The World Factbook (1990)/Poland

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World Factbook (1990) Poland.jpg

See regional map V


Total area: 312,680 km²; land area: 304,510 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than New Mexico

Land boundaries: 2,980 km total; Czechoslovakia 1,309 km, GDR 456 km, USSR 1,215 km

Coastline: 491 km

Maritime claims:

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

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

Land use: 46% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 13% meadows and pastures; 28% forest and woodland; 12% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: plain crossed by a few north-flowing, meandering streams; severe air and water pollution in south

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


Population: 37,776,725 (July 1990), growth rate NEGL (1990)

Birth rate: 14 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -5 migrants/1 ,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 13 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 68 years male, 77 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Pole(s); adjective—Polish

Ethnic divisions: 98.7% Polish, 0.6% Ukrainian, 0.5% Byelorussian, less than 0.05% Jewish

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

Language: Polish

Literacy: 98%

Labor force: 17,128,000 (1988); 36.5% industry and construction; 28.5% agriculture; 14.7% trade, transport, and communications; 20.3% government and other

Organized labor: trade union pluralism


Long-form name: Republic of Poland

Type: democratic state

Capital: Warsaw

Administrative divisions: 49 provinces (województwa, singular województwo); Biała Podlaska, Białystok, Bielsko-Biała, Bydgoszcz, Chełm, Ciechanów, Częstochowa, Elbląg, Gdańsk, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Jelenia Góra, Kalisz, Katowice, Kielce, Konin, Koszalin, Kraków, Krosno, Legnica, Leszno, Łódź, Łomza, Lublin, Nowy Sącz, Olsztyn, Opole, Ostrołęka, Piła, Piotrków, Płock, Poznań, Przemyśl, Radom, Rzeszów, Siedlce, Sieradz, Skierniewice, Słupsk, Suwałki, Szczecin, Tarnobrzeg, Tarnów, Toruń, Wałbrzych, Warszawa, Włocławek, Wrocław, Zamość, Zielona Góra

Independence: 11 November 1918, independent republic proclaimed

Constitution: the Communist-imposed Constitution of 22 July 1952 will be replaced by a democratic Constitution before May 1991

Legal system: mixture of Continental (Napoleonic) civil law and Communist legal theory; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: National Liberation Day, 22 July (1952) will probably be replaced by Constitution Day, 3 May (1794)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Parlament) consists of an upper house or Senate (Senat) and a lower house or National Assembly (Sejm)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Gen. Wojciech JARUZELSKI (since 19 July 1989, Chairman of Council of State since 6 November 1985);

Head of Government—Premier Tadeusz MAZOWIECKI (since 24 August 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Center-right agrarian parties—Polish Peasant Party (PSL, known unofficially as PSL-Wilanowska), Gen. Franciszek Kaminski, chairman; Polish Peasant Party-Solidarity, Josef Slisz, chairman; Polish Peasant Party-Rebirth (formerly the United Peasant Party), Kazimirrz Olrsiak, chairman;

Other center-right parties—National Party, Bronislaw Ekert, chairman; Christian National Union, Urrslaw Chnzanowski, chairman; Christian Democratic Labor Party, Wladyslaw Sila Nowicki, chairman; Democratic Party, Jerzy Jozwiak, chairman;

Center-left parties—Polish Socialist Party, Jan Jozef Lipski, chairman;

Left-wing parties—Polish Socialist Party-Democratic Revolution;

Other—Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (formerly the Communist Party or Polish United Workers' Party/PZPR), Aleksander Kwasnuewski, chairman; Union of the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (breakaway faction of the PZPR), Tadrusz Fiszbach, chairman

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Senate—last held 4 and 18 June 1989 (next to be held June 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(100 total) Solidarity 99, independent 1;

National Assembly—last held 4 and 18 June 1989 (next to be held June 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(460 total) Communists 173, Solidarity 161, Polish Peasant Party 76, Democratic Party 27, Christian National Union 23; note—rules governing the election limited Solidarity's share of the vote to 35% of the seats; future elections are to be freely contested

Communists: 70,000 members in the Communist successor party (1990)

Other political or pressure groups: powerful Roman Catholic Church; Confederation for an Independent Poland (KPN), a nationalist group; Solidarity (trade union); All Poland Trade Union Alliance (OPZZ), populist program; Clubs of Catholic Intellectuals (KIKs); Freedom and Peace (WiP), a pacifist group; Independent Student Union (NZS)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Jan KINAST; Chancery at 2640 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20009; telephone (202) 234-3800 through 3802; there are Polish Consulates General in Chicago and New York; US—Ambassador John R. DAVIS, Jr.; Embassy at Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31, Warsaw (mailing address is APO New York 09213); telephone [48] 283041 through 283049; there is a US Consulate General in Krakow and a Consulate in Poznan

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red a crowned eagle is to be added; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white


Overview: The economy, except for the agricultural sector, had followed the Soviet model of state ownership and control of the country's productive assets. About 75% of agricultural production had come from the private sector and the rest from state farms. The economy has presented a picture of moderate but slowing growth against a background of underlying weaknesses in technology and worker motivation. GNP increased between 3% and 6% annually during the period 1983-1986, but grew only 2.5% and 2.1% in 1987 and 1 988, respectively. Output dropped by 1.5% in 1989. The inflation rate, after falling sharply from the 1982 peak of 100% to 22% in 1986, rose to a galloping rate of 640% in 1989. Shortages of consumer goods and some food items worsened in 1988-89. Agricultural products and coal have remained the biggest hard currency earners, but manufactures are increasing in importance. Poland, with its hard currency debt of approximately $40 billion, is severely limited in its ability to import much-needed hard currency goods. The sweeping political changes of 1989 disrupted normal economic channels and exacerbated shortages. In January 1990, the new Solidarity-led government adopted a cold turkey program for transforming Poland to a market economy. The government moved to eliminate subsidies, end artificially low prices, make the złoty convertible, and, in general, halt the hyperinflation. These financial measures are accompanied by plans to privatize the economy in stages. Substantial outside aid will be needed if Poland is to make a successful transition in the 1990s.

GNP: $172.4 billion, per capita $4,565; real growth rate -1.6% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 640% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%; 215,000 (official number, mid-March 1990)

Budget: revenues $23 billion; expenditures $24 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.5 billion (1988)

Exports: $24.7 billion (f.o.b., 1987 est.); commodities—machinery and equipment 63%; fuels, minerals, and metals 14%; manufactured consumer goods 14%; agricultural and forestry products 5% (1987 est.); partners—USSR 25%, FRG 12%, Czechoslovakia 6% (1988)

Imports: $22.8 billion (f.o.b., 1987 est.); commodities—machinery and equipment 36%; fuels, minerals, and metals 35%; manufactured consumer goods 9%; agricultural and forestry products 12%; partners—USSR 23%, FRG 13%, Czechoslovakia 6% (1988)

External debt: $40 billion (1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 2.0% (1988)

Electricity: 31,390,000 kW capacity; 125,000 million kWh produced, 3,260 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: machine building, iron and steel, extractive industries, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles

Agriculture: accounts for 15% of GNP and 28% of labor force; 75% of output from private farms, 25% from state farms; productivity remains low by European standards; leading European producer of rye, rapeseed, and potatoes; wide variety of other crops and livestock; major exporter of pork products; normally self-sufficient in food

Aid: donor—bilateral aid to non-Communist less developed countries, $2.1 billion (1954-88)

Currency: złoty (plural—złotych); 1 złoty (Zł) = 100 groszy

Exchange rates: złotych (Zł) per US$1—9,500.00 (January 1990), 1,439.18 (1989), 430.55 (1988), 265.08 (1987), 175.29 (1986), 147.14 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 27,245 km total; 24,333 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 397 km 1.524-meter broad gauge, 2,515 km narrow gauge; 8,986 km double track; 10,000 km electrified; government owned (1986)

Highways: 299,887 km total; 130,000 km improved hard surface (concrete, asphalt, stone block); 24,000 km unimproved hard surface (crushed stone, gravel); 100,000 km earth; 45,887 km other urban roads (1985)

Inland waterways: 3,997 km navigable rivers and canals (1988)

Pipelines: 4,500 km for natural gas; 1,986 km for crude oil; 360 km for refined products (1987)

Ports: Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin, Swinoujście; principal inland ports are Gliwice on Kanał Gliwice, Wrocław on the Oder, and Warsaw on the Vistula

Merchant marine: 234 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,957,534 GRT/4,164,665 DWT; includes 5 short-sea passenger, 93 cargo, 3 refrigerated cargo, 1 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 9 container, 3 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 4 chemical tanker, 105 bulk

Civil air: 42 major transport aircraft

Airports: 160 total, 160 usable; 85 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runway over 3,659 m; 35 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 65 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations—30 AM, 28 FM, 41 TV; 4 Soviet TV relays; 9,691,075 TV sets; 9,290,000 radio receivers; at least 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Ground Forces, National Air Defense Forces, Air Force Command, Navy

Military manpower: males 15-49, 9,501,088; 7,503,477 fit for military service; 292,769 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 954 billion złotych, 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