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World    Introduction Top of Page
Background: Globally, the 20th century was marked by: (a) two devastating world wars; (b) the Great Depression of the 1930s; (c) the end of vast colonial empires; (d) rapid advances in science and technology, from the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (US) to the landing on the moon; (e) the Cold War between the Western alliance and the Warsaw Pact nations; (f) a sharp rise in living standards in North America, Europe, and Japan; (g) increased concerns about the environment, including loss of forests, shortages of energy and water, the drop in biological diversity, and air pollution; (h) the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and (i) the ultimate emergence of the US as the only world superpower. The planet's population continues to explode: from 1 billion in 1820, to 2 billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1988, and 6 billion in 2000. For the 21st century, the continued exponential growth in science and technology raises both hopes (e.g., advances in medicine) and fears (e.g., development of even more lethal weapons of war).
World    Geography Top of Page
Map references: World, Time Zones
Area: total:  510.072 million sq km

land:  148.94 million sq km

water:  361.132 million sq km

note:  70.8% of the world's surface is water, 29.2% is land
Area - comparative: land area about 16 times the size of the US
Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 251,480.24 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 Faso, 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: the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at 10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  Bentley Subglacial Trench -2,540 m

highest point:  Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999 est.)
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, the former USSR, and China) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address
Land use: arable land:  10%

permanent crops:  1%

permanent pastures:  26%

forests and woodland:  32%

other:  31% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,481,250 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)
Environment - 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
World    People Top of Page
Population: 6,157,400,560 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  29.6% (male 933,647,850; female 886,681,514)

15-64 years:  63.4% (male 1,975,418,386; female 1,931,021,694)

65 years and over:  7% (male 188,760,223; female 241,449,691) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.25% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 21.37 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 8.93 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years:  1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years:  1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over:  0.78 male(s)/female

total population:  1.05 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 52.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  63.79 years

male:  62.15 years

female:  65.51 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.73 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
World    Government Top of Page
Administrative divisions: 267 nations, dependent areas, other, and miscellaneous entries
Legal system: all members of the UN plus Switzerland are parties to the statute that established the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or World Court
World    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Growth in global output (gross world product, GWP) rose to 4.8% in 2000 from 3.5% in 1999, despite continued low growth in Japan, severe financial difficulties in other East Asian countries, and widespread dislocations in several transition economies. The US economy continued its remarkable sustained prosperity, growing at 5% in 2000, although growth slowed in fourth quarter 2000; the US accounted for 23% of GWP. The EU economies grew at 3.3% and produced 20% of GWP. China, the second largest economy in the world, continued its strong growth and accounted for 10% of GWP. Japan grew at only 1.3% in 2000; its share in GWP is 7%. As usual, the 15 successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations experienced widely different rates of growth. The developing nations also varied in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that eat up gains in output. 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 often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and in Canada. 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 80 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 and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. Continued financial difficulties in East Asia, Russia, and many African nations, as well as the slowdown in US economic growth, cast a shadow over short-term global economic prospects; GWP probably will grow at 3-4% in 2001. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses serious economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. (For specific economic developments in each country of the world in 2000, see the individual country entries.)
GDP: GWP (gross world product) - purchasing power parity - $43.6 trillion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,200 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  4%

industry:  32%

services:  64% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  NA%

highest 10%:  NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): all countries 25%; developed countries 1% to 3% typically; developing countries 5% to 60% typically (2000 est.)

note:  national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from stable prices in Japan to hyperinflation in a number of Third World countries
Labor force: NA
Labor force - by occupation: agricultue NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment (2000 est.)
Industries: 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; the accelerated development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  NA%

hydro:  NA%

nuclear:  NA%

other:  NA%
Exports: $6 trillion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
Exports - partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries
Imports: $6 trillion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
Imports - partners: in value, about 75% of imports by the developed countries
Debt - external: $2 trillion for less developed countries (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: traditional worldwide foreign aid $50 billion (1997 est.)
World    Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: NA
Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment:  NA

domestic:  NA

international:  NA
Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
Radios: NA
Television broadcast stations: NA
Televisions: NA
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 10,350 (2000 est.)
Internet users: 407.1 million (2000 est.)
World    Transportation Top of Page
Railways: 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 Societe Nationale des Chemins-de-Fer Francais (SNCF) Le Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) - Atlantique line

broad gauge:  251,153 km

standard gauge:  710,754 km

narrow gauge:  239,430 km
Highways: total:  NA km

paved:  NA km

unpaved:  NA km
Ports and harbors: Chiba, Houston, Kawasaki, Kobe, Marseille, Mina' al Ahmadi (Kuwait), New Orleans, New York, Rotterdam, Yokohama
World    Military Top of Page
Military expenditures - dollar figure: aggregate real expenditure on arms worldwide in 1999 remained at approximately the 1998 level, about three-quarters of a trillion dollars (1999 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: roughly 2% of gross world product (1999 est.)