How many in America?
The United States is a geographically vast, consumer-driven country with a mixed economy that allows for highly diverse industries, manufacturing, skill sets, tourism, cuisine, and commerce—and a wide-reaching culture, to boot. This country holds many things, from trees and national parks to suburban sprawl and crime. This is the land of plenty (127.59 million households in 2018), and of the few (just 321 drive-in movie theaters nationwide). In its short legacy, the country has also accrued a number of failed experiments and abandoned endeavors: including more than 3,800 ghost towns, in excess of 300 demolished or abandoned amusement parks, and a whopping 450,000 brownfield sites.
The U.S. accounts for just 4.4% of the global population yet contains 22% of the world’s prisoners and is responsible for more than 30% of the planet’s waste. But what other numbers make up this country?
To find out, Stacker scoured statistics, tourism boards, national parks service websites, and various datasets to bring examples of just how many of 50 different things exist in the U.S. From guns and movie theaters to parks and Starbucks, nothing was off limits. The research spans all 3.797 million square miles of the U.S. and looks at topics including industry, business, personal finance, entertainment, and more. Can you take a guess as to how many public schools are in the U.S.? Do you have any clue as to how many billionaires might be residing there? Read on to find out—and learn a thing or two about each of these selection’s cultural significance and legacy along the way.
Automobiles: 281.3 million cars
Hedges & Company projects that there are 281.3 million registered cars in 2019, up from 276.1 million in 2018. 2016 marked the first time more than 70 million cars were manufactured globally in a year (72,105,435 to be exact). That same year, 17.5 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. An astonishing 65% of those were also produced here.
Churches: 384,000 congregations
While there isn't an organization that tracks up-to-date figures on the number of U.S. congregations, a 2012 report by the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion estimated the number of “churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship” to be around 384,000. The number has been vacillating up and down over the years, increasing and decreasing rather than showing any overarching trend one way or another.
National parks: 59
There are 59 national parks in the United States, some of the most famous of which include Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Joshua Tree. In 2017, three parks—Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park—each enjoyed in excess of 10 million recreation visits. California and Alaska are the states with the most parks—nine and eight, respectively.
Guns (civilian): 393,000,000
According to the Small Arms Survey report, which analyzes gun data from 230 countries worldwide, there are 393 million civilian-owned firearms in America. Analysis by the Washington Post concluded that the number represents a cache large enough for “every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.” At roughly 120.5 guns per every 100 residents, the United States has double the ratio of Yemen, the next-highest country on the list (where there are an estimated 52.8 guns for every 100 residents).
Zoos: 215 accredited zoos
Although the Department of Agriculture licenses more than 2,000 “animal exhibitors,” a much smaller number are considered true zoos and accredited as such. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums reported 215 accredited facilities in the U.S. as of October 2018. The figure includes zoos, aquariums, nature centers, aviaries, butterfly houses, safaris, and theme parks. Of those, 54% are non-profits, 35% are public zoos, and 11% operate for-profit enterprises.
Zip codes: 42,000
There are nearly 42,000 zip codes spread across in America, each of which routes mail to its appropriate destination. The numbers range from 00501 (the lowest one for the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville, N.Y.) to the 99950 (the highest one in Ketchikan, Alaska). Perhaps the easiest zip code to remember, according to USPS, is 12345 which belongs to General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y.
As of 2017, there were 14,027 McDonald's restaurants in the United States. Arkansas carries the distinction of having the highest density per population of the fast-food chain, with 5.8 stores per 100,000 residents. After that, the next most McDonald's-populated states include West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. On the opposite end, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and California have the fewest McDonald's per capita.
Public schools: 98,176
If you tally up all of the elementary, secondary, and combined schools throughout the United States, there was a total of 98,176 public schools in operation during the 2014-15 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The number gradually increased between the ‘80s and late aughts, going from 85,982 schools in the 1980-81 school year to 98,916 in 2007-08. The total peaked that year and has gradually declined since.
Lawyers: 1.3 million attorneys
Despite all of the lawyer jokes, Americans actually love lawyers—or at least they produce a lot of them. There were 1,338,678 licensed and active attorneys in the United States in 2018. The figure represents a small increase of 0.2% from last year and a 15.2% rise in the last 10 years.
14,000-foot mountains: 96
Known as “14ers” among mountain climbers and outdoor enthusiasts, the United States is home to 96 mountains that clock 14,000 feet or more in elevation. Of those, 53 are found in Colorado and 29 are found in Alaska. Alaska holds the 16 highest peaks with Mt. Denali being the tallest at 20,320 (and the only one to surpass 20,000 feet). The other mountains are all found in Washington and California.2018 All rights reserved.