total: 312,683 sq km
land: 304,510 sq km
water: 8,173 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New Mexico.
Coastline: 491 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.
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, timber, nickel.
Environment - current issues: situation has improved since 1989
due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by
postcommunistgovernments; 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.
0-14 years: 21% (male 4,235,659; female 4,038,016)
15-64 years : 67% (male 12,842,909; female 13,020,736)
65 years and over: 12% (male 1,698,505; female 2,779,414) (July 1997 est.)
Population growth rate: 0% (1997 est.)
Birth rate: 10.18 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)
Death rate: 9.82 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 13.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.47 years
male : 68.27 years
female: 76.91 years (1997 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.43 children born/woman (1997 est.)
Ethnic groups: Polish 97.6%, German 1.3%, Ukrainian 0.6%, Byelorussian
0.5% (1990 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 95% (about 75% practicing), Eastern
Protestant, and other 5%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
female: 98% (1978 est.)
Independence: 11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)
Constitution: interim "small constitution" came into effect in December 1992 supplementing the heavily amended constitution of 22 July 1952; referendum for a new constitution to be held 25 May 1997.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.
Political parties and leaders:
post-Communist: Democratic Left Alliance or SLD (Social Democracy of Poland) [Jozef OLEKSY]; Polish Peasant Party or PSL [Waldemar PAWLAK] post-Solidarity parties: Freedom Union or UW (Democratic Union and Liberal Democratic Congress merged to form Freedom Union) [Leszek BALCEROWICZ]; Christian-National Union or ZCHN [Marian PILKA]; Center Alliance Party or PC [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; Peasant Alliance or PL [Gabriel JANOWSKI]; Solidarity Electoral Action or AWS [Marian KRZAKLEWSKI]; Union of Labor or UP [Ryszard BUGAJ]; Conservative Party or PK [Aleksander HALL]; Nonparty Reform Bloc or BBWR [Jacek LIPINSKI]; Nonparty Reform Block United for Elections or BBWR-SW [Jerzy GWIZDZ] non-Communist, non-Solidarity : Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland or ROP [Jan OLSZEWSKI]; Confederation for an Independent Poland or KPN [Leszek MOCZULSKI]; German Minority or MN [Gerhardt BARTODZIEJ]; Union of Real Politics or UPR [Janusz KORWIN-MIKKE]
GDP - real growth rate: 6% (1996 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 6%
services: 54% (1996 est.)
Agriculture - products: potatoes, milk, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry and eggs; pork, beef.
total value: $30.9 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: intermediate goods 38%, machinery and transport equipment 23%, consumer goods 21%, foodstuffs 10%, fuels 7% (1996 est.)
partners : Germany 35.7%, Netherlands 5.9%, Russia 5.4%, Italy 4.9% (1994)
total value: $34.6 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment 32%, intermediate goods 20%, chemicals 15%, consumer goods 9%, food 9%, fuels 8% (1996 est.)
partners: Germany 27.5%, Italy 8.4%, Russia 6.8%, UK 5.3% (1994)
Debt - external: $45.8 billion (1996 est.)
recipient: Western governments and institutions pledged $22 billion in grants and loans during 1990-94, but much of the money has not been disbursed.
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 8,030,056 (1997 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $3.46 billion (1997)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.3% (1997)