Poland Extras! Get to know more about Poland!

Location: Central Europe, east of Germany, and of all the Western countries
total area: 312,680 sq km
land area: 304,510 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than New Mexico
Land boundaries: total 3,114 km, Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 432 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 428 km
Coastline: 491 km
International disputes: none
Climate: temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Terrain: mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Natural resources: coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt
Land use:
arable land: 46%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 13%
forest and woodland: 28%
other: 12%
Irrigated land: 1,000 sq km (1989 est.)
current issues: forest damage due to air pollution and resulting acid rain; improper means for disposal of large amounts of hazardous and industrial waste; severe water pollution from industrial and municipal sources; severe air pollution results from emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants, which also drifts into Germany and the Netherlands
Natural hazards: flooding
International agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Note: historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain

Population: 38,622,660 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.5% (male 3,458,844; female 3,284,995)
15-64 years: 69.8% (male 13,407,012; female 13,547,728)
65 years and over: 12.7% (male 1,879,445; female 3,044,636) (2003 est.)

Population growth rate: 0% (2003 est.)
Birth rate: 10.47 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate: 9.96 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 8.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 10.04 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.91 years
male: 69.77 years
female: 78.28 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.37 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
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 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)

noun: Pole(s), Polaks (eng.), Polaken (german)
adjective: Polish
Ethnic divisions: Polish 97.6%, German 1.3%, Ukrainian 0.6%, Byelorussian 0.5% (1990 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 95% (about 75% practicing, but that is of course irrelevant), Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and other 5%
Languages: Polish
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)

Labor force: 17.321 million (1993 annual average)
by occupation: industry and construction 32.0%, agriculture 27.6%, trade, transport, and communications 14.7%, government and other 25.7% (1992)

conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska
Digraph: PL
Type: democratic state
Capital: Warsaw
Independence: 11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)
National holiday: Constitution Day, 3 May (1791)
Constitution: interim "small constitution" came into effect in December 1992 replacing the Communist-imposed constitution of 22 July 1952; new democratic constitution being drafted
Legal system: 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; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Flag: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white

Overview: 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 due to a lack of political will on the part of the government. Structural 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 June 2003, 77% of the voters approved membership, 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 and the dollar while currencies of the other euro-zone aspirants have been appreciating. GDP per capita equals that of the 3 Baltic states.
National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $373.2 billion (2002 est.)
Real growth rate: 1.4% (2002 est.)
GDP per capita: purchasing power parity - $9,700 (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line: 18.4% (2000 est.)
Labour force: 17.6 million (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: official: 18.1% (2002) , unofficial: ca. 20 % (2004)
External debt: $65 billion (2004).

total: 23,420 km
broad gauge: 646 km 1.524-m gauge
standard gauge: 21,639 km 1.435-m gauge (11,626 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,135 km various gauges including 1.000-m, 0.785-m, 0.750-m, and 0.600-m (2002)

total: 364,656 km
paved: 249,060 km (including 358 km of expressways)
unpaved: 115,596 km (2000)
total: 150 (2002)

Telephones - main lines in use: 8.07 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 13 million (2002)
Telephone system: 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: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat, NA Eutelsat, 2 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions), and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)
broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 777, shortwave 1 (1998)
broadcast stations: 179 (plus 256 repeaters) (September 1995)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 19 (2000)
Internet users: 6.4 million (2001)

Source: CIA the World Factbook
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