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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2003
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2003.

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

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, until an agreement in 1772 between Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland. 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 is scheduled to accede to the European Union along with nine other states on 1 May 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
water: 8,220 sq km
land: 304,465 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
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
territorial sea: 12 NM
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: 45.81%
permanent crops: 1.23%
other: 52.96% (1998 est.)
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, 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
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
38,622,660 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
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.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 36 years
male: 34.1 years
female: 38 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.47 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.96 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 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 (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 73.91 years
male: 69.77 years
female: 78.28 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.37 children born/woman (2003 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 97.6%, German 1.3%, Ukrainian 0.6%, Belarusian 0.5% (1990 est.)
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 short form: Polska
local long form: Rzeczpospolita 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
16 October 1997; adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 23 May 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)
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
head of government: Prime Minister Leszek MILLER (SLD) (since 19 October 2001), Deputy Prime Ministers Marek POL (since 19 October 2001), 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
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 National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe consists of the Sejm (460 seats; members are elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms) and the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms)
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 25 April 2003) - SLD 193, PO 57, Samoobrona 39, PiS 43, PSL 39, LPR 28, UP 16, SKL 8, PLD 6, PBL 5, RKN 5, PP 3, ROP 3, German minorities 2, independents 13; note - SLD and UP ran together on electoral lists in the 2001 elections, but constitute separate parliamentary clubs in the Sejm; several other deputies have left their parties and set up other parliamentary factions; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SLD-UP 75, AWSP (an electoral alliance of some 36 parties) 15, PSL 4, Samoobrona 2, LPR 2, independents 2
note: two seats are assigned to ethnic minority parties
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]; Conservative Peasants Party or SKL-RNP [Artur BALAZS]; Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Leszek MILLER]; 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 [Jaroslaw KALINOWSKI]; Samoobrona [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
FAX: [1] (202) 328-6270
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
telephone: [1] (202) 234-3800 through 3802
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher R. HILL
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-540 Warsaw P1
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) 504-2951
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 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.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $373.2 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.4% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $9,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 35%
services: 61.2% (2000 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
1.9% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.6 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
industry 22.1%, agriculture 27.5%, services 50.4% (1999)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.1% (2002)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $49.6 billion
expenditures: $52.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999)
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
0.3% (2001)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
135 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 98.1%
hydro: 1.5%
other: 0.4% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
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 (37257)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing
5.471 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
13.85 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing
41 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing
8.782 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
154.4 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$32.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 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 33%, Italy 5.7%, France 5%, UK 4.8%, Czech Republic 4.3% (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$43.4 billion f.o.b. (2002)
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 29.9%, Italy 8.1%, Russia 7.4%, France 7.2%, Netherlands 5.3% (2002)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$64 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
EU structural adjustment funds
Definition Field Listing
zloty (PLN)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
zlotych per US dollar - 3.99 (2002), 4.09 (2001), 4.35 (2000), 3.97 (1999), 3.48 (1998)
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
8.07 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13 million (2002)
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: 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 Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
19 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.4 million (2001)
   Transportation    Poland
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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)
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
3,812 km (navigable rivers and canals) (1996)
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) 199,186 GRT/275,476 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea passenger 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
150 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 88
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 62
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
under 914 m: 43 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 15
Definition Field Listing
3 (2002)
   Military    Poland
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
19 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 10,354,978 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 8,077,706 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 343,500 (2003 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
small boundary changes made with Slovakia in 2003
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
major illicit producer of amphetamine for the international market; minor transshipment point for Asian and Latin American illicit drugs to Western Europe

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

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