Area: 312,683 sq. km. (120,725 sq. mi.); about the size of New
Cities (2004): Capital--Warsaw (pop. 1,690,821). Other
cities--Lodz (776,297), Krakow (757,957), Wroclaw (636,854),
Poznan (573,003), Gdansk (460,524).
Terrain: Flat plain, except mountains along southern border.
Climate: Temperate continental.
Nationality: Noun--Pole(s). Adjective--Polish.
Population (December 2004): 38.6 million.
Annual growth rate: Unchanging.
Ethnic groups: Polish 98%, German, Ukrainian, Belorussian,
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Eastern Orthodox, Uniate, Protestant,
Health (2004): Infant mortality rate-- 7.4/1,000. Life
expectancy--males 70 yrs., females 79 yrs.
Work force: 17.0 million. Industry and construction--25.3%;
agriculture--28.7%; trade and business--28.0%;
government and other--18.0%.
Constitution: The constitution now in effect was approved by a
national referendum on May 25, 1997. The constitution codifies
Poland's democratic norms and establishes checks and balances among
the president, prime minister, and parliament. It also enhances
several key elements of democracy, including judicial review and the
legislative process, while continuing to guarantee the wide range of
civil rights, such as the right to free speech, press, and assembly,
which Poles have enjoyed since 1989.
Branches: Executive--head of state (president), head of
government (prime minister). Legislative--bicameral
National Assembly (lower house--Sejm, upper house--Senate).
Judicial--Supreme Court, provincial and local courts,
Administrative subdivisions: 16 provinces (voivodships).
Political parties (in Parliament): Democratic Left Alliance (SLD),
Citizens Platform (PO), Self-Defense (SO), Law and Justice (PiS),
Polish Peasant Party (PSL), League of Polish Families (LPR), Union
of Labor (UP), and Social Democracy of Poland (SdPl).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP (2004): $244 billion.
Real GDP growth (2004): 5.4%.
Per capita GDP (2004): $6,381.
Rate of inflation (2004): 3.5%.
Natural resources: Coal, copper, sulfur, natural gas, silver, lead,
Agriculture: Products--grains, hogs, dairy, potatoes,
horticulture, sugarbeets, oilseed.
Industry: Types--machine building, iron and steel, mining,
shipbuilding, automobiles, furniture, textiles and apparel,
chemicals, food processing, glass, beverages.
Trade (2004): Exports--$80.9 billion: furniture, cars,
ships, coal, apparel. Imports--$87.1 billion: crude oil,
passenger cars, pharmaceuticals, car parts, computers.