“American way of life”
The American way of life is an expression that refers to the "lifestyle" of people living in the United States. It is an example of a behavioral modality, developed during the 20th century. It refers to an nationalist ethos that purports to adhere to principles of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It has some connection to the concept of American exceptionalism.
The culture of the United States is a Western culture, and has been developing since long before the United States became a country. Its chief early influence was British culture, due to colonial ties with the British that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances. Other important influences came from other parts of Europe, especially countries from which large numbers immigrated such as Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Italy; the Native American peoples; Africa, especially the western part, from which came the ancestors of most African Americans; and young groups of immigrants. American culture also has shared influence on the cultures of its neighbors in the New World.
The United States has traditionally been known as a melting pot, but recent academic opinion is tending towards cultural diversity, pluralism and the image of a salad bowl rather than a melting pot.
Due to the extent of American culture there are many integrated but unique subcultures within the United States. The culutral affliations an individual in the United States may have commonly depend on social class, political orientation and a multitude of demogrpahic charateristics such as race, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation. The strongest influences on American culture came from northern European cultures, most prominently from Germany, Ireland and England.  It is, however, paramount to remember that there are great differences within American culutre which should therefore under no circumstance be seen as one large homogenous subject.
The American state of California (especially the Hollywood region) is home to a thriving motion picture industry, with prominent film studios such as Warner Brothers, Paramount, and MGM creating dozens of multi-million dollar films every year that are enjoyed around the world. American actors are often among the world's most popular and easily identified celebrities. It's worth noting that Hollywood also tends to attract many immigrant actors and directors from around the world, many of whom, such as actor Russell Crowe or director Ang Lee become just as famous and successful as American-born stars.
The United States was a leading pioneer of T.V. as an entertainment medium, and the tradition remains strong to this day. Many American television sitcoms dramas game shows and reality shows remain very popular both in the US and abroad. Animation is a popular US entertainment medium as well, both on the large and small screen. The characters created by Walt Disney and Warner Brothers animation studios remain very popular. In music, the United States has pioneered many distinct genres, such as country and western, jazz, rock music, hip hop and gospel. African-American cultural influences play a particularly prominent role in many of these traditions.
More than 97 percent of all the land of the United States is classified as rural. But much of the rural land is uninhabited or only lightly inhabited. About a fourth of all Americans live in rural areas.
Farms provide the economic basis of the nation's rural areas. But only about 9 percent of the country's rural people work on farms. Many other rural people own or work in businesses related to agriculture, such as grain and feed stores and warehouses. Mining and related activities and light industries also employ many rural people. Still other rural Americans work as teachpolice officers, salesclerks, or in other occupations. Many farmers hold other jobs for part of the year to add to their incomes.
American farmers of today lead vastly different lives from those of their grandparents. Machines have elimimuch backbreaking farm work. Farmers use ma-chines to help them plow, plant seeds, harvest crops, and deliver their products to market. Many farms have conveyor systems so that the farmer no longer has to shovel feed to farm animals. Milking machines make morning and evening chores easier. In the home, farm families may have all the comforts and conveniences of city people. In the 1900’s, the automobile, telephone, radio, and television have brought U.S. farm families into close contact with the rest of the world.
The steady decline in the percentage of the country's rural population has slowed since 1970. Although many people continued to move away from rural areas, others chose to move into rural towns and farm communities. Many of the newcomers wanted to escape the over-crowding, pollution, crime, and other problems that are part of life in urban areas and to take advantage of beneof country living. Rural areas have lower crime rates and less pollution than urban areas. They are also far less noisy and crowded.
Because of their small populations, rural communities collect less tax revenues than urban communities do, and they generally cannot provide the variety of services that urban areas can. For example, rural communities have cultural and recreational facilities that are more limited than those available in urban areas. For many rural Americans, social life centers around family gathchurch and school activities, special interest clubs, and such events as state and county fairs.
Rural areas generally have less diversified economies than urban areas. Because there are fewer and a smaller variety of jobs to choose from, rural communities may experience more widespread economic hardships than urban communities. A single economic downturn—a drop in farm prices, for example, or the closing of a mine—can cause economic hardship for an entire rural area.
The nation's rural areas, like its urban areas, have wealthy, middle class, and poor people. For the most part, however, the gaps between economic classes are not as large in rural areas as in urban areas. Most rural Americans live in single-family houses. The majority of the houses are comfortable and in good condition. But some people, including many who live in parts of Appalachia—in the eastern United States—and other pockets of rural poverty, have run-down houses and enjoy few luxuries.
Religion plays an important role in the lives of millions of Americans. The country's churches provide people with moral guidance and places for worship. Many churches also serve as centers for social gatherings, such as a church picnic, above.
Religion. About 60 per cent of all the American people are members of an organized religious group. Among them, about 52 per cent are Protestants, 38 per cent Roman Catholics, 4 per cent jews, 3 per cent Mor-mons, and 3 per cent are members of Eastern Orthodox Churches. Relatively small numbers of Americans beto other faiths, such as Islam and Buddhism. Roman Catholics make up the largest single religious denomiion in the United States. About 56 million Americans are Roman Catholics. The country's largest Protestant groups are, in order of size, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and Presbyterians.
Religion has played an important role in the history of the United States. Many people came to the American Colonies to escape religious persecution in other lands. The early colonists included Puritans in New England, Roman Catholics in Maryland, and Quakers in Pennsyl-vania. The early Americans made religious freedom one of the country's basic laws. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which was adopted in 1791, guarantees every American freedom of religion. It also provides that no religious group be given official recognition as a state church. These provisions were into prevent persecution of religious minorities and the favoring of one church over another. Religious freedom was one of the reasons immigrants continued to flock to the United States through the years.
Although all religious groups in the United States enjoy freedom, Christian traditions have had a stronger influence on American life than those of any other faith. For example, most offices, factories, and other places of employment are closed on Sunday, the Sabbath of most Christians. The influence of Christianity results from the fact that a majority of the people are Christians.
Throughout the country's history, religion has influeveryday life in a number of ways. For example, in colonial America many religious rules were enforced by local governments (see Colonial life in America [The church]). Some of the laws that prohibited activities on Sunday still exist (see Sunday).
Today, religion has relatively less influence in the everyday lives of most Americans. But churches and other, religious organizations continue to play important roles in American life. Their chief functions are to provide moral guidance and places for worship. However, religroups also operate many elementary and sec-ondary schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and nursing homes. They provide aid for refugees, the poor the elderly, orphans, and other persons in need. Social gatherings are held at many churches. Some religious І groups take active roles in discussing such issues as birtlh control and rights for minorities and women.
Historically, the United States' religious tradition has been dominated by Protestant Christianity, but this tradition coexists in a public sphere where religious plurality and secularism are the norm. For example, the United States Constitution enshrined individual freedom of religious practice, which courts have since interpreted to mean that the government is a secular institution, an idea called "reparation of church and state".
According to the same study, the major Christian denominations (making up the vast majority of faiths actively practiced in the United States) are (in order): Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal (aka Charismatic or Evangelical), Episcopalian, Latter-Day Saints, Church of Christ, and Congregational.
According to other studies, as reported by the Statistical Abstract of the United States, Americans' self-reported religious affiliations are 56% Protestant, 27% Roman Catholic, 2% Judaism, 1% Orthodox Christianity, 1% Mormon faith, 5% "other specific" religion, and 8% "other" or "did not designate." Some 68% of Americans are members of a place of worship, and 44% attend that place of worship regularly.
Most people commute to work using automobiles rather than mass transit (the New York Metropolitan Area is a notable exception); the effect of the automobile on the United States and its prominence in American life cannot be overestimated. Most jobs are based on a 40-hour work week; typically five days (Monday through Friday), eight hours per day. By law, after 40 hours, employers must pay overtime which is 150% their normal wage, although many workers are exempt, including almost all who work for a biweekly salary instead of an hourly wage. On holidays, some companies pay double.
The United States has minimum wage laws requiring a minimum wage for many employees, though a number of employment sectors are excluded. Minimum wage differs from state to state; some states have higher minimum wages than the wage mandated by the federal government.
According to equal opportunity labor laws, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, religion, political convictions, family situation, marital or parental status. In addition, applicants need not provide photos or personal information on these topics, however drug tests and criminal background checks are sometimes required. Employees must pay federal and state income tax to the government. In most cases, employees are not allowed to attend work after drinking alcohol or to drink alcohol during work. Exceptions include some restaurant jobs, bars and business meetings.
Vacations are usually two weeks, but unlike in most developed countries, there is no legal minimum. Other company benefits may include sick days and/or personal days. The common retirement age is roughly 65, with many retiring either earlier or later, depending on their personal finances and their job statisfaction. Some Americans, especially professionals continue part-work such as teaching community college classes after retirement. Others continue to work past 65 due to their job statisfaction. US companies often offer benefits such as health and dental insurance, and life insurance. In addition, the benefits can often include the employee's family as well. A few companies provide various lessons for free, such as relaxation to improve their work performance. However, most benefits are not mandated by law, and there is a large range of wages, compensation and benefits in different types of jobs. Generally, the most physically demanding jobs such as construction and farm labor are the least well compensated. Compared to most European systems, work culture in the USA seems to be much harder for employees. For example, there is less paid vacation, paid sick days, maternity leave and benefits for parents.
Most Americans have a great deal of lei sure time, and they spend it in a variety of ways. They pursue hobbies, take part in sports activities, attend sporting and cultural events, watch movies and televi-sion, listen to music, and read books and magazines. They enjoy trips to museums, beaches, parks, playand zoos. They take weekend and vacation trips, eat at restaurants, go on picnics, and entertain friends at home. These and other activities contribute to-the richness and diversity of American life.
Sports rank as a leading American pastime. Millions I of Americans enjoy watching such sports events as au-tomobile races, horse races, and baseball, basketball, and football games—either in person or on television. Many Americans, especially children and other young people, play baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. People of most ages participate in such sports as bicycle riding, boating, bowling, fishing, golf, hiking, hunting, running, skiing, Softball, swimming, and tennis.
Motion pictures, plays, concerts, operas, and dance performances attract large audiences in the United states. Americans find entertainment at home, as well. About 98 per cent of all American homes have a television set. On the average, a set is in use in each home for about seven hours a day.
Hobbies occupy much of the leisure time of many Americans. Large numbers of people enjoy raising bower or vegetable gardens or indoor plants. Other popular hobbies include stamp collecting, coin collecting, and photography. Since the mid-1900's, interest in HP1 crafts hobbies as needlepoint, quilting, weaving, pottery making, and woodworking has increased.