A Profile of the World
Age: 4.6 billion years old.
Total area: 510.072 million sq km. Land area: 148.94 million sq km. Water area: 361.132 million sq km. Coastline: 356,000 km. Note: 70.8% of the world is water, 29.2% is land.
Climate: Two large areas of polar climates are separated by two rather narrow temperate zones from a wide equatorial band of tropical to subtropical climates.
Terrain: Highest elevation is Mt. Everest at 8,850 m and lowest land depression is the Dead Sea at –411 m below sea level. The greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at –10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean.
Land use: Arable land: 10.73%. Permanent crops: 1%. Other: 88.27%. Irrigated land: 2,714,320 sq km.
Population: 6,525,170,264 (July 2006 est.).
Growth rate: 1.14%.
Birth rate: 20.05 births/1,000 population.
Death rate: 8.67 deaths/1,000 population.
Sex ratio (at birth): 1.06 males/females.
Infant mortality rate: 48.87 deaths/1,000 live births.
Life expectancy at birth: Male: 63.16 years. Female: 66.47 years.
Total fertility rate: 2.59 children born per woman.
Literacy: (Age 15 and over who can read and write) Male: 87%. Female: 77%.
Government and Economy
Political divisions: 194 sovereign nations, 61 dependent areas, and 6 disputed territories.
Economy: Global output rose by 4.4% in 2006, led by China (9.3%), India (7.6%), and Russia (5.9%). Growth results posted by the major industrial countries varied from no gain for Italy to strong gain by the United States (3.5%). The developing nations varied in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that erode gains in output. 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 an economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized.
GWP/PPP: $60.71 trillion (2006 est.).
GWP—real growth rate: 4.7%.
GWP/PPP—per capita: $9,500.
GWP composition: agriculture 4%, industry 32%, services 64%.
Inflation rate (consumer price index): developed countries 1% to 4% typically; developing countries 5% to 20% typically.
Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many nonindustrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%–12% unemployment.
HOW MANY COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD TODAY?
There are 194 countries in the world today.
How many countries belong to the United Nations? 192 countries are UN members. The exceptions are Taiwan (in 1971, the UN ousted Taiwan and replaced it with the People's Republic of China) and Vatican City. The newest UN members are Switzerland (2002) and Montenegro (2006).
What are the world's newest countries? The world's newest country is Montenegro, which became a country in June 2006, after splitting off from Serbia. Before that, the newest country was East Timor, which became a nation in 2002 after gaining independence from Indonesia. Since 1990, 27 new nations have come into being. Many of these emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union (14 countries) and the breakup of the former Yugoslavia (6 countries).
Are there still any countries that have colonies? There are 61 colonies or territories in the world. Eight countries maintain them: Australia (6), Denmark (2), Netherlands (2), France (16), New Zealand (3), Norway (3), the United Kingdom (15), and the United States (14).
Are there still territories in the world that are claimed by more than one country? There are six major disputed territories in the world: Gaza Strip, West Bank, Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands, Western Sahara, and Antarctica (about a dozen nations have laid claims to portions of it). In addition, there are innumerable other territorial disputes throughout the world, many of which had resulted in ongoing armed conflicts.
THE COUNTRIES WITH POPULATION MORE THAN 40 MILLION (2007)
China 1,313,973,000; India 1,095,351,000;
United States 298,444,000; Indonesia 245,452,000;
Brazil 188,078,000; Pakistan 165,803,000; Bangladesh 147,365,000; Russia 142,893,000; Nigeria 131,859,000; Japan 127,463,000; Mexico 107,449,000;
Philippines 89,468,000; Vietnam 84,402,000; Germany 82,422,000;
Egypt 78,887,000; Ethiopia 74,777,000; Turkey 70,413,000; Iran 68,688,000; Thailand 64,631,000; Congo (Democratic) 62,660,000; France 60,876,000; United Kingdom 60,609,000; Italy 58,133,000;
South Korea 48,846,000; Myanmar 47,382,000; Ukraine 46,710,000; South Africa 44,187,000; Colombia 43,593,000; Sudan 41,236,000; Spain 40,397,000.
MOST WIDELY SPOKEN LANGUAGES IN THE WORLD (2007)
1. Chinese (Mandarin) 1,075,000,000
2. English 514,000,000
3. Hindustani 496,000,000
4. Spanish 425,000,000
5. Russian 275,000,000
6. Arabic 256,000,000
7. Bengali 215,000,000
8. Portuguese 194,000,000
9. Malay-Indonesian 176,000,000
10. French 129,000,000
SELECTED INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
African Union (AU)
Members: (53) Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Arab League (AL)
Members: (22) Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Palestine Liberation Organization
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Members: (10) Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Associate Members: (2) East Timor, Papua New Guinea
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Members: (12) Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Commonwealth of Nations
Members: (54) Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe
European Union (EU)
Members: (25) Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. New Members in 2004: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia
Group of 8 (G-8)
Members: (8) Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Members: (26) Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. New members in 2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)
Members: (59) Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Palestine Liberation Organization
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
Members: (12) Algeria, Equador, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela