Form of Government: Republic
Area: 312 695 sq km
Population: 38 413 139 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 122.85 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 55° - 49° N; long. 14° - 24° E
Capital: Warsaw=Warszawa (capital) 1 769 529 inhab. (2018); Warsaw 3 100 844 inhab. (2016), urban agglomeration
Currency: Polish złoty (100 groszy)
Human development index: 0.865 (rank: 33)
President: Andrzej Duda (PiS), since 6 August 2015
Prime Minister: Mateusz Morawiecki (PiS), since 11 December 2017
National Assembly: seats (July 2019 update): PiS (Law and Justice, conservative), 237; PO (Civic Platform, liberal), 155; Kukiz’15 (right-wing), 25; PSL (Polish People’s Party, centrist), 22; Confederation (Eurosceptic), 6; WiS (Free and Solidary, conservative), 3; Now! (liberal), 3; independents, 9
Internet: www.stat.gov.pl (Central Statistical Office of Poland)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code PL
International dialling code 0048
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .pl
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Warsaw 8.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Warsaw -2.5/18.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Warsaw 8/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Warsaw 520
Days of rainfall (annual average) Warsaw 93
Politics and current affairs
The bitter conflict with the EU over the rule of law continues: regarding the procedure detailed in Article 7 of the Treaties, in October 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union blocked some measures that interfered with the career of Poland’s Supreme Court judges, pushing the government to reverse its decision. Tensions continue, however, with the European Commission. Meanwhile, ahead of the elections in November 2019, the governing party Law and Justice (PiS) won 45% of the votes in the European elections on 26 May 2019, while a pro-European coalition reached 38%. The country is divided between rural areas, dominated by PiS, and major cities, like Warsaw, where, in October 2018, the opposition party, PO, took office. On 13 January 2019, the liberal mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, was assassinated.
Poland is bordered to the north-east by Russia and Lithuania, to the east by Belarus and Ukraine, to the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, to the west by Germany and to the north by the Baltic Sea.
Occupying the middle part of the great European plain that extends from the North Sea to the Urals, Poland links the German plain to the Russian plain in a series of alluvial plains and low-lying hills that rise to a significant height only to the south in the Sudetes and the Beskids. Sand spits on the Baltic coast encircle enormous lagoons.
Inland the River Vistula, the longest and most important river in Poland, flows through a wide plain. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers.
After the elimination of democratic and pro-Western elements during World War II, Poland became part of the Communist bloc in 1947. It embraced democracy in 1987 under the impetus of the Solidarity (Solidarność) trade union, which won a landslide victory in the partially-free elections on 4 and 18 June 1989. Since then centre-left and centre-right coalitions alternated in power up until the election of 25 October 2015, which led to the formation of a single-party government. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and on 1 May 2004, it became a member of the European Union.
Under the Constitution approved by referendum on 25 May 1997, the President of the Republic, directly elected for a five-year term, appoints the Prime Minister who must be voted in by the both houses of Parliament. Parliament comprises the Lower House (460 seats) and Senate (100 seats), whose members are elected for four-year terms.
Military service has been voluntary since 2009. In response to tensions with Russia, the government has significantly increased military spending.
On 12 June 2019, the US announced the deployment of 1000 soldiers in the country.
The legal system is based on Napoleonic Law, reviewed and brought in line with Western European tradition. Recent reforms by PiS have been contested.
|Warsaw=Warszawa||1 769 529||inhab.||2018|
|Warsaw||3 100 844||inhab.||2016|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
|Foreigners, total||239 230||units||2018|
The economy grew 5.1% in 2018 and is expected to maintain this rhythm in 2019-20, thanks in part to the government’s social spending. The use of EU funds has declined; unemployment is at historic lows (3.9%).
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||113.09||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||-5 897.6||M US$||2018|
|Active population||17 143 300||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||44.9||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||44.9||%||2018|
|Expenses||477 882||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||464 488||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||219.2||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||116 956.6||M US$||2018|
Agriculture employs a significant share of the workforce. The most important crops are cereals (wheat, barley, maize and oats), potatoes, sugar beet, fruit (especially apples) and vegetables.
The main livestock species are pigs, cattle and farmyard animals. The number of horses raised is particularly high, especially draught horses.
|barley||3 793.032||1000 t||2017|
|cereals, total||31 924.964||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||9 171.733||1000 t||2017|
|roots and tubers, total||9 171.733||1000 t||2017|
|cabbages||1 083.608||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||49.924||1000 t||2017|
|beans, green||3.163||1000 t||2017|
|rapeseed||2 697.265||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||15 732.952||1000 t||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||0.035||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.061||1000 t||2017|
|apples||2 441.393||1000 t||2017|
|carrots and turnips||22.118||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||18.003||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, green||0.125||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||231.716||1000 ha||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||0.174||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.096||1000 ha||2017|
|timber||45 346 400||m³||2017|
|cattle||6 143.083||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 143.083||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||11 352.719||1000 heads||2017|
|equines, total||185.494||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||197 222||1000 heads||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||34.77||t||2017|
|freshwater fishes||41 421||t||2017|
The Silesian coalfield is one of the largest in Europe. Rich lignite deposits are located near Bogatynia, Konin and Bełchatów. Other mineral resources include lead and zinc in Silesia, copper, salt, sulfur, silver, magnesite, gypsum and feldspar.
Energy and industry.
Power generation relies almost exclusively on coal-fired power stations. The country has sizeable reserves of shale gas, although still little explored, and is crossed by the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline (from Russia). To diversify the sources of supply, a gas pipeline with Denmark (Baltic Pipe) is under construction. In Świnoujście there is a regasification terminal. Oil refineries (the main ones at Plock and Gdańsk) work with imported crude oil, especially from Russia, also supplied via the main Druzhba oil pipeline, whose flow was temporarily interrupted in April 2019 due to the presence of contaminants. In May 2019, the government announced new plans to develop the nuclear sector.
The traditional heavy metal industry has been reformed progressively to respond to international competition, to attract foreign investments and to reduce the environmental impact. Some of the most polluting plants have been shut down or modernized. The steel industry is concentrated on the edges of the coalfields, with active steelworks in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Stalowa Wola, Warsaw and Szczecin. Metal-working is important in Wrocław, Poznań and Silesia. There are numerous cement works.
Mechanical industry covers a wide range of productions, including tractors, farm machinery, electrical machinery and home appliances. The railway sector is also relevant.
The motor industry, which relies heavily on foreign capital, is located at Warsaw-Żerań, Poznań, Lublin, Tychy, Gliwice and Bielsko-Biala (cars and vans), as well as Sanok (buses), Dęba (engines), and Starachowice, Tychy and Lublin (trucks). The ship-building industry is in serious crisis. Chemical works are widepsread throughout the country, while the pharmaceutical industry is concentrated in Warsaw. Rubber-processing plants are also active.
The cotton industry is concentrated around Łódź; alongside the wool industry, the manufacture of synthetic and artificial textile fibres and the flax industry are also relevant. Glass-making is important in Silesia, and porcelain at Ćmielów, Chodzież and Wałbrzych. Other industries include brewing, distilling and tobacco.
|coal||63 600||1000 t||2018|
|coal, total||122 200||1000 t||2018|
|dolomite||3 164||1000 t||2015|
|silver||1 300 000||kg||2018|
|- thermal||134 482.04||M kWh||2016|
|- other renew.||20 581||M kWh||2016|
|- thermal||28 784||1000 kW||2016|
|- other renew.||6 936||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||156 918.04||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||38 106||1000 kW||2016|
|watches and clocks||10 900||no.||2015|
|air conditioners||263 000||no.||2017|
|bitumen||1 427||1000 t||2016|
|petrol||4 543||1000 t||2018|
|ammonia||2 300||1000 t||2018|
|caustic soda||56.2||1000 t||2018|
|carpets||11 760||1000 m²||2017|
|cotton fabrics||19.7||M m²||2017|
|footwear||35 600 000||pairs||2018|
|beer of barley||3 990||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||0.3||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||212 000||M units||2018|
|cigars and cigarettes||98 539||M units||2016|
|chemical pulp||1 075.108||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 156||1000 t||2017|
|cement||18 900||1000 t||2018|
|sheet glass||101 000||1000 m²||2018|
|chemicals production||6 361.5||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||14 168||M US$||2016|
The trade balance has returned to a slight deficit.
The main trading partners are the EU countries (especially Germany), followed by China, Russia and the US.
The country mainly imports machinery, electronic and chemical products.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017)
vehicles and parts thereof 26 500, machinery and home appliances 25 025, electrical and electronic equipment 17 080, furniture and accessories 12 874, iron and steel 11 347, plastics 10 271, telecommunications equipment 6 890, tyres and rubber articles 5 229, apparel and accessories 5 130, meat 5 090, pharmaceuticals 4 342, timber 4 265, computers and accessories 4 234, technical and electro-medical appliances 4 041
Finance and banking.
The central bank is the Narodowy Bank Polski. The stock exchange is in Warsaw.
|manufactures||80.160||% of goods exports||2018|
|food products||12.886||% of goods exports||2018|
|Germany||73 692||M US$||2018|
|Czechia||16 657||M US$||2018|
|Germany||59 957||M US$||2018|
|China||30 972||M US$||2018|
Tourism. The main destinations are the heritage cities (Warsaw, Cracow) and religious centres (Częstochowa).
Over 40% of tourists come from Germany.
|Expenditures||9 567||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||18 258 000||units||2017|
Media and telecommunication.
In December 2015, a disputed law that provides for the government appointment of public media heads was severely criticized by the opposition and the European Commission.
|Civil aviation, km flown||72 900 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||7 376.9||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||184.783||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||169.3||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education is free and compulsory from 7 to 15 years (primary and lower secondary). Upper secondary schooling, lasting for 3 or 4 years, covers various subjects and paves the way to higher education.
Social security and health.
The social protection system is financed partly by workers and partly by the state. Free healthcare is provided by the state. The number of private clinics is increasing. In 2016, the government introduced the program 500+, which includes economic incentives for families with two or more children, while in 2019, a retirement plan was approved for mothers of four or more children; it does not have any requisites for accessing one’s pension.
|Expected years of schooling||16.4||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||229 490||units||2016|
|Teachers, secondary level||267 777||units||2016|
|Social protection spending||40.5||% of total expenses||2016|
|Social protection spending||21.1||% of GDP||2018|
|Hospital beds||7.5||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Physicians||2.3||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||0.1||% of adults||2014|
|Tuberculosis||17||per 100 000 pop.||2017|
|Museums, visitors||38 124 000||units||2017|
|Research and development spending||1.03||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|