[Country map of World]



Map references: World, Time Zones

total area: 510.072 million sq km
land area: 148.94 million sq km
water area: 361.132 million sq km
comparative area: land area about 16 times the size of the US
note: 70.8% of the world is water, 29.2% is land

Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 250,883.64 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, 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: highest elevation is Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters and lowest depression is the Dead Sea at 392 meters below sea level; greatest ocean depth is the Marianas Trench at 10,924 meters

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%
meadows and pastures: 24%
forest and woodland: 31%
other: 34%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

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
natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)
international agreements: 23 selected international environmental agreements included under the Environment entry for each country and in Appendix E: Selected International Environmental Agreements


Population: 5,733,687,096 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.6% (female 882,809,689; male 928,121,801)
15-64 years: 62% (female 1,752,393,539; male 1,802,004,124)
65 years and over: 6.4% (female 209,437,234; male 158,246,581) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.5% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 24 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 64 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62 years
male: 61 years
female: 64 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.1 children born/woman (1995 est.)

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


Digraph: XX

Administrative divisions: 265 nations, dependent areas, other, and miscellaneous entries

Legal system: varies by individual country; 186 (note including Yugoslavia) are parties to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ or World Court)


Overview: Led by recovery in Western Europe and strong performances by the US, Canada, and key Third World countries, real global output - gross world product (GWP) - rose 3% in 1994 compared with 2% in 1993. Results varied widely among regions and countries. Average growth of 3% in the GDP of industrialized countries (60% of GWP in 1994) and average growth of 6% in the GDP of less developed countries (34% of GWP) were partly offset by a further 11% drop in the GDP of the former USSR/Eastern Europe area (now only 6% of GWP). With the notable exception of Japan at 2.9%, unemployment was typically 5%-12% in the industrial world. The US accounted for 22% of GWP in 1994; Western Europe accounted for another 22%; and Japan accounted for 8%. These are the three "economic superpowers" which are presumably destined to compete for mastery in international markets on into the 21st century. As for the less developed countries, China, India, and the Four Dragons - South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore - once again posted records of 5% growth or better; however, many other countries, especially in Africa, continued to suffer from drought, rapid population growth, inflation, and civil strife. Central Europe made considerable progress in moving toward "market-friendly" economies, whereas the 15 ex-Soviet countries (with the notable exceptions of the three Baltic states) typically experienced further declines in output, sometimes as high as 30%. 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, and in India. 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 nearly 100 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. (For the specific economic problems of each country, see the individual country entries in this volume.)

National product: GWP (gross world product) - purchasing power parity - $30.7 trillion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3.2% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $5,400 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
all countries: 25%
developed countries: 5%
developing countries: 50% (1994 est.)
note: national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from stable prices to hyperinflation

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

Exports: $4 trillion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries

Imports: $4.1 trillion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
partners: in value, about 75% of imports by the developed countries

External debt: $1 trillion for less developed countries (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 5% (1994 est.)

capacity: 2,773,000,000 kW
production: 11.601 trillion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,937 kWh (1993)

Industries: industry worldwide is 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, and the technological gap between the industrial nations and the less-developed countries continues to widen; the rapid development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems

Agriculture: the production of major food crops has increased substantially in the last 20 years; the annual production of cereals, for instance, has risen by 50%, from about 1.2 billion metric tons to about 1.8 billion metric tons; production increases have resulted mainly from increased yields rather than increases in planted areas; while global production is sufficient for aggregate demand, about one-fifth of the world's population remains malnourished, primarily because local production cannot adequately provide for large and rapidly growing populations, which are too poor to pay for food imports; conditions are especially bad in Africa where drought in recent years has intensified the consequences of overpopulation

Economic aid: $NA


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 SNCF TGV-Atlantique line
broad gauge: 251,153 km
standard gauge: 710,754 km
narrow gauge: 239,430 km

total: NA
paved: NA
unpaved: NA

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

Merchant marine:
total: 25,364 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 435,458,296 GRT/697,171,651 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 39, bulk 5,202, cargo 8,121, chemical tanker 911, combination bulk 293, combination ore/oil 290, container 1,903, liquefied gas 675, livestock carrier 48, multifunction large-load carrier 53, oil tanker 4,332, passenger 287, passenger-cargo 114, railcar carrier 24, refrigerated cargo 1,023, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1,047, short-sea passenger 465, specialized tanker 77, vehicle carrier 460 (April 1995)


Telephone system:
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: NA

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

broadcast stations: NA
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Defense expenditures: a further decline in 1994, by perhaps 5%-10%, to roughly three-quarters of a trillion dollars, or 2.5% of gross world product (1994 est.)