The World Factbook (1990)/Hungary

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 139–140


World Factbook (1990) Hungary.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 93,030 km²; land area: 92,340 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Indiana

Land boundaries: 2,251 km total; Austria 366 km, Czechoslovakia 676 km, Romania 443 km, USSR 135 km, Yugoslavia 631 km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Disputes: Transylvania question with Romania; Nagymaros Dam dispute with Czechoslovakia

Climate: temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers

Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains

Natural resources: bauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils

Land use: 54% arable land; 3% permanent crops; 14% meadows and pastures; 18% forest and woodland; 1 1 % other; includes 2% irrigated

Environment: levees are common along many streams, but flooding occurs almost every year

Note: landlocked; strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between USSR and Mediterranean basin


Population: 10,568,686 (July 1990), growth rate -0.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 12 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 13 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 15 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 67 years male, 75 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Hungarian(s); adjective—Hungarian

Ethnic divisions: 96.6% Hungarian, 1.6% German, 1.1% Slovak, 0.3% Southern Slav, 0.2% Romanian

Religion: 67.5% Roman Catholic, 20.0% Calvinist, 5.0% Lutheran, 7.5% atheist and other

Language: 98.2% Hungarian, 1.8% other

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 4,860,000; 43.2% services, trade, government, and other, 30.9% industry, 18.8% agriculture, 7.1% construction (1988)

Organized labor: 96.5% of labor force; Central Council of Hungarian Trade Unions (SZOT) includes 19 affiliated unions, all controlled by the government; independent unions legal; may be as many as 12 small independent unions in operation


Long-form name: Republic of Hungary

Type: republic

Capital: Budapest

Administrative divisions: 19 counties (megyék, singular—megye) and 1 capital city* (fováros); Bács-Kiskun, Baranya, Békés, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Budapest*, Csongrád, Fejér, Gyor-Sopron, Hajdú-Bihar, Heves, Komárom, Nógrád, Pest, Somogy, Szabolcs-Szatmár, Szolnok, Tolna, Vas, Veszprém, Zala

Independence: 1001, unification by King Stephen I

Constitution: 18 August 1949, effective 20 August 1949, revised 19 April 1972 and 18 October 1989

Legal system: based on Communist legal theory, with both civil law system (civil code of 1960) and common law elements; Supreme Court renders decisions of principle that sometimes have the effect of declaring legislative acts unconstitutional; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Anniversary of the Liberation, 4 April (1945)

Executive branch: president, premier, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Országgyülés)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President-designate Arpad GONCZ (since 2 May 1990);

Head of Government—Prime Minister-designate Jozsef ANTALL (since 2 May 1990)

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Forum, Jozsef Antall, chairman; Free Democrats, Janos Kis, chairman; Independent Smallholders, Istvan Prepeliczay, president; Hungarian Socialist Party (MSP), Rezso Nyers, chairman; Young Democrats; Christian Democrats, Sandor Keresztes, president; note—the Hungarian Socialist (Communist) Workers' Party (MSZMP) renounced Communism and became the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSP) in October 1989

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: National Assembly—last held on 25 March 1990 (first round, with the second round held 8 April 1990); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(394 total) Democratic Forum 165, Free Democrats 92, Independent Smallholders 43, Hungarian Socialist Party (MSP) 33, Young Democrats 21, Christian Democrats 21; independent candidates or jointly sponsored candidates 19; an additional 8 seats will be given to representatives of minority nationalities

Communists: fewer than 100,000 (December 1989)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Dr. Peter VARKONYI; Chancery at 3910 Shoemaker Street NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 362-6730; there is a Hungarian Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador-designate Charles THOMAS; Embassy at V. Szabadsag Ter 12, Budapest (mailing address is APO New York 09213); telephone [36](1) 126-450

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and green


Overview: Hungary's postwar Communist government spurred the movement from a predominantly agricultural to an industrialized economy. The share of the labor force in agriculture dropped from over 50% in 1950 to under 20% in 1989. Agriculture nevertheless remains an important sector, providing sizable export earnings and meeting domestic food needs. Industry accounts for about 40% of GNP and 30% of employment. Nearly three-fourths of foreign trade is with the USSR and Eastern Europe. Low rates of growth reflect the inability of the Soviet-style economy to modernize capital plant and motivate workers. GNP grew about 1% in 1988 and declined by 1% in 1989. Since 1985 external debt has more than doubled, to nearly $20 billion. In recent years Hungary has moved further than any other East European country in experimenting with decentralized and market-oriented enterprises. These experiments have failed to jump-start the economy because of: limitations on funds for privatization; continued subsidization of insolvent state enterprises; and the leadership's reluctance to implement sweeping market reforms that would cause additional social dislocations in the short term.

GNP: $64.6 billion, per capita $6,108; real growth rate -1.3% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 18% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 0.4% (1989)

Budget: revenues $14.0 billion; expenditures $14.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $944 million (1988)

Exports: $19.1 billion (f.o.b. 1988); commodities—capital goods 36%, foods 24%, consumer goods 18%, fuels and minerals 11%, other 11%; partners—USSR 48%, Eastern Europe 25%, developed countries 16%, less developed countries 8% (1987)

Imports: $18.3 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—machinery and transport 28%, fuels 20%, chemical products 14%, manufactured consumer goods 16%, agriculture 6%, other 16%; partners—USSR 43%, Eastern Europe 28%, less developed countries 23%, US 3% (1987)

External debt: $19.6 billion (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 0.6% (1988)

Electricity: 7,250,000 kW capacity; 30,300 million kWh produced, 2,870 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: mining, metallurgy, engineering industries, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals)

Agriculture: including forestry, accounts for about 15% of GNP and 19% of employment; highly diversified crop-livestock farming; principal crops—wheat, corn, sunflowers, potatoes, sugar beets; livestock—hogs, cattle, poultry, dairy products; self-sufficient in food output

Aid: donor—$1.8 billion in bilateral aid to non-Communist less developed countries (1962-88)

Currency: forint (plural—forints); 1 forint (Ft) = 100 fillér

Exchange rates: forints (Ft) per US$1—62.5 (January 1990), 59.2 (1989), 50.413 (1988), 46.971 (1987), 45.832 (1986), 50.119 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 7,770 km total; 7,513 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 222 km narrow gauge (mostly 0.760-meter), 35 km 1.524-meter broad gauge; 1,138 km double track, 2,088 km electrified; all government owned (1987)

Highways: 130,000 km total; 29,701 km national highway system 26,727 km asphalt and bitumen, 146 km concrete, 55 km stone and road brick, 2,345 km macadam, 428 km unpaved; 58,495 km country roads (66% unpaved), and 41,804 km (est.) other roads (70% unpaved) (1987)

Inland waterways: 1,622 km (1986)

Pipelines: crude oil, 1,204 km; refined products, 600 km; natural gas, 3,800 km (1986)

Ports: Budapest and Dunaujvaros are river ports on the Danube; maritime outlets are Rostock (GDR), Gdansk (Poland), Gdynia (Poland), Szczecin (Poland), Galati (Romania), and Braila (Romania)

Merchant marine: 16 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 77,141 GRT/103,189 DWT

Civil air: 22 major transport aircraft

Airports: 90 total, 90 usable; 20 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 10 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 15 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations—13 AM, 11 FM, 21 TV; 8 Soviet TV relays; 3,500,000 TV sets; 5,500,000 receiver sets; at least 1 satellite earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Hungarian People's Army, Frontier Guard, Air and Air Defense Command

Military manpower: males 15-49, 2,645,016; 2,112,651 fit for military service; 86,481 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 43.7 billion forints, NA% of total budget (1989); note—conversion of the military budget into US dollars using the official administratively set exchange rate would produce misleading results