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POLAND
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Map of Poland
 

 
Geography

 

Location: Central Europe, east of Germany

Geographic coordinates: 52 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 312,683 sq km
land: 304,510 sq km
water: 8,173 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than New Mexico

Land boundaries:
total: 2,888 km
border countries: Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 428 km

Coastline: 491 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
territorial sea: 12 nm

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: Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m

Natural resources: coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt

Land use:
arable land: 47%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 29%
other: 10% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment—current issues: situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by postcommunist 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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Law of the Sea

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

 
People

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Population: 38,606,922 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21% (male 4,075,959; female 3,883,778)
15-64 years: 68% (male 12,956,689; female 13,129,495)
65 years and over: 11% (male 1,732,788; female 2,828,213) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.04% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 9.79 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 9.76 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 13.18 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.77 years
male: 68.6 years
female: 77.16 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.36 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish

Ethnic groups: Polish 97.6%, German 1.3%, Ukrainian 0.6%, Byelorussian 0.5% (1990 est.)

Religions: Roman Catholic 95% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and other 5%

Languages: Polish

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 98% (1978 est.)

 
Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska

Data code: PL

Government type: democratic state

National capital: Warsaw

Administrative divisions: 49 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular—wojewodztwo); Biala Podlaska, Bialystok, Bielsko Biala, Bydgoszcz, Chelm, Ciechanow, Czestochowa, Elblag, Gdansk, Gorzow, Jelenia Gora, Kalisz, Katowice, Kielce, Konin, Koszalin, Krakow, Krosno, Legnica, Leszno, Lodz, Lomza, Lublin, Nowy Sacz, Olsztyn, Opole, Ostroleka, Pila, Piotrkow, Plock, Poznan, Przemysl, Radom, Rzeszow, Siedlce, Sieradz, Skierniewice, Slupsk, Suwalki, Szczecin, Tarnobrzeg, Tarnow, Torun, Walbrzych, Warszawa, Wloclawek, Wroclaw, Zamosc, Zielona Gora

Independence: 11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)

National holiday: Constitution Day, 3 May (1791); Independence Day, November 11 (1918)

Constitution: 16 October 1997; adopted by the National Assembly on 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 23 May 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 although under the new constitution, the Constitutional Tribunal ruling will become final as of October 1999; 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 Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI (since 23 December 1995)
head of government: Prime Minister Jerzy BUZEK (since NA October 1997), Deputy Prime Ministers Leszek BALCEROWICZ (since 31 October 1997), Janusz TOMASZEWSKI (since 31 October 1997)
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; election first round held 5 November 1995, second round held 19 November 1995 (next to be held NA November 2000); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
election results: Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI elected president; percent of legislative vote, second round—Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI 51.7%, Lech WALESA 48.3%; Jerzy BUZEK selected prime minister

Legislative branch: 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 21 September 1997 (next to be held by NA September 2001); Senate—last held 21 September 1997 (next to be held by NA September 2001)
election results: Sejm—percent of vote by party—AWS 33.8%, SLD 27.1%, UW 13.4%, PSL 7.3%, ROP 5.6%, German Minority 0.4%, other 12.4%; seats by party—AWS 201, SLD 164, UW 60, PSL 27, ROP 6, German Minority 2; Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—AWS 51, SLD 28, UW 8, ROP 5, PSL 3, independents 5; note—seats by party in the Sejm as of December 1997: AWS 200, SLD 164, UW 60, PSL 26, ROP 4, German Minority 2, other 4
note: four seats are constitutionally assigned to ethnic German parties

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 a 9-year term

Political parties and leaders:
post-Communist: Democratic Left Alliance or SLD (Social Democracy of Poland) [Leszek MILLER]; Polish Peasant Party or PSL [Jaroslaw KALINOWSKI]
post-Solidarity parties: Freedom Union or UW; note—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 [Aleksander MALACHOWSKI]; 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 [Mariusz DZIERZAWSKY]

Political pressure groups and leaders: powerful Roman Catholic Church; Solidarity (trade union); All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union)

International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UPU, WCL, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jerzy KOZMINSKI
chancery: 2640 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-3800 through 3802
FAX: [1] (202) 328-6271
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel FRIED
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-054, Warsaw
mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
telephone: [48] (22) 628-30-41
FAX: [48] (22) 628-82-98
consulate(s) general: Krakow

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

 
Economy

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Economy—overview: Poland today stands out as one of the most successful and open transition economies. The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms marked the rapid development of a private sector now responsible for at least two-thirds of economic activity. In contrast to the vibrant expansion of private non-farm activity, the large agriculture component remains handicapped by structural problems, surplus labor, inefficient small farms, and lack of investment. The government's determination to enter the EU as soon as possible affects all aspects of its economic policies. Improving Poland's worsening current account deficit also is a priority. To date, the government has resisted pressure for protectionist solutions and continues to support regional free trade initiatives. The government export strategy emphasizes a more aggressive export assistance program. Warsaw continues to hold the budget deficit to less than 2% of GDP. Further progress on public finance depends mainly on comprehensive reform of the social welfare system and privatization of Poland's remaining state sector. Restructuring and privatization of "sensitive sectors" (e.g., coal, steel) has been delayed. Long-awaited privatizations in aviation, energy, and telecommunications are scheduled for 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$280.7 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6.9% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$7,250 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.6%
industry: 34.9%
services: 58.5% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 15% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 17.7 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: industry and construction 29.9%, agriculture 26%, services 44.1% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 12% (1997)

Budget:
revenues: $33.8 billion
expenditures: $35.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 11.2% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 33.5 million kW (1997 est.)

Electricity—production: 142 billion kWh (1997 est.)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,360 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: potatoes, milk, cheese, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry and eggs; pork, beef

Exports:
total value: $26.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: intermediate goods 38%, machinery and transport equipment 23%, consumer goods 21%, foodstuffs 10%, fuels 7% (1996 est.)
partners: Germany 34.5%, Russia 6.8%, France 5.9%, Italy 5.6%, US 4.8%, Netherlands 4.1% (1996)

Imports:
total value: $44.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment 32%, intermediate goods 20%, chemicals 15%, consumer goods 9%, food 9%, fuels 8% (1996 est.)
partners: Germany 26.5%, Italy 10.4%, Russia 7.3%, UK 6.3%, Netherlands 4.8%, France 4.4% (1996)

Debt—external: $43 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: US, $210 million (1995-97)

Currency: 1 zloty (Zl) = 100 groszy

Exchange rates: zlotych (Zl) per US$1—3.54 (January 1998), 3.2793 (1997), 2.6961 (1996), 2.4250 (1995); note—a currency reform on 1 January 1995 replaced 10,000 old zlotys with 1 new zloty; 22,723 (1994), 18,115 (1993), 13,626 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year

 
Communications

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Telephones: 8.2 million (1996)

Telephone system: underdeveloped and outmoded system; government aims to have 10 million phones in service by the year 2000; the process of partial privatization of the state-owned telephone monopoly has begun
domestic: cable, open wire, and microwave radio relay; 3 cellular networks
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat, NA Eutelsat, 2 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean Regions), and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean Region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 27, FM 75, shortwave 1 (1994 est.)

Radios: 9.9 million registered (1996)

Television broadcast stations: 143 (1996)

Televisions: 9.4 million registered (1996)

 
Transportation

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Railways:
total: 24,313 km
broad gauge: 652 km 1.520-m gauge
standard gauge: 22,243 km 1.435-m gauge (11,648 km electrified; 8,978 km double track)
narrow gauge: 1,418 km various gauges including 1.000-m, 0.785-m, 0.750-m, and 0.600-m (1996)

Highways:
total: 374,990 km
paved: 245,243 km (including 258 km of expressways)
unpaved: 129,747 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 3,812 km navigable rivers and canals (1996)

Pipelines: crude oil and petroleum products 2,280 km; natural gas 17,000 km (1996)

Ports and harbors: Gdansk, Gdynia, Gliwice, Kolobrzeg, Szczecin, Swinoujscie, Ustka, Warsaw, Wrocaw

Merchant marine:
total: 90 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,574,637 GRT/2,446,849 DWT
ships by type: bulk 67, cargo 10, chemical tanker 3, container 2, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, short-sea passenger 4
note: Poland owns an additional 35 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 459,793 DWT operating under the registries of The Bahamas, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, and Vanuatu (1997 est.)

Airports: 83 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 68
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 23
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 5 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 3 (1997 est.)
 

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