An In-Depth View of America by the Numbers

In the days just before the election and as the U.S. population tops 300 million, TIME takes a close look at the country. Who are we, really? How do we live? What do we believe? How much do we earn?

Some places on earth are simply too big to photograph: the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall, Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Those monuments don't fit in any frame; they were made--by God or man--to overwhelm. You can visit them, snap some shots, but something is missing when you get back home. So how do you capture a country with 300 million independently minded and moving pieces? Who would even try?

We hunt the larger truths because we can't help it, especially within sight of a critical election, when pundits and pollsters have to reach general conclusions about countless specific doubts and...

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