Poland Facts

Below follows a presentation of important facts about Poland. You can scroll or click your level of interest.


 Intro  Geography  People   Government   Economy   Communications   Transportation   Military

 

INTRODUCTION - POLAND

Background:
Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near 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. Labour 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 still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. 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. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of European organizations. 

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GEOGRAPHY - POLAND

Location: 
Central Europe, east of Germany 
Geographic coordinates:
52 00 N, 20 00 E 
Map references: 
Europe 
Area: 
total: 312,679 sq km
land: 304,459 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km 
Area - comparative:  
slightly smaller than New Mexico 
Land boundaries:  
total: 3,047 km
border countries: Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 615 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 432 km, Slovakia 420 km, Ukraine 428 km Coastline:  
440 km 
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 
Elevation extremes:  
lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m 
Natural resources:  
coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land 
Land use:  
arable land: 40.25%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 58.75% (2005)
Irrigated land:  
1,000 sq km (2003) 
Natural hazards:
flooding 
Environment - current issues:
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:
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:
historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain. 

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PEOPLE - POLAND

Population:   
38,500,696 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:  
0-14 years: 15.2% (male 3,013,109/female 2,849,977)
15-64 years: 71.4% (male 13,681,481/female 13,808,412)
65 years and over: 13.4% (male 1,964,477/female 3,183,240) (2008 est.)
Median age:  
total: 37.6 years
male: 35.8 years
female: 39.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:  
-0.045% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:   
10.01 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:   
9.99 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:  
-0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:  
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 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 (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:   
total: 6.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:   
total population: 75.41 years
male: 71.42 years
female: 79.65 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:   
1.27 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:   
0.1% ; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.) 
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:   
14,000 (2003 est.) 
HIV/AIDS - deaths:   
100 (2001 est.) 
Nationality:  
noun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish 
Ethnic groups:  
Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census) 
Religions:  
Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002) 
Languages:  
Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census) 
Literacy:  
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)  

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GOVERNMENT - POLAND


Country name:  
conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska 
Government type:  
republic 
Capital:  
Warsaw 
Administrative divisions:  
16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Malopolskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Slaskie, Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie 
Independence:  
11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed) 
National holiday:  
Constitution Day, 3 May (1791) 
Constitution:  
adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997, passed by national referendum 25 May 1997, effective 17 October 1997 
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, but rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final; court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg 
Suffrage:  
18 years of age; universal 
Executive branch:  
chief of state: President Bronislaw KOMOROWSKI
head of government: Prime Minister Donald TUSK (since 16 November 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Waldemar PAWLAK (since 16 November 2007) and Grzegorz SCHETYNA (since 16 November 2007)
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 (eligible for a second term); election last held 9 and 23 October 2005 (next to be held in the fall 2010); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
election results: Lech KACZYNSKI elected president; percent of popular vote - Lech KACZYNSKI 54%, Donald Tusk 46%  
Legislative branch:  
bicameral legislature consists 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: Senate - last held 21 October 2007 (next to be held by October 2011); Sejm elections last held 21 October 2007 (next to be held by October 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PO 60, PiS 39, independents 1; Sejm - percent of vote by party - PO 41.5%, PiS 32.1%, LiD 13.2%, PSL 8.9%, other 4.3%; seats by party - PO 209, PiS 166, LiD 53, PSL 31, German minorities 1; note - seats by party as of February 2008 - PO 209, PiS 159, LiD 53, PSL 31, German minorities 1, nonaffiliated 7
note: one seat is assigned to ethnic minority parties in the Sejm only
Judicial branch:  
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:  
Civic Platform or PO [Donald TUSK]; Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Grzegorz NAPIERALSKI]; Democratic Party or PD [Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ]; German Minority of Lower Silesia or MNSO [Henryk KROLL]; Law and Justice or PiS [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; League of Polish Families or LPR [Witold BALAZAK]; Left and Democrats or LiD [Wojciech OLEJNICZAK] (a coalition formed by the SLD, PD, SDPL, and UP); Polish People's Party or PSL [Waldemar PAWLAK]; Samoobrona or SO [Andrzej LEPPER]; Social Democratic Party of Poland or SDPL [Bartosz DOMINIK, acting]; Union of Labor or UP [Waldemar WITKOWSKI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:  
All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union) [Jan GUZ]; Roman Catholic Church [Cardinal Stanislaw DZIWISZ, Archbishop Jozef MICHALIK]; Solidarity Trade Union [Janusz SNIADEK]  
International organization participation:  
Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description:  
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white.

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ECONOMY - POLAND

Economy - overview:
  
Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. In 2007, GDP grew an estimated 6.5%, based on rising private consumption, a jump in corporate investment, and EU funds inflows. GDP per capita is still much below the EU average, but is similar to that of the three Baltic states. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment is falling rapidly, though at roughly 12.8% in 2007, it remains well above the EU average. Tightening labor markets, and rising global energy and food prices, pose a risk to consumer price stability. In December 2007 inflation reached 4.1% on a year-over-year basis, or higher than the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland's target range. Poland's economic performance could improve further if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential. Rising demands to fund health care, education, and the state pension system present a challenge to the Polish government's effort to hold the consolidated public sector budget deficit under 3.0% of GDP, a target which was achieved in 2007. The PO/PSL coalition government which came to power in November 2007 plans to further reduce the budget deficit with the aim of eventually adopting the euro. The new government has also announced its intention to enact business-friendly reforms, reduce public sector spending growth, lower taxes, and accelerate privatization. However, the government does not have the necessary two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto, and thus may have to water down initiatives in order to garner enough support to pass its pro-business policies.

GDP (purchasing power parity):   
$623.1 billion (2007 est.)   
GDP (official exchange rate):   
$420.3 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:   
6.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita:   
purchasing power parity $16,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:  
agriculture: 4.1%
industry: 31.6%
services: 64.4% (2007 est.)
Labor force:   
16.86 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:  
agriculture 16.1%, industry 29%, services 54.9% (2002) 
Unemployment rate:   
12.8% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:  
lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 26.7% (2002) 
Distribution of family income - Gini index:  
34.1 (2002) 
Inflation rate (consumer prices):   
2.1% (2005 est.) 
Investment (gross fixed):   
21.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:  
revenues: $85.39 billion
expenditures: $91.16 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:   
43.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:  
potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork, dairy 
Industries:  
machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles 
Industrial production growth rate:   
8.9% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:   
150.8 billion kWh (2004) 
Electricity - consumption:   
120.4 billion kWh (2005)  
Electricity - exports:  
15.2 billion kWh (2004) 
Electricity - imports:  
5 billion kWh (2004) 
Oil - consumption:   
462,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:   
51,780 bbl/day (2004) 
Oil - imports:   
480,300 bbl/day (2004) 
Oil - proved reserves:   
96.38 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.) 
Natural gas - production:   
5.828 billion cu m (2005)  
Natural gas - consumption:   
15.58 billion cu m (2005 est.)  
Natural gas - exports:   
42.2 million cu m (2005 est.)  
Natural gas - imports:   
10.01 billion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:   
-$15.91 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:   
$144.6 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - partners:  
Germany 25.9%, Italy 6.8%, France 6%, UK 5.9%, Czech Republic 5.5%, Russia 4.7%, Ukraine 4% (2007)  
Imports:   
$160.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - partners:  
Germany 28.9%, Russia 8.8%, Italy 6.5%, Netherlands 5.6%, France 5.1%, China 4.2% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:   
$65.75 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:   
$169.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Currency (code):  
zloty (PLN) 
Exchange rates:  
zlotys (PLN) per US dollar - 2.81 (2007), 3.1032 (2006), 3.2355 (2005), 3.6576 (2004), 3.8891 (2003)
note: zlotych is the plural form of zloty
Fiscal year:  
calendar yea

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COMMUNICATIONS - POLAND

Telephones - main lines in use:   
10.336 million (2007)  
Telephones - mobile cellular:   
41.389 million (2007)  
Telephone system:  
general assessment: modernization of the telecommunications network has accelerated with market based competition finalized in 2003; fixed-line service, dominated by the former state-owned company, is dwarfed by the growth in wireless telephony
domestic: mobile-cellular service available since 1993 and provided by three nation-wide networks with a fourth provider beginning operations in late 2006; cellular coverage is generally good with some gaps in the east; fixed-line service is growing slowly and still lags in rural areas
international: country code - 48; international direct dialing with automated exchanges; satellite earth station - 1 with access to Intelsat, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:  
AM 14, FM 777, shortwave 1 (1998) 
Television broadcast stations:  
40 (2006)
Internet country code:  
.pl 
Internet hosts:   
7.808 million (2008)  
Internet users:   
16 million (2007)   

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TRANSPORTATION - POLAND

Airports:   
123 (2007) 
Airports - with paved runways:  
total: 83
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 3 (2007) 
Airports - with unpaved runways:  
total: 40
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 22 (2007) 
Heliports:   
7 (2007) 
Pipelines:  
gas 13,552 km; oil 1,384 km; refined products 777 km (2007)
Railways:   
total: 23,072 km
broad gauge: 629 km 1.524-m gauge
standard gauge: 22,443 km 1.435-m gauge (20,555 km operational; 11,910 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:   
total: 423,997 km
paved: 295,356 km (includes 662 km of expressways)
unpaved: 128,641 km (2006) 
Waterways:   
3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2006) 
Merchant marine:   
total: 15
by type: cargo 8, chemical tanker 4, passenger/cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Cyprus 1, Nigeria 1)
registered in other countries: 98 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Bahamas 17, Cyprus 18, Liberia 13, Malta 24, Norway 3, Panama 11, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Slovakia 2, Vanuatu 7) (2008)
Ports and terminals:  
Gdansk, Gdynia, Swinoujscie, Szczecin 



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Source: CIA Factbook









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