Globally, the 20th century was marked by: (a) two devastating world wars; (b) the Great Depression of the 1930s; (c) the end of vast colonial empires; (d) rapid advances in science and technology, from the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (US) to the landing on the moon; (e) the Cold War between the Western alliance and the Warsaw Pact nations; (f) a sharp rise in living standards in North America, Europe, and Japan; (g) increased concerns about environmental degradation including deforestation, energy and water shortages, declining biological diversity, and air pollution; (h) the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and (i) the ultimate emergence of the US as the only world superpower. The planet's population continues to explode: from 1 billion in 1820 to 2 billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1999, and 7 billion in 2012. For the 21st century, the continued exponential growth in science and technology raises both hopes (e.g., advances in medicine and agriculture) and fears (e.g., development of even more lethal weapons of war).


Map references

Physical Map of the World


total: 510.072 million sq km
land: 148.94 million sq km
water: 361.132 million sq km
note: 70.9% of the world's surface is water, 29.1% is land

Area - comparative

land area about 16 times the size of the US
top fifteen World Factbook entities ranked by size: Pacific Ocean 155.557 million sq km; Atlantic Ocean 76.762 million sq km; Indian Ocean 68.556 million sq km; Southern Ocean 20.327 million sq km; Russia 17,098,242 sq km; Arctic Ocean 14.056 million sq km; Antarctica 14 million sq km; Canada 9,984,670 sq km; United States 9,826,675 sq km; China 9,596,960 sq km; Brazil 8,515,770 sq km; Australia 7,741,220 sq km; European Union 4,324,782 sq km; India 3,287,263 sq km; Argentina 2,780,400 sq km
top ten largest water bodies: Pacific Ocean 155.557 million sq km; Atlantic Ocean 76.762 million sq km; Indian Ocean 68.556 million sq km; Southern Ocean 20.327 million sq km; Arctic Ocean 14.056 million sq km; Coral Sea 4,184,100 sq km; South China Sea 3,595,900 sq km; Caribbean Sea 2.834 million sq km; Bering Sea 2.52 million sq km; Mediterranean Sea 2.469 million sq km
top ten largest landmasses: Asia 44,568,500 sq km; Africa 30.065 million sq km; North America 24.473 million sq km; South America 17.819 million sq km; Antarctica 14 million sq km; Europe 9.948 million sq km; Australia 7,741,220 sq km; Greenland 2,166,086 sq km; New Guinea 785,753 sq km; Borneo 751,929 sq km
top ten largest islands: Greenland 2,166,086 sq km; New Guinea (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea) 785,753 sq km; Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia) 751,929 sq km; Madagascar 587,713 sq km; Baffin Island (Canada) 507,451 sq km; Sumatra (Indonesia) 472,784 sq km; Honshu (Japan) 227,963 sq km; Victoria Island (Canada) 217,291 sq km; Great Britain (United Kingdom) 209,331 sq km; Ellesmere Island (Canada) 196,236 sq km
ten smallest independent countries: Holy See (Vatican City) 0.44 sq km; Monaco 2 sq km; Nauru 21 sq km; Tuvalu 26 sq km; San Marino 61 sq km; Liechtenstein 160 sq km; Marshall Islands 181 sq km; Saint Kitts and Nevis 261 sq km; Maldives 298 sq km; Malta 316 sq km

Land boundaries

the land boundaries in the world total 251,060 km (not counting shared boundaries twice); two nations, China and Russia, each border 14 other countries
note: 46 nations and other areas are landlocked, these include: Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe; two of these, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan, are doubly landlocked


356,000 km
note: 95 nations and other entities are islands that border no other countries, they include: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Baker Island, Barbados, Bermuda, Bouvet Island, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Clipperton Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Comoros, Cook Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Greenland, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Howland Island, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Japan, Jarvis Island, Jersey, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mayotte, Federated States of Micronesia, Midway Islands, Montserrat, Nauru, Navassa Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Palmyra Atoll, Paracel Islands, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Solomon Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Svalbard, Taiwan, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna

Maritime claims

a variety of situations exist, but in general, most countries make the following claims measured from the mean low-tide baseline as described in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: territorial sea - 12 nm, contiguous zone - 24 nm, and exclusive economic zone - 200 nm; additional zones provide for exploitation of continental shelf resources and an exclusive fishing zone; boundary situations with neighboring states prevent many countries from extending their fishing or economic zones to a full 200 nm


a wide equatorial band of hot and humid tropical climates, bordered north and south by subtropical temperate zones that separate two large areas of cold and dry polar climates


the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at -10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean


mean elevation: 840 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Bentley Subglacial Trench (Antarctica) -2,555 m (in the oceanic realm, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is the lowest point, lying -10,924 m below the surface of the Pacific Ocean)
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
top ten highest mountains (measured from sea level): Mount Everest (China-Nepal) 8,850 m; K2 (Pakistan) 8,611 m; Kanchenjunga (India-Nepal) 8,598 m; Lhotse (Nepal) 8,516 m; Makalu (China-Nepal) 8,463 m; Cho Oyu (China-Nepal) 8,201 m; Dhaulagiri (Nepal) 8,167 m; Manaslu (Nepal) 8,163 m; Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) 8,125 m; Anapurna (Nepal) 8,091 m
note: Mauna Kea (United States) is the world's tallest mountain as measured from base to summit; the peak of this volcanic colossus lies on the island of Hawaii, but its base begins more than 70 km offshore and at a depth of about 6,000 m; total height estimates range from 9,966 m to 10,203 m
highest point on each continent: Asia - Mount Everest (China-Nepal) 8,850 m; South America - Cerro Aconcagua (Argentina) 6,960 m; North America - Denali (Mount McKinley) (United States) 6,190 m; Africa - Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) 5,895 m; Europe - El'brus (Russia) 5,633 m; Antarctica - Vinson Massif 4,897 m; Australia - Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m
lowest point on each continent: Antarctica - Bentley Subglacial Trench -2,555 m; Asia - Dead Sea (Israel-Jordan) -408 m; Africa - Lac Assal (Djibouti) -155 m; South America - Laguna del Carbon (Argentina) -105 m; North America - Death Valley (United States) -86 m; Europe - Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan-Russia) -28 m; Australia - Lake Eyre -15 m

Natural resources

the rapid depletion of nonrenewable mineral resources, the depletion of forest areas and wetlands, the extinction of animal and plant species, and the deterioration in air and water quality (especially in some countries of Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and China) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address

Irrigated land

3,242,917 sq km (2012 est.)

Natural hazards

large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones); natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)
volcanism: volcanism is a fundamental driver and consequence of plate tectonics, the physical process reshaping the Earth's lithosphere; the world is home to more than 1,500 potentially active volcanoes, with over 500 of these having erupted in historical times; an estimated 500 million people live near these volcanoes; associated dangers include lava flows, lahars (mudflows), pyroclastic flows, ash clouds, ash fall, ballistic projectiles, gas emissions, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis; in the 1990s, the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, created a list of 16 Decade Volcanoes worthy of special study because of their great potential for destruction: Avachinsky-Koryaksky (Russia), Colima (Mexico), Etna (Italy), Galeras (Colombia), Mauna Loa (United States), Merapi (Indonesia), Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Rainier (United States), Sakurajima (Japan), Santa Maria (Guatemala), Santorini (Greece), Taal (Philippines), Teide (Spain), Ulawun (Papua New Guinea), Unzen (Japan), Vesuvius (Italy)

Environment - current issues

large areas subject to overpopulation, industrial disasters, pollution (air, water, acid rain, toxic substances), loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion; global warming becoming a greater concern

Geography - note

the world is now thought to be about 4.55 billion years old, just about one-third of the 13.8-billion-year age estimated for the universe

People and Society


7,323,187,457 (July 2016 est.)
top ten most populous countries (in millions): China 1373.54; India 1266.88; United States 324.00; Indonesia 258.32; Brazil 205.82; Pakistan 202.00; Nigeria 186.05; Bangladesh 156.19; Russia 142.36; Japan 126.70
ten least populous countries: Holy See (Vatican City) 1,000; Nauru 9,591; Tuvalu 10,959; Palau 21,347; Monaco 30,581; San Marino 33,285; Liechtenstein 37,937; Saint Kitts and Nevis 52,329; Marshall Islands 73,376; Dominica 73,757
ten most densely populated countries (population per sq km): Monaco 15,291; Singapore 8,416; Holy See (Vatican City) 2,273; Bahrain 1,814; Maldives 1,319; Malta 1,314; Bangladesh 1,200; Barbados 678; Mauritius 664; Lebanon 610
ten least densely populated countries (population per sq km): Mongolia 1.95; Namibia 2.96; Australia 2.99; Iceland 3.35; Mauritania 3.57; Libya 3.72; Guyana 3.74; Suriname 3.76; Canada 3.89; Botswana 3.90


Mandarin Chinese 12.2%, Spanish 5.8%, English 4.6%, Arabic 3.6%, Hindi 3.6%, Portuguese 2.8%, Bengali 2.6%, Russian 2.3%, Japanese 1.7%, Punjabi, Western 1.2%, Javanese 1.2% (2016 est.)
note 1: percents are for "first language" speakers only; the six UN languages - Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, Russian, and Spanish (Castilian) - are the mother tongue or second language of about half of the world's population, and are the official languages in more than half the states in the world; some 300 languages have more than a million first-language speakers
note 2: all told, there are an estimated 7,100 languages spoken in the world; approximately 80% of these languages are spoken by less than 100,000 people; about 130 languages are spoken by less than 10 people; communities that are isolated from each other in mountainous regions often develop multiple languages; Papua New Guinea, for example, boasts about 840 separate languages
note 3: approximately 2,300 languages are spoken in Asia, 2,140, in Africa, 1,310 in the Pacific, 1,060 in the Americas, and 290 in Europe (2016)


Christian 31.4%, Muslim 23.2%, Hindu 15%, Buddhist 7.1%, folk religions 5.9%, Jewish 0.2%, other 0.8%, unaffiliated 16.4% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.44% (male 963,981,944/female 898,974,458)
15-24 years: 16.16% (male 611,311,930/female 572,229,547)
25-54 years: 41.12% (male 1,522,999,578/female 1,488,011,505)
55-64 years: 8.6% (male 307,262,939/female 322,668,546)
65 years and over: 8.68% (male 283,540,918/female 352,206,092) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.3%
youth dependency ratio: 39.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 12.6%
potential support ratio: 7.9% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 30.1 years
male: 29.4 years
female: 30.9 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

note: this rate results in about 148 net additions to the worldwide population every minute or 2.5 every second (2016 est.)

Birth rate

18.5 births/1,000 population
note: this rate results in about 258 worldwide births per minute or 4.3 births every second (2016 est.)

Death rate

7.8 deaths/1,000 population
note: this rate results in about 108 worldwide deaths per minute or 1.8 deaths every second (2016 est.)


urban population: 54% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
ten largest urban agglomerations: Tokyo (Japan) - 38,001,000; New Delhi (India) - 25,703,000; Shanghai (China) - 23,741,000; Sao Paulo (Brazil) - 21,066,000; Mumbai (India) - 21,043,000; Mexico City (Mexico) - 20,999,000; Beijing (China) - 20,384,000; Osaka (Japan) - 20,238,000; Cairo (Egypt) - 18,772,000; New York-Newark (US) - 18,593,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.805 male(s)/female
total population: 1.015 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

216 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 34.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 36.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 32.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69 years
male: 67 years
female: 71.1 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.42 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Drinking water source

urban: 96.5% of population
rural: 84.7% of population
total: 91.1% of population
urban: 3.5% of population
rural: 15.3% of population
total: 8.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 82.3% of population
rural: 50.5% of population
total: 67.7% of population
urban: 17.7% of population
rural: 49.5% of population
total: 32.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.8% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

36,710,700 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,107,600 (2015 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.1%
male: 89.9%
female: 82.2% (2015 est.)
note: more than three-quarters of the world's 781 million illiterate adults are found in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; of all the illiterate adults in the world, almost two-thirds are women (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2014)


Administrative divisions

195 countries, 72 dependent areas and other entities

Legal system

the legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including English and US law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law); an additional type of legal system - international law - governs the conduct of independent nations in their relationships with one another

International law organization participation

all members of the UN are parties to the statute that established the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or World Court; 61 countries have accepted jurisdiction of the ICJ as compulsory with reservations and 11 countries have accepted ICJ jurisdiction as compulsory without reservations; states parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICCt) are those countries that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the Court; a total of 123 (effective 2 January 2015) countries have accepted jurisdiction of the ICCt (see Appendix B for a clarification on the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt)

Flag description

note: the flags of 11 nations: Austria, Botswana, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Macedonia, Micronesia, Nigeria, Switzerland, and Thailand have no top or bottom and may be flown with either long edge on top without any notice being taken


Economy - overview

The international financial crisis of 2008-09 led to the first downturn in global output since 1946 and presented the world with a major new challenge: determining what mix of fiscal and monetary policies to follow to restore growth and jobs, while keepin

Fiscal and monetary data for 2013 are currently available for 180 countries, which together account for 98.5% of world GDP. Of the 180 countries, 82 pursued unequivocally expansionary policies, boosting government spending while also expanding their money

(For more information, see attached spreadsheet, Fiscal and

In 2013, for many countries the drive for fiscal austerity that began in 2011 abated. While 5 out of 6 countries slowed spending in 2012, only 1 in 2 countries slowed spending in 2013. About 1 in 3 countries actually lowered the level of their expenditure

Austere economic policies have significantly affected economic performance. The global budget deficit narrowed to roughly $2.7 trillion in 2012 and $2.1 trillion in 2013, or 3.8% and 2.5% of World GDP, respectively. But growth of the world economy slipped

Countries with expansionary fiscal and monetary policies achieved significantly higher rates of growth, higher growth of tax revenues, and greater success reducing the public debt burden than those countries that chose contractionary policies. In 2013, th

Faster GDP growth and lower unemployment rates translated into increased tax revenues and a less cumbersome debt burden. Revenues for the 82 expansionary countries grew at a median rate of 10.7%, whereas tax revenues fell at a median rate of 6.8% for the

The world recession has suppressed inflation rates - world inflation declined 1.0 percentage point in 2012 to about 4.1% and 0.2 percentage point to 3.9% in 2013. In 2013 the median inflation rate for the 82 pro-growth countries was 1.3 percentage points

Beyond the current global slowdown, the world faces several long standing economic challenges. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, waste-disposal, epidemics, water-shortage

Despite these vexing problems, the world economy also shows great promise. Technology has made possible further advances in a wide range of fields, from agriculture, to medicine, alternative energy, metallurgy, and transportation. Improved global communic

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$119.4 trillion (2016 est.)
$116 trillion (2015 est.)
$112.5 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

SGWP (gross world product): $75.73 trillion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

3% (2016 est.)
3% (2014 est.)
3.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$16,300 (2016 est.)
$17,600 (2015 est.)
$17,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

26.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57.2%
government consumption: 16.4%
investment in fixed capital: 25.3%
investment in inventories: 0.8%
exports of goods and services: 28.1%
imports of goods and services: -27.7% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 6.4%
industry: 30.3%
services: 62.6% (2016 est.)


dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adju

Industrial production growth rate

2.5% (2016 est.)

Labor force

3.435 billion (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 34.4%
industry: 22.2%
services: 43.4% (2011)

Unemployment rate

8.6% (2016 est.)
7.6% (2015 est.)
note: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

38.1 (2009 est.)
37.3 (2000 est.)


revenues: $20.31 trillion
expenditures: $22.79 trillion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

26.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

60.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
58.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

world average: 3.6% (2015 est.) 0.9% (2016 est.)
developed countries: 5.4% (2015 est.) 0.3% (2014 est.)
developing countries: 5.7% (2015 est.) 4.7% (2014 est.)
note: the above estimates are weighted averages; inflation in developed countries is 0% to 4% typically, in developing countries, 4% to 10% typically; national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases; inflation rates have declined for most countries for

Stock of narrow money

$30.7 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$27.83 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$84.98 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$80.94 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$101.9 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$95.09 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$66.79 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$67.47 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$67.16 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)


$15.64 trillion (2016 est.)
$16.3 trillion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
top ten - share of world trade: electrical machinery, including computers 14.8%; mineral fuels, including oil, coal, gas, and refined products 14.4%; nuclear reactors, boilers, and parts 14.2%; cars, trucks, and buses 8.9%; scientific and precision instruments 3.5%; plastics 3.4%; iron and steel 2.7%; organic chemicals 2.6%; pharmaceutical products 2.6%; diamonds, pearls, and precious stones 1.9% (2007 est.)


$15.34 trillion (2016 est.)
$15.97 trillion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
top ten - share of world trade: see listing for exports

Debt - external

$75.74 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$74.28 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: this figure is the sum total of all countries' external debt, both public and private

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$28 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$26.18 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$29.57 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$27.77 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 1,201,000,000
electrification - total population: 83%
electrification - urban areas: 95%
electrification - rural areas: 70% (2013)

Electricity - production

22.75 trillion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

21.38 trillion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

695.6 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

723.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

6.142 billion kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

65.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

6.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

18.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

9.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

80.25 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

44.53 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

46.7 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

1.662 trillion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

89.29 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

93.5 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

26.97 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

26.06 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

3.498 trillion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

3.51 trillion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

1.123 trillion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

1.469 trillion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

197.2 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

32.82 billion Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

1.1 billion (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total 7 billion (July 2015 est.)

Internet users

3.172 billion
top ten countries by Internet usage (in millions): China 687.9; India 325.4; United States 239.6; Brazil 120.7; Japan 118.5; Russia 104.6; Nigeria 86.1; Germany 70.8; Mexico 69.9; United Kingdom 59 (July 2015 est.)



total airports - 41,821 (2013)
top ten by passengers: Atlanta (ATL) - 94,431,224; Beijing (PEK) - 83,712,355; London (LHR) - 72,368,061; Tokyo (HND) - 68,906,509; Chicago (ORD) - 66,777,161; Los Angeles (LAX) - 66,667,619; Dubai (DXB) - 66,431,533; Paris (CDG) - 62,052,917; Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) - 60,470,507; Jakarta (CGK) - 60,137,347 (2013)
top ten by cargo (metric tons): Hong Kong (HKG) - 4,166,303; Memphis, TN (MEM) - 4,137,801; Shanghai (PVG) - 2,928,527; Incheon (ICN) - 2,464,384; Dubai (DXB) - 2,435,567; Anchorage, AK (ANC) - 2,421,145; Louisville, KY (SDF) - 2,216,079; Frankfurt (FRA) - 2,094,453; Paris (CDG) - 2,069,200; Tokyo (NRT) - 2,019,844 (2013)


6,524 (2013)


total: 1,148,186 km (2013)


total: 64,285,009 km (2013)


2,293,412 km
top ten longest rivers: Nile (Africa) 6,693 km; Amazon (South America) 6,436 km; Mississippi-Missouri (North America) 6,238 km; Yenisey-Angara (Asia) 5,981 km; Ob-Irtysh (Asia) 5,569 km; Yangtze (Asia) 5,525 km; Yellow (Asia) 4,671 km; Amur (Asia) 4,352 km; Lena (Asia) 4,345 km; Congo (Africa) 4,344 km
note: rivers are not necessarily navigable along the entire length; if measured by volume, the Amazon is the largest river in the world
top ten largest natural lakes (by surface area): Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan) 372,960 sq km; Lake Superior (Canada, United States) 82,414 sq km; Lake Victoria (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) 69,490 sq km; Lake Huron (Canada, United States) 59,596 sq km; Lake Michigan (United States) 57,441 sq km; Lake Tanganyika (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia) 32,890 sq km; Great Bear Lake (Canada) 31,800 sq km; Lake Baikal (Russia) 31,494 sq km; Lake Nyasa (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania) 30,044 sq km; Great Slave Lake (Canada) 28,400 sq km
note: the areas of the lakes are subject to seasonal variation; only the Caspian Sea is saline, the rest are fresh water (2013)

Ports and terminals

top ten container ports as measured by Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) throughput: Shanghai (China) - 33,617,000; Singapore (Singapore) - 32,578,000; Shenzhen (China) - 23,278,000; Hong Kong (China) - 22,352,000; Busan (South Korea) - 17,611,882; Ningbo (China) - 17,326,800; Qingdao (China) - 15,520,000; Guangzhou (China) - 15,309,200; Dubai (UAE) - 13,600,000; - Tianjin (China) - 12,996,510 (2013)

Transportation - note

the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that 2014 saw a continued decrease in global pirate activities declining 7% over 2013; in 2014, pirates attacked a total of 245 ships world-wide including hijacking 21 ships, capturing 442 seafarers, and killing 4; the Horn of Africa continued to see a drop in pirate activities with only 11 incidents in 2014 compared with 15 in 2013 and 236 in 2011; the decrease in successful pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa is due, in part, to more aggressive anti-piracy operations by international naval forces, the hardening of vessels, and the increased use of armed security teams aboard merchant ships; despite these preventative measures, the assessed risk remains high; attacks in the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea accounted for 55% of ships attacked in 2014; West African piracy is a growing threat accounting for 16% of all attacks in 2014; Nigerian pirates are very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore and linked with at least four hijackings that occurred in this area; attacks in South Asian waters remain at low levels although incidents have increased each year since 2010 reaching 34 in 2014; as of October 2015, there were 190 attacks worldwide with 15 hijackings in the Straits of Malacca/South China Sea region and West African waters


Military expenditures

2.42% of GDP (2012)
2.51% of GDP (2011)
2.42% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

stretching over 250,000 km, the world's 325 international land boundaries separate 195 independent states and 71 dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, and other miscellaneous entities; ethnicity, culture, race, religion, and language have divided states into separate political entities as much as history, physical terrain, political fiat, or conquest, resulting in sometimes arbitrary and imposed boundaries; most maritime states have claimed limits that include territorial seas and exclusive economic zones; overlapping limits due to adjacent or opposite coasts create the potential for 430 bilateral maritime boundaries of which 209 have agreements that include contiguous and non-contiguous segments; boundary, borderland/resource, and territorial disputes vary in intensity from managed or dormant to violent or militarized; undemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries tend to encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and confrontation; territorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural claims, or they may be brought on by resource competition; ethnic and cultural clashes continue to be responsible for much of the territorial fragmentation and internal displacement of the estimated 20.8 million people and cross-border displacements of approximately 12.1 million refugees and asylum seekers around the world as of mid-2013; over half a million refugees were repatriated during 2012; other sources of contention include access to water and mineral (especially hydrocarbon) resources, fisheries, and arable land; armed conflict prevails not so much between the uniformed armed forces of independent states as between stateless armed entities that detract from the sustenance and welfare of local populations, leaving the community of nations to cope with resultant refugees, hunger, disease, impoverishment, and environmental degradation

Refugees and internally displaced persons

the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that as of the end of 2015 there were 65.3 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, the highest level ever recorded; this includes 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million conflict IDPs; the UNHCR estimates there are currently at least 10 million stateless persons (2016)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: the International Labour Organization conservatively estimated that 20.9 million people in 2012 were victims of forced labor, representing the full range of human trafficking (also referred to as “modern-day slavery”) for labor and sexual exploitation; about one-third of reported cases involved crossing international borders, which is often associated with sexual exploitation; trafficking in persons is most prevalent in southeastern Europe, Eurasia, and Africa and least frequent in EU member states, Canada, the US, and other developed countries (2012)
Tier 2 Watch List: countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to do so; (44 countries) Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Tier 3: countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking nor demonstrate a significant effort to do so; (23 countries) Algeria, Belarus, Belize, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, North Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe (2015)

Illicit drugs

cocaine: worldwide coca leaf cultivation in 2013 likely amounted to 165,000 hectares, assuming a stable crop in Bolivia; Colombia produced slightly less than half of the worldwide crop, followed by Peru and Bolivia; potential pure cocaine production increased 7% to 640 metric tons in 2013; Colombia conducts an aggressive coca eradication campaign, Peru has increased its eradication efforts, but remains hesitant to eradicate coca in key growing areas
opiates: worldwide illicit opium poppy cultivation increased in 2013, with potential opium production reaching 6,800 metric tons; Afghanistan is world's primary opium producer, accounting for 82% of the global supply; Southeast Asia was responsible for 12% of global opium; Pakistan produced 3% of global opium; Latin America produced 4% of global opium, and most was refined into heroin destined for the US market (2015)