The United States of America (USA) is vast, covering more than 3,732,396 square miles (9,666,861 square kilometers). It is composed of 48 mainland states and two additional states: the tropical islands of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, and Alaska, which reaches into the Arctic Circle about 500 miles north through Canada.
From the Pacific coast in the west to the Atlantic coast in the east, the contiguous U.S. stretches more than 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers), a land of extraordinary geographical diversity. Bounded by Canada in the north and by Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico in the south, the landscape includes great plains, volcanic mountains, vast deserts, and rolling hills.
The population of the United States was estimated at about 263 million in 1995 (275.5 million in 2001), and is the third largest in the world after China and India respectively. About 21% of Americans are under the age of 15, while 13% are over 65. More than 76% live in cities. The average population density is 72 persons per square mile (28 per square kilometer). California is the most populous state, with 32 million inhabitants, followed by Texas (18.6 million) and New York (18.2 million).
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices. The Commission also enforces federal antitrust laws that prohibit anticompetitive mergers and other business practices that restrict competition and harm consumers. Whether combating telemarketing fraud, Internet scams or price-fixing schemes, the FTC’s primary mission is to protect consumers