North America Languages
North America – Languages
In the US and Canada, English is dominant, while Spanish is the main language in Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. Just over 18% of the population of the United States as a mother tongue has languages other than English, especially Spanish (2000). In Canada, where about 25% are French speakers, approx. 1/3 of the inhabitants languages other than English as their mother tongue. Large parts of Mexico’s population speak Native American languages, but also in the United States, Canada and Greenland many of the Native American and Inuit populations have retained their native languages to varying degrees. Click Countryaah to find detailed languages and population information in North America.
|Country||Literacy men (percent)||Literacy among young people (percent)|
|Antigua and Barbuda||98.4 (2015)||–|
|Barbados||99.6 (2014)||99.9 (2014)|
|Belize||70.3 (1991)||77.6 (1991)|
|Costa Rica||97.3 (2011)||99.1 (2011)|
|Dominican Republic||93.8 (2016)||98.8 (2016)|
|El Salvador||90.3 (2016)||98.0 (2016)|
|Grenada||98.6 (2014)||99.2 (2014)|
|Guatemala||86.8 (2014)||94.4 (2014)|
|Haiti||53.4 (2006)||72.3 (2006)|
|Honduras||89.0 (2016)||96.1 (2016)|
|Jamaica||83.4 (2014)||96.3 (2014)|
|Cuba||99.7 (2012)||99.9 (2012)|
|Mexico||95.8 (2016)||99.1 (2016)|
|Nicaragua||78.1 (2005)||87.0 (2005)|
|Panama||94.7 (2010)||97.6 (2010)|
|Saint Kitts & Nevis||–||–|
|St. Vincent & the Grenadines||95.8 (1970)||98.0 (1970)|
|Trinidad & Tobago||98.0 (1990)||99.3 (1990)|
North American Vegetation
The North America has a large number of plant formations. This is due to its large dimension and latitudinal orientation (in the south-north direction), which determines the existence of different types of climates, the main influence on the formation of vegetation. The relief of the subcontinent also plays an important role in this regard.
The tundra can be found in the northern part of Canada, due to the polar and subpolar climates that, because of the short summers, prevent the formation of trees. The tundra is made up of lichens, fungi, grasses and small shrubs, which are formed by melting in summer. The southern and central Canada and part of Alaska have the boreal forest, or taiga, as the predominant vegetation, which is an aciculifoliate forest (needle-shaped leaves) with large trees, cone-shaped crowns and a low variety of species, predominantly pine and spruce. Taiga is the vegetal formation that covers the largest territorial extension in the world, also occurring in the north of Europe and Asia.
The vegetation in the northeast and west of the United States, regions that are characterized by a mild climate and with well-defined seasons, is the deciduous temperate forest, which has a wide variety of species. In the higher parts, we find mainly conifers, such as pine and beech. In the lower parts of the Northeastern United States, broad-leaved (deciduous) and deciduous species are observed, which lose their leaves at a certain time of the year – in the case of these, around autumn. This phenomenon is due to seasonal climate changes. With a thermal range of around 60 °C, large trees need to lose their leaves to conserve energy and face the harsh winters. In the low areas and close to the Pacific Ocean, in the western USA, we find the temperate rain forest, where a smaller annual thermal variation and a higher humidity index favor the formation of a large stature conifer vegetation, exceeding 90 meters high in the case of redwoods. We observed in the temperate forest different plant strata, such as smaller trees, shrubs, grasses and lichens.
The North American central plains are characterized by grassland and steppe formations, the two formations being dominated by herbaceous grasses. What differentiates the two formations is the climate and, therefore, the size they reach. The steppes are transition formations between the desert areas and the prairies, where the rain is poorly distributed and the temperatures are higher, presenting herbaceous grasses of smaller stature when compared to the prairies. Prairies are found in regions with low rainfall and a temperate climate, being a formation that does not need much water to develop. It is common in the prairies that occur burning natural, annual, that clean the excess of organic matter in the soil, allowing the appearance of new vegetation.
In the south of the USA and northern Mexico, it is possible to find desert and semi-arid regions, such as the deserts of Nevada, Mojave and Sonora, where predominate: xerophyte shrubs, prepared for dry climates with thick barks, deep roots and without leaves in most of the year, except in periods of rain; and also cacti, succulent plants that store a lot of water inside.
In southern Mexico and Florida, with high temperatures and high rainfall, we can observe the tropical forest with great biodiversity of broadleaved trees, characterized by tall trees, reaching 40 meters, and by a very dense vegetation cover, which inhibits the insolation in the soil. The Los Tuxtlas nature reserve, in the south of the state of Veracruz and the Selva Lacandona, located in Chiapas, stand out in Mexican territory.
The surface shape of the islands is very diverse. For example, Cuba mainly consists of flat, undulating lowlands (limestone tablets), which are dominated by heavily karstified mountains. Similar structures can be found in Jamaica. The Lesser Antilles islands, e.g. B. Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia or Domenica, on the other hand, are predominantly volcanic in origin and are dominated by volcanic cones (Fig. 3).
Depending on their location, the islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles always have a humid or alternating humid tropical climate. The climate of the islands is tempered by the northeast trade wind and influenced by the altitude. The highest rainfall of more than 6000 mm per year falls on the eastern side of the mountains. Characteristic of the Caribbean region are hurricanes (tropical cyclones) occurring in late summer, which often devastate entire islands. The original vegetation, especially evergreen tropical rainforests and mountain forests, has given way to the influence of humans in large parts of the islands.