The World Factbook (1990)/Vatican City

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Vatican City

World Factbook (1990) Vatican City.jpg

See regional map V


Total area: 0.438 km²; land area: 0.438 km²

Comparative area: about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundary: 3.2 km with Italy

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Climate: temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)

Terrain: low hill

Natural resources: none

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other

Environment: urban

Note: landlocked; enclave of Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside the Vatican City, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence) enjoy extraterritorial rights


Population: 774 (July 1990), growth rate 0.5% (1990)

Nationality: no noun or adjectival forms

Ethnic divisions: primarily Italians but also many other nationalities

Religion: Roman Catholic

Language: Italian, Latin, and various other languages

Literacy: 100%

Labor force: about 1,500; Vatican City employees divided into three categories—executives, office workers, and salaried employees

Organized labor: Association of Vatican Lay Workers, 1,800 members (1987)


Long-form name: State of the Vatican City; note—the Vatican City is the physical seat of the Holy See which is the central government of the Roman Catholic Church

Type: monarchical-sacerdotal state

Capital: Vatican City

Independence: 11 February 1929 (from Italy)

Constitution: Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

National holiday: Installation Day of the Pope (John Paul II), 22 October (1978); note Pope John Paul II was elected on 16 October 1978

Executive branch: pope

Legislative branch: unicameral Pontifical Commission

Judicial branch: none; normally handled by Italy

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—Pope JOHN PAUL II (Karol WOJTYŁA; since 16 October 1978)

Political parties and leaders: none

Suffrage: limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Elections: Pope—last held 16 October 1978 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); results—Karol Wojtyła was elected for life by the College of Cardinals

Communists: NA

Other political or pressure groups: none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)

Member: IAEA, INTELSAT, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, UPU, WIPO, WTO; permanent observer status at FAO, OAS, UN, and UNESCO

Diplomatic representation: Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Pio LAGHI; 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 333-7121; US—Ambassador Thomas P. MELADY; Embassy at Villino Pacelli, Via Aurelia 294, 00165 Rome (mailing address is APO New York 09794); telephone [396] 639-0558

Flag: two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the crossed keys of St. Peter and the papal tiara centered in the white band


Overview: The economy is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps, tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.

Budget: revenues $57 million; expenditures $113.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1986)

Electricity: 5,000 kW standby capacity (1989); power supplied by Italy

Industries: printing and production of a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Currency: Vatican lira (plural—lire); 1 Vatican lira (VLit) = 100 centesimi

Exchange rates: Vatican lire (VLit) per US$1—1,262.5 (January 1990), 1,372.1 (1989), 1,301.6 (1988), 1,296.1 (1987), 1,490.8 (1986), 1,909.4 (1985); note—the Vatican lira is at par with the Italian lira which circulates freely

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 850 m, 750 mm gauge (links with Italian network near the Rome station of St. Peter's)

Highways: none; all city streets

Telecommunications: stations—3 AM, 4 FM, no TV; 2,000-line automatic telephone exchange; no communications satellite systems

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City