The World Factbook
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

''The World Factbook'', also known as the ''CIA World Factbook'', is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is available from the Government Publishing Office. The ''Factbook'' is available in the form of a website that is partially updated every week. It is also available for download for use off-line. It provides a two- to three-page summary of the demographics,
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, i ...
, communications,
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
, economy, and
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct ...
of each of 267 international entities including U.S.-recognized countries, dependencies, and other areas in the world. ''The World Factbook'' is prepared by the CIA for the use of U.S. government officials, and its style, format, coverage, and content are primarily designed to meet their requirements. However, it is frequently used as a resource for academic research papers and news articles. As a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain in the United States.


Sources

In researching the ''Factbook'', the CIA uses the sources listed below. Other public and private sources are also consulted. * Antarctic Information Program ( National Science Foundation) * Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center ( Department of Defense) * Bureau of the Census ( Department of Commerce) * Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Department of Labor) * Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs *
Defense Intelligence Agency The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is an intelligence agency and combat support agency of the United States Department of Defense, specializing in defense and military intelligence. A component of the Department of Defense (DoD) and th ...
(Department of Defense) * Department of Energy * Department of State * Fish and Wildlife Service ( Department of the Interior) * Maritime Administration ( Department of Transportation) * National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Department of Defense) * Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Department of Defense) * Office of Insular Affairs (Department of the Interior) * Office of Naval Intelligence (Department of Defense) * '' Oil & Gas Journal'' * United States Board on Geographic Names (Department of the Interior) * United States Transportation Command (Department of Defense)


Copyright

Because the ''Factbook'' is in the public domain, people are free under United States law to redistribute it or parts of it in any way that they like, without permission of the CIA. However, the CIA requests that it be cited when the ''Factbook'' is used. Copying the official seal of the CIA without permission is prohibited by U.S. federal law—specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 ().


Frequency of updates and availability

Before November 2001, ''The World Factbook'' website was updated yearly; from 2004 to 2010 it was updated every two weeks; since 2010 it has been updated weekly. Generally, information currently available as of January 1 of the current year is used in preparing the ''Factbook''.


Government edition

The first classified edition of ''Factbook'' was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version in June 1971. ''The World Factbook'' was first available to the public in print in 1975. In 2008, the CIA discontinued printing the ''Factbook'' themselves, instead turning printing responsibilities over to the Government Printing Office. This happened due to a CIA decision to "focus Factbook resources" on the online edition. The ''Factbook'' has been on the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system enabling documents and other web resources to be accessed over the Internet. Documents and downloadable media are made available to the network through web se ...
since October 1994. The web version receives an average of six million visits per month; it can also be downloaded. The official printed version is sold by the Government Printing Office and National Technical Information Service. In past years, the ''Factbook'' was available on CD-ROM, microfiche, magnetic tape, and floppy disk.


Reprints and older editions online

Many Internet sites use information and images from the CIA ''World Factbook''. Several publishers, including Grand River Books, Potomac Books (formerly known as Brassey's Inc.), and Skyhorse Publishing have published the ''Factbook'' in recent years.


Entities listed

, ''The World Factbook'' comprises 267 entities, which can be divided into the following categories: ; Independent countries: The CIA defines these as people "politically organized into a sovereign state with a definite territory." In this category, there are 195 entities. ; Others: Places set apart from the list of independent countries. Currently there are two:
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. ; Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty: Places affiliated with another country. They may be subcategorized by affiliated country: :*
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
: 6 entities :*
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
: 2 entities :*
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
: 2 entities :*
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
: 8 entities :*
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
: 3 entities :* New Zealand: 3 entities :*
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe, the mainland territory of which comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The remote Arctic island of ...
: 3 entities :*
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
: 17 entities :*
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
: 14 entities ; Miscellaneous:
Antarctica Antarctica () is Earth's southernmost and least-populated continent. Situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle and surrounded by the Southern Ocean, it contains the geographic South Pole. Antarctica is the fifth-largest contine ...
and places in dispute. There are six such entities. ; Other entities: The World and the oceans. There are five oceans and the World (the World entry is intended as a summary of the other entries).


Territorial issues and controversies


Political


Areas not covered

Specific regions within a country or areas in dispute among countries, such as Kashmir, are not covered, but other areas of the world whose status is disputed, such as the Spratly Islands, have entries. Subnational areas of countries (such as U.S. states or the Canadian provinces and territories) are not included in the ''Factbook''. Instead, users looking for information about subnational areas are referred to "a comprehensive encyclopedia" for their reference needs. This criterion was invoked in the 2007 and 2011 (Archived by WebCite at ) editions with the decision to drop the entries for French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion. They were dropped because besides being overseas departments, they were now overseas regions, and an integral part of France. Since the Trump administration's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara in late 2020, most of its data has been merged into Morocco's page.


Chagos Archipelago

Some entries on the World Factbook are known to be in line with the political views and agenda of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
. The United States is behind both the excision of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory and the forcible expulsion of the Chagossians from their lands to establish a military base on one of the island of the archipelago, namely Diego Garcia. The US does not recognise the sovereignty of
Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice, link=no ; mfe, label=Mauritian Creole, Moris ), officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about off the southeast coast of the African continent, east of Madagascar. It incl ...
over the Chagos Archipelago and the archipelago is listed as the British Indian Ocean Territory on the CIA Website. The website further erroneously mentioned that the Chagos Archipelago is also claimed by the Seychelles, while officially 116 countries including the Seychelles against only 6 countries including the United States voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution dated 24 May 2019 which called upon the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
to withdraw its colonial administration from the Chagos Archipelago unconditionally to enable Mauritius to complete the decolonization of its territory as rapidly as possible.


Kashmir

Maps depicting Kashmir have the Indo-Pakistani border drawn at the Line of Control, but the region of Kashmir administered by China drawn in hash marks.


Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus, which the U.S. considers part of the Republic of Cyprus, is not given a separate entry because "territorial occupations/annexations not recognized by the United States Government are not shown on U.S. Government maps."


Taiwan/Republic of China

The name "Republic of China" is not listed as
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
's official name under the "Government" section, due to U.S. acknowledgement of Beijing's One-China policy according to which there is one China and Taiwan is a part of it. The name "Republic of China" was briefly added on January 27, 2005, but has since been changed back to "none". Of the ''Factbook''s two maps of
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
, one highlights the island of Taiwan as part of the country while the other does not. (See also: Political status of Taiwan, Legal status of Taiwan)


Disputed South China Sea Islands

The Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, subjects of territorial disputes, have entries in the ''Factbook'' where they are not listed as the territory of any one nation. The disputed claims to the islands are discussed in the entries.


Burma/Myanmar

The U.S. does not recognize the renaming of Burma by its ruling military junta to ''Myanmar'' and thus keeps its entry for the country under the ''Burma'' name.


North Macedonia

The country was first entered as ''Macedonia'' in the ''Factbook'' upon independence in 1992. In the 1994 edition, the name of the entry was changed to the ''Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'', as it is recognised by the United Nations (pending resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute). For the next decade, this was the name the nation was listed under. In the 2004 edition of the ''Factbook'', the name of the entry was changed back to ''Macedonia'', following a November 2004 U.S. decision to refer to the country using this name. On February 19, 2019, the entry was renamed to ''North Macedonia'' following the country's name change to the Republic of North Macedonia.


European Union

On December 16, 2004, the CIA added an entry for the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
(EU) for the first time. The "What's New" section of the 2005 ''Factbook'' states: "The European Union continues to accrue more nation-like characteristics for itself and so a separate listing was deemed appropriate."


United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges and Iles Eparses

In the 2006 edition of ''The World Factbook'', the entries for Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, Johnston Atoll, Palmyra Atoll and the Midway Islands were merged into a new United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges entry. The old entries for each individual insular area remain as redirects on the ''Factbook'' website. On September 7, 2006, the CIA also merged the entries for Bassas da India, Europa Island, the Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island into a new Iles Eparses entry. As with the new United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges entry, the old entries for these five islands remained as redirects on the website. On July 19, 2007, the Iles Eparses entry and redirects for each island were dropped due to the group becoming a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands in February.


Serbia and Montenegro/Yugoslavia

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) broke apart in 1991. The following year, it was replaced in the ''Factbook'' with entries for each of its former constituent republics. In doing this, the CIA listed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), proclaimed in 1992, as ''Serbia and Montenegro'', as the U.S. did not recognize the union between the two republics. This was done in accordance with a May 21, 1992, decision by the U.S. not to recognize any of the former Yugoslav republics as successor states to the recently dissolved SFRY. These views were made clear in a disclaimer printed in the ''Factbook'': "Serbia and Montenegro have asserted the formation of a joint independent state, but this entity has not been recognized as a state by the United States." Montenegro and Serbia were treated separately in the ''Factbook'' data, as can be seen on the map. In October 2000, Slobodan Milošević was forced out of office after a disputed election. This event led to democratic elections and U.S. diplomatic recognition. The 2001 edition of the ''Factbook'' thus referred to the state as ''Yugoslavia''. On March 14, 2002, an agreement was signed to transform the FRY into a loose state union called Serbia and Montenegro; it took effect on February 4, 2003. The name of the Yugoslavia entity was altered in the ''Factbook'' the month after the change.


Kosovo

On February 28, 2008, the CIA added an entry for
Kosovo Kosovo ( sq, Kosova or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово ), officially the Republic of Kosovo ( sq, Republika e Kosovës, links=no; sr, Република Косово, Republika Kosovo, links=no), is a international recognition of Kosovo, partiall ...
, which declared independence on February 17 of the same year. Before this, Kosovo was excluded in the ''Factbook''. Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute; Serbia continues to claim Kosovo as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been out of
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
member states, including the United States.


East Timor/Timor-Leste

On July 19, 2007, the entry for
East Timor East Timor (), also known as Timor-Leste (), officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is an island country in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the exclave of Oecusse on the island's north-wester ...
was renamed ''Timor-Leste'' following a decision of the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN).


Factual

In June 2009, National Public Radio (NPR), relying on information obtained from ''The World Factbook'', put the number of Israeli Jews living in settlements in the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية, translit=aḍ-Ḍiffah al-Ġarbiyyah; he, הגדה המערבית, translit=HaGadah HaMaʽaravit, also referred to by some Israelis as ) is a landlocked territory near the coast of the Mediter ...
and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem at 250,000. However, a better estimate, based on State Department and Israeli sources put the figure at about 500,000. NPR then issued a correction. Chuck Holmes, foreign editor for NPR Digital, said, "I'm surprised and displeased, and it makes me wonder what other information is out-of-date or incorrect in the CIA ''World Factbook''." Scholars have acknowledged that some entries in the ''Factbook'' are out of date.


See also

* '' World Leaders'', another regular publication of the CIA * National Security Agency academic publications ; Alternative publications * '' Europa World Year Book'' * '' The New York Times Almanac'' * '' Time Almanac with Information Please'' * '' Whitaker's Almanack'' * '' World Almanac''


References


Citations


General and cited sources

*


External links

*
''CIA World Factbook'' as XML

On stephansmap.org
– The ''CIA World Factbook'' accessible by location and date range; covers the years 2001–2007. All ''Factbook'' entries are tagged with "cia". Requires graphical browser with javascript.
The current ''CIA World Factbook'' in Excel spreadsheet format


Mobile versions of the ''Factbook''



last updated February 2019

– Optimized ''CIA World Factbook'' version for Android Devices


The ''Factbook'' by year


Countries of the World – 36 years of the ''CIA World Factbook''
(1982–2019) * Previous editions of ''The World Factbook'' from the University of Missouri–St. Louis archive:
1992

1991 ''CIA World Factbook''

1990 ''CIA World Factbook''

1989 ''CIA World Factbook''

1987 ''CIA World Factbook''

1986 ''CIA World Factbook''

1985 ''CIA World Factbook''

1984 ''CIA World Factbook''

1982 ''CIA World Factbook''
{{DEFAULTSORT:World Factbook, The 1962 establishments in the United States Academic works about intelligence analysis Almanacs Factbook Publications established in 1962 Reference works in the public domain