15 Bizarre Facts About America You Won’t Believe Are True

Think you know everything there is to know about America? Then you’re smarter than the average person. It turns out a large percentage of native-born United States citizens can’t correctly answer simple questions on the official U.S. citizenship test.

But beyond the basics, there are a few crazy facts about America that most people never heard before. Ahead, beef up your trivia knowledge and get ready for 15 facts about the U.S.A. that will blow your mind.

1. There is no official language in the United States

Smiling people waving American flags and looking up in crowd
Flags | Martin Barraud/Getty Images

Welcome to the melting pot, where most people speak English, a huge portion of people speak Spanish, and if you speak just about any other language you’re bound to find a community of folks who share that same form of communication. There are more than 350 languages spoken in the U.S.

Next: This company has employed a huge number of Americans.

2. One in eight people in the United States has been employed by McDonald’s

McDonald's Reports Second Quarter Earnings and Record Sales Reflecting Revitalization Progress
McDonald’s employee | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

McDonald’s may not be the biggest fast food chain in the world, but they certainly are the most popular. Perhaps that’s why everyone from high school kids to working parents and retirees has donned the uniform and flipped burgers. In fact, McDonald’s hires around 1 million workers every year in the United States.

Next: Buying this state was incredibly cheap.

3. Russia sold Alaska to the United States for 2 cents per acre

Byers Lake, Alaska, with a view of Denali
Byers Lake, Alaska | Mbarrettimages/iStock/Getty Images

Talk about a bargain buy! The largest state in the nation by far is Alaska, and it came cheap at just $7.2 million total. In just 50 years following the purchase, America made their money back more than 100 times over. The Russians probably didn’t know about the gold, right?

Next: These states don’t follow a common practice.

4. Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight savings time

Man adjusts 20 clocks for daylight saving time
Daylight saving time isn’t going anywhere any time soon. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Many people believe that daylight savings time was implemented for farmers, but that’s not true. In fact, most farmers are against it. The practice started during WWI in the German Empire. And despite all the opposition, most of the country follows it — except for Arizona and Hawaii.

Next: There are more of this type of animal than people.

5. Cows outnumber humans three to one in Montana

Line of Angus cattle
Cattle | JackieNix/iStock/Getty Images

It’s a good thing cows don’t want to stage a mutiny against people… because in Montana they’d probably win. The number one industry in this state is agriculture, and livestock accounts for two-thirds of it. There are approximately 2.6 million cattle in Montana and just over 1 million humans residing there.

Next: Here’s why people think America is weird.

6. Other countries think it’s weird that college sports are so popular

Notre Dame football
Notre Dame football | Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Europeans cannot fathom the popularity of March Madness. America is the only country that celebrates college sports and elevates their players to elite status. It is a little strange when you think about it — technically, college athletes are just students doing extracurricular activities.

Next: This fact about unwed mothers has changed drastically over the years.

7. In the U.S., 40% of babies are born to unmarried women

Businesswoman With Baby Son Leaving House For Work
A woman leaves her house with her baby. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

It wasn’t always this way, but for the eighth year in a row, a whopping 40% of all babies were born to unwed mothers. That’s in stark contrast to 1940, when just 3.8% of babies had unmarried parents. That number didn’t hit 10% until 1969.

Next: This health crisis is only getting worse.

8. One in three Americans is obese

Obesity | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ask 50 different people what caused the obesity epidemic and you’ll get 50 different answers. Still, the fact remains that one in three Americans qualifies as obese according to BMI charts. Associated illnesses cost the nation $315 billion in healthcare expenses and it keeps getting worse — and more expensive — every year.

Next: You won’t believe this is legal

9. It’s legal for children to smoke

Ash tray
Cigarette butts | VladyslavDanilin/iStock/Getty Images

This one just seems like a huge oversight. Despite the incredible health risks and addictive nature of cigarettes, it is legal for children under 18 to light up and smoke a cigarette (except in Nevada). It’s just illegal for them to purchase the cigarettes.

Next: Most presidents were born in this state.

10. Most presidents were born in Virginia

Virginia motto
Virginia is for Lovers | fotoguy22/iStock/Getty Images

Maybe it’s because of the close proximity to the nation’s capital? Whatever the reason, eight United States presidents were born in Virginia, including four of the first five. They were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Next: Here’s why you may be richer than most other citizens.

11. If you have a $10 bill and no debt, you are wealthier than 15% of all American citizens

Ten dollars
Ten dollars | OlyaSolodenko/iStock/Getty Images

The American way is to borrow money to buy the things you don’t have. Student loan debt, credit card debt, medical debt, mortgages, car loans — it all adds up, and the Federal Reserve found that a huge portion of the population has negative net value.

Next: It’s shocking how little time Americans spend doing this one thing.

12. Most Americans spend 4.4 years at each job

Business Job interview. HR and resume of applicant on table.
Job interview | ijeab/iStock/Getty Images

No wonder most people can’t stick to one-page resumes. American employees are likely to leave their companies in search of higher salaries and better benefits rather than sticking it out for the long haul. The average Baby Boomer holds 10 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42.

Next: Here’s why the rent is so high in the city.

13. More people live in New York City than in 40 out of 50 states

New york
The Statue of Liberty | Spyarm/iStock/Getty Images

Wrap your head around this for a minute: New York City may be geographically tiny, but it’s home to 8.5 million people and growing. That’s more bodies crammed into one location than the whole wide countryside including 40 other states.

Next: This could be the answer to world hunger.

14. Kansas produces enough wheat in 1 year to feed everyone in the world for two weeks

Wheat field
Wheat field | seregalsv/iStock/Getty Images

If there was a logical way to transport and distribute all the wheat in Kansas around the world, then no one would go hungry for two weeks (except everyone who avoids gluten). It’s all just proof of how important farmers are — and how big Kansas is.

Next: It’s amazing to think about the logistics of this.

15. There are around 5,000 commercial airplanes flying over the United States at any given time

airplane in the clouds
Airplane | Dr.Fly/iStock/Getty Images

Look up in the sky for long enough and you’re bound to see an airplane whizzing by. Air traffic controllers have their work cut out for them, because an astounding 5,000 planes are usually flying at the same time. Still, air travel is one of the statistically safest (and fastest) ways to get from place to place.

Read more: Some of America’s Favorite Brands Aren’t Actually American

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