A Profile of the World, 2012

Source: The World Factbook, 2012


  • Age: 4.55 billion years old.
  • Total area: 510.072 million sq km (196.940 million sq mi). Land area: 148.94 million sq km (57.506 million sq mi). Water area: 361.132 million sq km (139.434 million sq mi). Coastline: 356,000 km (221,208 mi). Note: 70.9% of the world is water, 29.1% is land.
  • Land boundaries: 251,060 km (156,262.58 mi.), not counting shared boundaries twice.
  • 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 (29,035 ft) and lowest land depression is the Dead Sea at –411 m (–1,349 ft) below sea level. The greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at –10,924 m (–35,840 ft) in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Land use: Arable land: 10.57%. Permanent crops: 1.04%. Other: 88.39% (2005 est.). Irrigated land: 3,245,556 sq km.

See also Atlas of the World.


  • Population: 7,021,836,029 (July 2012 est.).
  • Growth rate: 1.096% (2012 est.).
  • Birth rate: 19.14 births/1,000 population (2012 est.).
  • Death rate: 7.99 deaths/1,000 population (2012 est.).
  • Sex ratio (at birth): 1.07 males/females (2011 est.).
  • Infant mortality rate: 39.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.).
  • Life expectancy at birth: Total population: 67.59 years. Male: 65.59 years. Female: 69.73 years (2012 est.).
  • Total fertility rate: 2.47 children born per woman (2012 est.).
  • Literacy: Age 15 and over who can read and write (2005 est.). Total population: 83.7%. Male: 88.3%. Female: 79.2% NOTE: More than two-thirds of the world's 793 million illiterate adults are found in only eight countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan); of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women; extremely low literacy rates are concentrated in three regions, the Arab states, South and West Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where around one-third of the men and half of all women are illiterate (2005-09 est.)

Government and Economy

  • Political divisions: 195 sovereign nations, 72 dependent areas, and 6 disputed territories.
  • Economy: In 2011, world output — and per capita income — began to recover from the 2008–09 recession, the first global downturn since 1946. Gross World Product (GWP) grew 3.7%, a slowdown from the 5.2% achieved in 2010. Growth was unevenly distributed: lower income countries — those with per capita incomes below $30,000 per year — averaged 4.1% growth, while higher income countries — with per capita incomes above $30,000 — averaged just 2.2% growth. Among large economies, China (+9.2%), Argentina (+8.9%), India (+7.2%), Nigeria (+7.2%), and Saudi Arabia (+6.8%) recorded the biggest GDP gains — although all were off the pace they set in 2010. Continuing uncertainties in financial markets slowed growth in Spain (+0.7%), Italy (+0.4%), and Greece (-6.9%), while the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster hit Japan (-0.7%). Growth fell below 2% in both the US and the European Union, in part because of growing concern among consumers and investors about the size of government debt and its impact on the direction of fiscal policy. In 2011, global unemployment continued to creep upwards, reaching 9.0% — underemployment, especially in the developing world, remained much higher.
  • GWP/PPP: $79.39 trillion (2011 est.).
  • GWP—real growth rate: 3.7% (2011 est.).
  • GWP/PPP—per capita: $11,900 (2011 est.).
  • GWP composition: agriculture 6%, industry 30.7%, services 63.4% (2011 est.).
  • Inflation rate (consumer price index): developed countries: 3.1%; developing countries: 6.3% (2011 est.). Note: Developed countries 0% to 4% typically; developing countries 5% to 10% typically; national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases; inflation rates have declined for most countries for the last several years, held in check by increasing international competition from several low wage countries, and by soft demand as a result of the world financial crisis.
  • Unemployment rate: 9.1% (2011 est.).
  • Exports: $18.15 trillion (2011 est.).
  • Imports: $17.94 trillion (2011 est.).
  • External debt: $69.05 trillion (2011 est.)

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