
An apartment in the USA can be: Studio - Basement; One Bedroom Apartment; Two bedroom Apartment and so on.
Apartments can be furnished or unfurnished. Most apartments in the United States will include a stove, refrigerator and sink in the kitchen, a toilet, a bathroom and a private mailbox.
Normal Lease Term
1 year or 6 months.
Rental Costs
Rent Deposit: usually one month's rent. Damage deposit: 250-300 USD. Key deposit: 10 to 50 USD.
Agencies or Private Rentals
The real estate companies sign a letting agreement called a lease with the future tenant. The rental companies are generally commission-based. Real Estate companies work with a real estate broker who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate.
Rental Agency Websites
Private Rentals Announcements Online
Other Possibilities For Accommodation
Hotels (for a temporary period, like a month). Read the local Newspaper with rental ads.
For Further Information
Life in the USA

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School System

School Level
The American education system requires that students complete 12 years of primary and secondary education prior to attending university or college. This may be accomplished either at public (or government-operated) schools, or at private schools. These 12 years of schooling may also be completed outside the USA, thus giving foreign students the opportunity to pursue the benefits of the American education system and obtain a quality American education (many other countries have followed the American education system).

Further information can be found on the website of the US department of education.

International Schools
There are a large number of foreign primary and secondary schools, such as French and British ones in all the main cities. Universities all function based on the 'American system'. For a list of international schools in the U.S. consult this link.

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Health System

Quality of Healthcare
The healthcare system in the United States is the most expensive in the world and figures among the best in terms of overall quality. However, compared to other rich and industrialised countries, the U.S. underperforms in terms of access to healthcare, efficiency and equity. Health insurance costs are rising faster than wages or inflation, and medical issues are the most common reason for personal bankruptcy in the U.S.
International Hospitals
For a list of hospitals that will accept your international insurance plan, visit Expat Medical Insurance.
Health Insurance
Yes. For more information consult this link.
Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
Most Americans obtain health insurance through their jobs or are covered because a family member has insurance at work, although measures have been introduced to increase health care access (the "Obamacare" reforms). Those with no health insurance coverage have to pay for healthcare out of their own finances at the time of service. The two main ways that people obtain health coverage, including foreigners, are by paying into a group health insurance plan or buying individual health insurance.
Health System Insurance Body
Information from the U.S. Government
Health Ministry
US Department of Health and Human Services

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Some historical tourist destinations include:

- Fort Sumter: Third System masonry coastal fortification located in Charleston harbour, South Carolina
- Liberty Bell: American bell associated with the American Revolutionary War; located in Philadelphia.
- Independence Hall: The red brick building, constructed from 1732 to 1753 and designed in the Georgian style is a National Historic Landmark. It was here that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted. Located in Philadelphia.
- Washington Monument: Large, tall white-coloured obelisk located in Washington DC.
- USS Arizona Memorial: Located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, the memorial commemorates the attacks on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.
- Ellis Island/ Statue of Liberty: Located in New York City, the monument greeted many immigrants arriving from Europe in the early 20th century. Ellis Island is located nearby and was the main entry facility for immigrants entering the United States during that period.

American cultural heritage is diverse; each region has a distinct culture that tourists can experience. Some examples include: American music (country & western, bluegrass, blues, jazz), American Cowboys/Cattle Drives, Native American cultural heritage, American sports (including American football, basketball), American holidays (Thanksgiving, Independence Day), New American cuisine, etc.
The National Park System includes 378 areas, among them are 55 National Parks and 72 National Monuments. The Blue Ridge parkway in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains attracted the most visitors (19 million and 10 million, respectively). Other parks that attract many visitors are The Grand Canyon (4.5 million), Yosemite NP (3.5 million) and Olympic NP (3.3 Million).

For more information and to see a list of national parks, consult USA Tourist.

For more information go to the Religious Travel Association website.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming has the largest collection of geysers, hot springs and thermal phenomena in the world.
Some of the most popular beaches in U.S. are located in North Carolina, Florida, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California.
Winter Sports
The United States has around 750 cross country ski areas spread across the country. Cross-country and downhill skiing as well as snowshoeing, snowboarding and dog sledding, are winter activities one can enjoy on public lands.
Outdoor Activities
Outdoor activities are very popular. Some common activities include: running, boating, camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, skiing and rafting.
American whiskey/bourbon and fashion jeans are popular items for shoppers from other countries. While e-commerce is popular, many still enjoy shopping at large shopping malls and discount stores.

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Civil Liberty
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 44/180
Free Access to the Internet
Yes (Freedom of speech, first amendment)
Rule of Law
In USA, no one is above the law.
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Minorities have been reported to suffer from social discrimination concerning access to housing and employment opportunities
Women's Condition
Women in the U.S. are legally equal to men.
For Further Information
Freedom House

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Degree of Freedom
In USA, freedom of religion means that religious groups can hold beliefs that others disagree with, they can teach these beliefs to their children, and they can practice their religion their own way.  But there are limitations to what you can do in the name of religion and religious freedom.
Protestant 52%, Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, Other 10%, Without religion 10%.
Role of Religion in Society
Religion plays an important role in contemporary social life and in the international image of Americans. Since the attacks of September 11th, 2001, religion has taken a bigger place in political life.

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Latest Update: June 2023