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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January, 2004
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2004.

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

Map of Poland

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Poland
Definition Field Listing
Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived around the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland currently suffers low GDP growth and high unemployment. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.
   Geography    Poland
Definition Field Listing
Central Europe, east of Germany
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
52 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 312,685 sq km
land: 304,465 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than New Mexico
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,788 km
border countries: Belarus 407 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 526 km
Definition Field Listing
491 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
Definition Field Listing
temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Definition Field Listing
mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 45.91%
permanent crops: 1.12%
other: 52.97% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-Communist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes; pollution levels should continue to decrease as industrial establishments bring their facilities up to European Union code, but at substantial cost to business and the government
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
   People    Poland
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38,626,349 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 17.1% (male 3,388,247; female 3,216,085)
15-64 years: 70% (male 13,454,820; female 13,591,814)
65 years and over: 12.9% (male 1,896,940; female 3,078,443) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 36.2 years
male: 34.3 years
female: 38.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.02% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.64 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.97 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 8.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 9.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 74.16 years
male: 70.04 years
female: 78.52 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.38 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.1% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100 (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other 2.7% (2002)
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 95% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and other 5%
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)
   Government    Poland
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Malopolskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Slaskie, Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie
Definition Field Listing
11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Constitution Day, 3 May (1791)
Definition Field Listing
adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 25 May 1997; effective 17 October 1997
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of Continental (Napoleonic) civil law and holdover Communist legal theory; changes being gradually introduced as part of broader democratization process; limited judicial review of legislative acts, but rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final; court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI (since 23 December 1995)
head of government: Prime Minister Marek BELKA (since 24 June 2004); Deputy Prime Minister Jerzy HAUSNER (since 11 June 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the prime minister and the Sejm; the prime minister proposes, the president appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 8 October 2000 (next to be held NA October 2005); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
election results: Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI reelected president; percent of popular vote - Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI 53.9%, Andrzej OLECHOWSKI 17.3%, Marian KRZAKLEWSKI 15.6%, Lech WALESA 1%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral legislature consisting of an upper house, the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms), and a lower house, the Sejm (460 seats; members are elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms); the designation of National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe is only used on those rare occasions when the two houses meet jointly
elections: Sejm elections last held 23 September 2001 (next to be held by September 2005); Senate - last held 23 September 2001 (next to be held by September 2005)
election results: Sejm - percent of vote by party - SLD-UP 41%, PO 12.7%, Samoobrona 10.2%, PiS 9.5%, PSL 9%, LPR 7.9%, AWSP 5.6% UW 3.1%, other 1%; seats by party (as of 16 January 2004) - SLD 190, PO 56, PiS 43, PSL 37, SO 31, LPR 29, UP 16, PLD 10, SKL 8, PBL 6, PRS 5, RKN 5, PP 3, ROP 3, German minorities 2, independents 16; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party (as of 16 January 2004)- SLD-UP 74, Block Senate 2001 10, PSL and unaffiliated 5, UW 4, SO 2, LPR 2, independents 2, PiS 1
note: two seats are assigned to ethnic minority parties in the Sejm only
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period); Constitutional Tribunal (judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Catholic-National Movement or RKN [Antoni MACIEREWICZ]; Citizens Platform or PO [Donald TUSK]; Coalition Electoral Action Solidarity of the Right or AWSP; Conservative Peasants Party or SKL-RNP [Artur BALAZS]; Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Krzysztof JANIK]; Freedom Union or UW [Wladyslaw FRASYNIUK]; German Minority of Lower Silesia or MNSO [Henryk KROLL]; Law and Justice or PiS [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; League of Polish Families or LPR [Marek KOTLINOWSKI]; Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland or ROP [Jan OLSZEWSKI]; Peasant-Democratic Party or PLD [Roman JAGIELINSKI]; Polish Accord or PP [Jan LOPUSZANSKI]; Polish Peasant Bloc or PBL [Wojciech MOJZESOWICZ]; Polish Peasant Party or PSL [Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI]; Polish Raison d'Etat or PRS [Zbigniew Witaszek]; Samoobrona or SO [Andrzej LEPPER]; Social Movement or RS [Krzysztof PIESIEWICZ]; Union of Labor or UP [Marek POL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union) [Maciej MANICKI]; Roman Catholic Church [Cardinal Jozef GLEMP]; Solidarity Trade Union [Janusz SNIADEK]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Przemyslaw GRUDZINSKI
chancery: 2640 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-3800 through 3802
FAX: [1] (202) 328-6270
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Victor ASHE
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-540 Warsaw
mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, 5010 Warsaw Place, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
telephone: [48] (22) 504-2000
FAX: [48] (22) 504-2688
consulate(s) general: Krakow
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white
   Economy    Poland
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of economic liberalization throughout the 1990s and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. Even so, much remains to be done. The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms has encouraged the development of the private business sector, but legal and bureaucratic obstacles alongside persistent corruption are hampering its further development. Poland's agricultural sector remains handicapped by structural problems, surplus labor, inefficient small farms, and lack of investment. Restructuring and privatization of "sensitive sectors" (e.g., coal, steel, railroads, and energy), while recently initiated, have stalled. Reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in larger than expected fiscal pressures. Further progress in public finance depends mainly on privatization of Poland's remaining state sector, the reduction of state employment, and an overhaul of the tax code to incorporate the growing gray economy and farmers, most of whom pay no tax. The government's determination to enter the EU has shaped most aspects of its economic policy and new legislation; in a nationwide referendum in November 2003, 77% of the voters voted in favor of Poland's EU accession, now scheduled for May 2004. Improving Poland's export competitiveness and containing the internal budget deficit are top priorities. Due to political uncertainty, the zloty has recently depreciated in relation to the euro, while currencies of the other euro-zone aspirants have been appreciating. GDP per capita equals that of the three Baltic states.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $427.1 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $11,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 31%
services: 65.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
18.4% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 24.7% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
31.6 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.7% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.92 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 27.5%, industry 22.1%, services 50.4% (1999)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20% (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $39.13 billion
expenditures: $48.64 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
47.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork
Definition Field Listing
machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.6% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
135 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
118.8 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
11.04 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
4.306 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17,180 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
424,100 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
53,000 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
413,700 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
116.4 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.471 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.85 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
41 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.782 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
154.4 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-4.085 billion (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$57.6 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment 30.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 25.5%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 20.9%, food and live animals 8.5% (1999)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 32.3%, France 6.1%, Italy 5.8%, UK 5%, Netherlands 4.5%, Czech Republic 4.1% (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$63.65 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment 38.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 20.8%, chemicals 14.3%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 9.5% (1999)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 24.4%, Italy 8.5%, Russia 7.7%, France 7.1%, China 4.3% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$33.96 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$86.82 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
EU structural adjustment funds (2000)
Definition Field Listing
zloty (PLN)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
zlotych per US dollar - 3.8891 (2003), 4.08 (2002), 4.0939 (2001), 4.3461 (2000), 3.9671 (1999)
note: zlotych is the plural form of zloty
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Poland
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.3 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.4 million (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: underdeveloped and outmoded system in the process of being overhauled; partial privatization of the state-owned telephone monopoly is underway; the long waiting list for main line telephone service has resulted in a boom in mobile cellular telephone use
domestic: cable, open-wire, and microwave radio relay; 3 cellular networks; local exchanges 56.6% digital
international: country code - 48; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat, NA Eutelsat, 2 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions), and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 14, FM 777, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
179 (plus 256 repeaters) (September 1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
804,915 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.97 million (2003)
   Transportation    Poland
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 23,852 km
broad gauge: 629 km 1.524-m gauge
standard gauge: 23,223 km 1.435-m gauge (11,962 km electrified) (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 364,656 km
paved: 249,060 km (including 358 km of expressways)
unpaved: 115,596 km (2000)
Definition Field Listing
3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2003)
Definition Field Listing
gas 12,901 km; oil 737 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Gdansk, Gdynia, Gliwice, Kolobrzeg, Szczecin, Swinoujscie, Ustka, Warsaw, Wroclaw
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 154,710 GRT/228,132 DWT
by type: bulk 7, cargo 3, chemical tanker 3, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 100 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
122 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 83
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 39
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 21 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
3 (2003 est.)
   Military    Poland
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Land Forces, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 10,291,628 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 8,034,577 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 329,743 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.5 billion (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.71% (2002)
   Transnational Issues    Poland
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
major illicit producer of synthetic drugs for the international market; minor transshipment point for Asian and Latin American illicit drugs to Western Europe

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

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