[Country map of World]



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Map references: World, Time Zones

total: 510.072 million sq km
land: 148.94 million sq km
water: 361.132 million sq km
note: 70.8% of the world's surface is water, 29.2% is land

Area—comparative: land area about 15 times the size of the US

Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 251,480.24 km (not counting shared boundaries twice)

Coastline: 356,000 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm claimed by most but can vary
continental shelf: 200-m depth claimed by most or to depth of exploitation, others claim 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm claimed by most but can vary
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm claimed by most but can vary
territorial sea: 12 nm claimed by most but can vary
note: boundary situations with neighboring states prevent many countries from extending their fishing or economic zones to a full 200 nm; 43 nations and other areas that are landlocked include Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Climate: two large areas of polar climates separated by two rather narrow temperate zones from a wide equatorial band of tropical to subtropical climates

Terrain: the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at 10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,848 m

Natural resources: the rapid using up of nonrenewable mineral resources, the depletion of forest areas and wetlands, the extinction of animal and plant species, and the deterioration in air and water quality (especially in Eastern Europe and the former USSR) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 26%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 31% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 2,481,250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)

Environment—current issues: large areas subject to overpopulation, industrial disasters, pollution (air, water, acid rain, toxic substances), loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion

Environment—international agreements: selected international environmental agreements are included under the Environment—international agreements entry for each country and in the Selected International Environmental Agreements appendix


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Population: 5,926,466,814 (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.3% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

Infant mortality rate: 58 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63 years
male: 61 years
female: 65 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.9 children born/woman (1998 est.)


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Data code: none; there is no FIPS 10-4 country code for the World, so the Factbook uses the "W" data code from DIAM 65-18 "Geopolitical Data Elements and Related Features," Data Standard No. 3, March 1984, published by the Defense Intelligence Agency; see the Cross-Reference List of Country Data Codes appendix

Administrative divisions: 266 nations, dependent areas, other, and miscellaneous entries

Legal system: varies by individual country; 186 (not including Yugoslavia) are parties to the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ or World Court)


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Economy—overview: Real global output—gross world product (GWP)—rose an estimated 4.0% in 1997. And, once more, results varied widely among regions and countries. With its solid 3.8% growth, the US again accounted for 21% of GWP in 1997. Western Europe grew at 2.5%, not enough to cut into its high unemployment, and accounted for another 21% of GWP. Japan's faltering economy grew at only 0.9% with its share of GWP at 8%. The advanced countries as a whole accounted for an estimated 53% of GWP, with overall growth at 3.0%. The 15 former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe posted growth of 1.8%, reversing the long downturn that followed the collapse of communism. Growth varied widely among these countries, e.g., Ukraine at a negative 3.2%, Russia at a positive 0.4%, and the Baltic countries at a strong 7%. The area as a whole accounted for 5% of global output. China and India, with a combined population of 2.2 billion or 37% of the world total, grew at 8.8% and 5%, respectively. (China's official GDP statistics probably are overstated.) The developing countries as a whole contributed 42% to GWP with an overall growth rate of 5.7%. Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government in a number of cases is losing control over resources as separatist regional movements—typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and in Canada. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. The addition of more than 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine. Because of their own internal problems, the industrialized countries have inadequate resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. Toward the end of 1997 and on into 1998, serious financial difficulties in several high-growth East Asia countries cast a shadow over short-term global economic prospects. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999 will pose serious economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. (For specific economic developments in each country of the world in 1997, see the individual country entries.)

GDP: GWP (gross world product)—purchasing power parity—$38 trillion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,500 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: all countries 25%; developed countries 2% to 4% typically; developing countries 10% to 60% typically (1997 est.)
note: national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from stable prices in Japan to hyperinflation in a number of Third World countries

Labor force:
total: 2.24 billion (1992)
by occupation: NA

Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 5%-12% unemployment (1997 est.)

Industries: dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems

Industrial production growth rate: 5% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 4 billion kW (1994)

Electricity—production: 12.34268 trillion kWh (1994)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,996 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture—products: the whole gamut of crops, livestock, forest products, and fish

total value: $5 trillion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries

total value: $5.1 trillion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
partners: in value, about 75% of imports by the developed countries

Debt—external: $2 trillion for less developed countries (1997 est.)

Economic aid: worldwide traditional foreign aid $50 billion (1995 est.)


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Telephones: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: NA

Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA


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total: 1,201,337 km includes about 190,000 to 195,000 km of electrified routes of which 147,760 km are in Europe, 24,509 km in the Far East, 11,050 km in Africa, 4,223 km in South America, and 4,160 km in North America; note—fastest speed in daily service is 300 km/hr attained by France's Societe Nationale des Chemins-de-Fer Francais (SNCF) Le Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV)—Atlantique line
broad gauge: 251,153 km
standard gauge: 710,754 km
narrow gauge: 239,430 km

total: NA km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: Chiba, Houston, Kawasaki, Kobe, Marseille, Mina' al Ahmadi (Kuwait), New Orleans, New York, Rotterdam, Yokohama

Merchant marine:
total: 27,052 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 477,514,362 GRT/743,923,664 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 21, bulk 5,623, cargo 8,426, chemical tanker 1,048, combination bulk 321, combination ore/oil 246, container 2,378, liquefied gas tanker 768, livestock carrier 58, multifunction large-load carrier 86, oil tanker 4,435, passenger 306, passenger-cargo 126, railcar carrier 20, refrigerated cargo 1,056, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1,084, short-sea passenger 491, specialized tanker 93, vehicle carrier 466 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: ground, maritime, and air forces at all levels of technology

Military expenditures—dollar figure: aggregate real expenditure on arms worldwide in 1997 remained at about the 1996 level, about three-quarters of a trillion dollars in money terms (1997 est.)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: roughly 2% of gross world product (1997 est.)