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Introduction - Poland:




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. 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 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 Unions 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 Euro-Atlantic organizations.

Location - Poland:


Central Europe, east of Germany

Geographic coordinates

52 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references



total: 312,685 sq km
land: 304,465 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km

Area comparative

slightly smaller than New Mexico

Land boundaries

total: 3,056 km
border countries: Belarus 416 km, Czech Republic 790 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 103 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 529 km


491 km

Maritime claims

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


temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers


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


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 EU 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

People - Poland:


38,518,241 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.5% (male 3,070,388/female 2,906,121)
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 13,639,012/female 13,761,154)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 1,964,429/female 3,177,137) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 37.3 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 39.3 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.046% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

9.94 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

9.94 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.991 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.618 male(s)/female
total population: 0.941 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.07 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.19 years
male: 71.18 years
female: 79.44 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.26 children born/woman (2007 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.)


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)


Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)


Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)


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

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

Government type



name: Warsaw
geographic coordinates: 52 15 N, 21 00 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie wojewodztwo, Kujawsko-Pomorskie wojewodztwo, Lodzkie wojewodztwo, Lubelskie wojewodztwo, Lubuskie wojewodztwo, Malopolskie wojewodztwo, Mazowieckie wojewodztwo, Opolskie wojewodztwo, Podkarpackie wojewodztwo, Podlaskie wojewodztwo, Pomorskie wojewodztwo, Slaskie wojewodztwo, Swietokrzyskie wojewodztwo, Warminsko-Mazurskie wojewodztwo, Wielkopolskie wojewodztwo, Zachodniopomorskie wojewodztwo


11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 3 May (1791)


adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 25 May 1997; effective 17 October 1997

Legal system

based on a 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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Lech KACZYNSKI (since 23 December 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI (since 10 July 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Roman GIERTYCH (5 May 2006), Zyta GILOWSKA (22 September 2006), Przemyslaw GOSIEWSKI (8 May 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 National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe consists of the Senate or Senat (upper house) (100 seats; members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms), and the Sejm (lower house) (460 seats; members are elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms); the designation of National Assembly is only used on those rare occasions when the two houses meet jointly
elections: Senate - last held 25 September 2005 (next to be held by September 2009); Sejm elections last held 25 September 2005 (next to be held by September 2009)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PiS 49, PO 34, LPR 7, SO 3, PSL 2, independents 5; Sejm - percent of vote by party - PiS 27%, PO 24.1%, SO 11.4%, SLD 11.3%, LPR 8%, PSL 7%, other 11.2%; percent by party as of 1 July 2007 - PiS 35%, PO 29%, SLD 12%, SO 10%, LPR 6%, PSL 5%, RLN 3%; seats by party - PiS 155, PO 133, SO 56, SLD 55, LPR 34, PSL 25, German minorities 2
note: two seats are 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

Catholic-National Movement or RKN [Antoni MACIEREWICZ]; Civic Platform or PO [Donald TUSK]; Conservative Peasants Party or SKL [Artur BALASZ]; Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Wojciech OLEJNICZAK]; Democratic Party or PD [Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ]; Dom Ojczysty (Fatherland Home); German Minority of Lower Silesia or MNSO [Henryk KROLL]; Law and Justice or PiS [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; League of Polish Families or LPR [Roman GIERTYCH]; Peasant-Democratic Party or PLD [Roman JAGIELINSKI]; Polish Accord or PP [Jan LOPUSZANSKI]; Polish Peasant Party or PSL [Waldemar PAWLAK]; Ruch Patriotyczny or RP [Jan OLSZEWSKI]; Samoobrona or SO [Andrzej LEPPER]; Social Democratic Party of Poland or SDPL [Marek BOROWSKI]; Social Movement or RS [Krzysztof PIESIEWICZ]; Union of Labor or UP [Andrzej SPYCHALSKI]

Political pressure groups and leaders

All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union) [Jan GUZ]; Roman Catholic Church [Cardinal Jozef GLEMP]; Solidarity Trade Union [Janusz SNIADEK]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Janusz REITER
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, New York

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Victor ASHE
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-540 Warsaw
mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
telephone: [48] (22) 504-2000
FAX: [48] (22) 504-2688
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 - Poland:

Economy overview

Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. In 2006, GDP grew 5.3%, based on rising private consumption, a 16.7% jump in investment, and burgeoning exports. Poland today has a thriving private sector which created more than 300,000 new jobs during 2006 alone. GDP per capita roughly equals that of the three Baltic states. Consumer price inflation - at 1.3% in 2006 - remains among the lowest in the EU. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds has provided a major boost to the economy. Inflows of direct foreign investment exceeded $10 billion in 2006 alone - and more than $100 billion since 1990 - with major investments being announced by foreign firms in computer, consumer electronics, and automobile component production. In early 2006, Poland reached agreement with its EU partners that will permit it to benefit from EU funds totaling nearly $80 billion during 2007-13. Since 2002, even though the zloty appreciated 30%, Polands exports more than doubled. Despite Polands successes, more remains to be done. Unemployment, which stood at 15% in December 2006, is still the highest in the EU. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, and persistent corruption keep the private sector from performing to its potential. Agriculture is handicapped by inefficient small farms and inadequate investment. Restructuring and privatization of the remaining state-owned industries, especially sensitive sectors such as coal, oil refining, railroads, and energy transmission and generation, have stalled due to concerns about loss of control over critical national assets and lay-offs. Reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have failed so far to reduce the government budget deficit, which was roughly 2.7 percent of GDP in 2006. Further progress in public finance depends mainly on reducing losses in Polish state enterprises, restraining entitlements, and overhauling the tax code. The previous Socialist-led government introduced a package of social and administrative spending cuts to reduce public spending by about $17 billion through 2007, but full implementation of the plan was trumped by election-year politics in 2005. The right-wing Law and Justice party won parliamentary elections in September 2005, and Lech KACZYNSKI won the presidential election in October, running on a state-interventionist fiscal and monetary platform. The new government has proceeded cautiously on economic matters, however, retaining, for example, the corporate income tax cuts initiated by the previous administration and indicating its intention to reduce the top personal income tax rate.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$552.4 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$337 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

5.8% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$14,300 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 4.8%
industry: 31.2%
services: 64% (2006 est.)

Labor force

17.26 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 16.1%
industry: 29%
services: 54.9% (2002)

Unemployment rate

14.9% (November 2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

17% (2003 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

1.3% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

19.2% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $62 billion
expenditures: $71.25 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

49% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork, dairy


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

Industrial production growth rate

10.2% (2006 est.)

Electricity production

143.5 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

124.1 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

14.6 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

5.3 billion kWh (2004)

Oil production

35,880 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

445,700 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

51,780 bbl/day (2004)

Oil imports

480,300 bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

96.38 million bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

5.957 billion cu m (2004)

Natural gas consumption

15.67 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

46 million cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

9.963 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

164.8 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

-$4.548 billion (2006 est.)


$110.7 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6% (2003)

Exports partners

Germany 27.2%, Italy 6.4%, France 6.3%, UK 5.7%, Czech Republic 5.6%, Russia 4.3% (2006)


$113.2 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

machinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 14.8%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9.1% (2003)

Imports partners

Germany 28.8%, Russia 9.6%, Italy 6.3%, Netherlands 5.7%, France 5.4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$49.69 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$147.3 billion (30 June 2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$13.9 billion in available EU structural adjustment and cohesion funds (2004-06)

Currency code

zloty (PLN)

Exchange rates

zlotych per US dollar - 3.1032 (2006), 3.2355 (2005), 3.6576 (2004), 3.8891 (2003), 4.08 (2002)
note: zlotych is the plural form of zloty

Communications - Poland:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

11.475 million (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

36.746 million (2006)

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: wireless service, available since 1993 (GSM service available since 1996) and provided by three nation-wide networks, has grown rapidly in response to the weak fixed-line coverage; third generation UMTS service available in urban areas; cellular coverage is generally good with more 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 (2002)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 14, FM 777, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

40 (2006)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

358,476 (2006)

Internet users

11 million (2006)

Transportation - Poland:


122 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 83
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 39
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 21 (2006)


3 (2006)


gas 13,552 km; oil 1,384 km; refined products 777 km (2006)


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)


total: 423,997 km
paved: 295,356 km (includes 484 km of expressways)
unpaved: 128,641 km (2004)


3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2006)

Merchant marine

total: 11 ships (1000 GRT or over) 55,701 GRT/45,082 DWT
by type: cargo 6, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Nigeria 1)
registered in other countries: 106 (Antigua and Barbuda 3, Bahamas 15, Belize 2, Cyprus 20, Liberia 14, Malta 27, Norway 2, Panama 15, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Slovakia 2, Vanuatu 5) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Gdansk, Gdynia, Swinoujscie, Szczecin

Military - Poland:

Military branches

Armed Forces of the Polish Republic (Sily Zbrojne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SZRP): Land Forces (includes Navy (Marynarka Wojenna, MW)), Polish Air Force (Sily Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SPRP) (2006)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for compulsory military service after January 1st of the year of 18th birthday; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; in 2005, Poland plans to shorten the length of conscript service obligation from 12 to 9 months; by 2008, plans call for at least 60% of military personnel to be volunteers; only soldiers who have completed their conscript service are allowed to volunteer for professional service; as of April 2004, women are only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers (2004)

Manpower available for military service

males age 17-49: 9,681,703
females age 17-49: 9,480,641 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 17-49: 7,739,472
females age 17-49: 7,859,165 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 275,446
females age 17-49: 265,164 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

1.71% (2005 est.)

Disputes international

as a member state that forms part of the EUs external border, Poland must implement the strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its eastern borders with Belarus and Ukraine

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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