The World Factbook

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The World Factbook
Worldfactbook.jpg


The World Factbook 2008 (government edition) cover.

Author Central Intelligence Agency
Language English
Genre(s) almanac about the countries of the world
Publisher Directorate of Intelligence[1]
Released {{{release_date}}}
ISBN see the list of ISBN numbers

The World Factbook (ISSN 1553-8133; also known as the CIA World Factbook)[2] is an annual publication of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The Factbook provides a two- to three-page summaries of the demographics, geography, communications, government, economy, and military of 266[3] 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.[4] However, it is frequently used as a resource for research papers and Web sites.[5] As a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain.[6]

Although the book title is "factbook" and readers tend to perceive the World Factbook as a simple book of facts and statistics, these "facts" may reflect the political perspectives of the U.S. government in its treatment of disputed areas.

Contents

Factbook sources

In researching the Factbook, the CIA uses the sources listed below. Other public and private sources are also consulted.[4]

  • 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)
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs
  • Defense Intelligence Agency (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)
  • US Board on Geographic Names (Department of the Interior)
  • US Transportation Command (Department of Defense)
  • Oil & Gas Journal

Copyright

The World Factbook website as it appeared in January 2008

Because the Factbook is in the public domain, people are free to redistribute and modify it in any way that they like, without permission of the CIA.[4] However, the CIA requests that it be cited when the Factbook is used.[6] The official seal of the CIA, however, may not be copied without permission as required by the CIA Act of 1949 (50 U.S.C. section 403m). Misuse of the official seal of the CIA could result in civil and criminal penalties.[7]

Frequency of updates and availability

Before November 2001, The World Factbook website was updated yearly.[8] Since then, the Factbook website is updated every two weeks; the print edition is still updated annually.[8] Generally, information currently available as of January 1 of the current year[9] is used in preparing the printed Factbook, which is released around the middle of each year.[8]

Government edition of the Factbook

The first classified edition of Factbook was published in August 1962 and the first unclassified version in June 1971.[10] The World Factbook has been available to the public in print since 1975[10] and on the World Wide Web since October 1994.[11] The Web version gets an average of 6 million visits per month;[5] it can also be downloaded.[12] The official printed version is sold[13] at cost by the Government Printing Office and National Technical Information Service. In past years, the Factbook was available on CD-ROM,[14] microfiche, magnetic tape, and floppy disk.[15]

Reprints

Many Internet sites use information and images from the CIA World Factbook.[16] Several publishers, including Grand River Books, Potomac Books (formerly known as Brassy's Inc.),[17] and Skyhorse Publishing[18] have re-published the factbook in recent years.

Entities in the Factbook

As of February 2008, The World Factbook consists of 266 entities.[3] These entities can be divided into categories.[3] They are:

Independent countries
This category has independent countries, which the CIA defines as people "politically organized into a sovereign state with a definite territory".[3] In this category, there are 194 entities.
Others
The Other category is a list of other places set apart from the list of independent countries. Currently there are two: Taiwan and the European Union.
Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty
This category is a list of places affiliated with another country. They may be subdivided into categories using the country they are affiliated with:
  • Australia: six entities
  • China: two entities
  • Denmark: two entities
  • France: nine entities
  • Netherlands: two entities
  • New Zealand: three entities
  • Norway: three entities
  • United Kingdom: seventeen entities
  • United States: fourteen entities
Miscellaneous
This category is for Antarctica and places in dispute. There are six entities.
Other entities
This category is for the World and the oceans. There are five oceans and the World (the World entry is intended as a summary of the other 265 entries).[5]

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,[19] but other areas of the world whose status is disputed, such as the Spratly Islands, have entries.[19][20] Subnational areas of countries (such as US 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 good encyclopedia" for their reference needs.[21] This criterion was invoked in the 2007 edition with the decision to drop the entries for French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion. They were dropped because besides being overseas departments, they were now overseas regions, and an integral part of France.[22]

Kashmir
Maps depicting Kashmir have the India–Pakistan border drawn at the Line of Control, but the region of Kashmir administered by China drawn in hash marks.[23]
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."[24]
Taiwan/Republic of China
Taiwan has a separate entry not listed under T, but at the bottom of the list.[25] The name "Republic of China" is not listed as Taiwan's "official name" under the "Government" section,[26] due to U.S. acknowledgement of Beijing's and Taipei's One-China policy according to which there is one China and Taiwan is a part of it.[27] The name "Republic of China" was briefly added on January 27, 2005,[28] but has since been changed back to "none".[26] The map of the Peoples Republic of China on the World Factbook shows Taiwan included on the map of China.[29]
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 "Burma." This is done because the name change "was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma." As a result, the US government has never adopted the name Myanmar.[30]
Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia is entered as Macedonia,[31] the name used in its first entry in the Factbook upon independence in 1992.[32] In the 1994 edition, the name of the entry was changed to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as a result of the Macedonia naming dispute with Greece, which objected to the use of the name "Macedonia".[33] For the next decade, this was the name the nation was listed under. Finally, in the 2004 edition of the Factbook, the name of the entry was changed back to Macedonia following a November 2004 US decision to refer to the country using this name.[34][35]
European Union
On December 16, 2004, the CIA added an entry for the European Union (EU).[36] (Before this date, the EU was excluded from the Factbook.[37] According to the CIA, the European Union was added because the EU "continues to accrue more nation-like characteristics for itself".[27]
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.[38] 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.[39] As with the new United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges entry, the old entries for these five islands remained as redirects on the website.[40] 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.[41]
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.[32] In doing this, the CIA listed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, proclaimed in 1992, as Serbia and Montenegro, as the U.S. did not recognize the union between the two republics.[42][43] This was done in accordance with a May 21, 1992, decision[44] by the U.S. not to recognize any of the former Yugoslav republics[45] as successor states to the recently dissolved SFRY.
A map of Yugoslavia from the 2000 edition of The World Factbook.[46] Notice how the disclaimer is printed in the upper right hand corner. One can see how the capital cities of both republics are individually labeled on the map.

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.[47]

Montenegro and Serbia were treated separately in the Factbook data, as can be seen on the map.[48] In October 2000, Slobodan Milošević was forced out of office after a disputed election.[49] This event led to democratic elections and U.S. diplomatic recognition. The 2001 edition of the Factbook thus referred to the state as Yugoslavia.[50] On March 14, 2002, an agreement was signed to transform the FRY into a loose state union called Serbia and Montenegro;[51] it took effect on February 4, 2003.[52] The name of the Yugoslavia entity was altered in the Factbook the month after the change.[53]

Kosovo
On February 28, 2008, the CIA added an entry for Kosovo;[54] before this, Kosovo was excluded in the Factbook.[19] The Kosovo declaration of independence is disputed by Serbia,[55] which continues to regard Kosovo as its own territory, and other countries.
East Timor/Timor-Leste
On July 19, 2007, the entry for East Timor was renamed Timor-Leste following a decision of the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN).[56]

Factual

Before 1998, the United Kingdom profile contained a sentence that asserted the UK had gained independence on 1 January 1801.[57] This terse, confusing description in reference to the Act of Union 1801 has since been greatly expanded.[58]

ISBN numbers

This is a list of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for the Government edition[59] of The World Factbook. ISBNs for the Potomac Books and Skyhorse Publishing reprints of the Factbook are noted as well. For the reprint editions, the year of the data is in parentheses.

government editions
Potomac Books reprints
Skyhorse Publishing reprints

Notes

This article contains material from the CIA World Factbook which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

  1. Central Intelligence Agency. [1]. quote: "The World Factbook is produced by CIA's Directorate of Intelligence. The Factbook is a comprehensive resource of facts and statistics on more than 250 countries and other entities." Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  2. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook - Notes and Definitions: Entities. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html'. quote: "Independent state" refers to a people politically organized into a sovereign state with a definite territory. * * * There are a total of 266 separate geographic entities in The World Factbook that may be categorized as follows…. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  3. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook - Contributors and Copyright Information. [2]. quote: The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US Government officials, and the style, format, coverage, and content are designed to meet their specific requirements. Information is provided by … other public and private sources. The Factbook is in the public domain. Accordingly, it may be copied freely without permission of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  4. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Central Intelligence Agency, 2006-04-05, CIA World Factbook 2006 Now Available. quote: The World Factbook remains the CIA's most widely disseminated and most popular product, now averaging almost 6 million visits each month. In addition, tens of thousands of government, commercial, academic, and other Web sites link to or replicate the online version of the Factbook. * * * Included among the 271 geographic entries is one for the "World," which incorporates data and other information summarized where possible from the other 270 country listings. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  5. 6.0 6.1 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can I use some or all of The World Factbook for my Web site (book, research project, homework, etc.)? quote: The World Factbook is in the public domain and may be used freely by anyone at anytime without seeking permission.* * * As a courtesy, please cite The World Factbook when used. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  6. Central Intelligence Agency. Use of the Central Intelligence Agency Seal quote: Federal law prohibits use of the words "Central Intelligence Agency," the initials "CIA," the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency, or any colorable imitation of such words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  7. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How often is The World Factbook updated? quote: Formerly our Web site (and the published Factbook) were only updated annually. Beginning in November 2001 we instituted a new system of more frequent online updates. The World Factbook is currently updated every two weeks. The annual printed version of the Factbook is usually released about midyear. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  8. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Notes and Definitions: Date of information quote: In general, information available as of 1 January 2007 was used in the preparation of this edition. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  9. 10.0 10.1 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook—History, [3] quote: The first classified Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version was published in June 1971. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  10. Jill Young Miller, "CIA puts data on the internet." Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel December 12, 1994.
  11. Central Intelligence Agency. CIA Download Page. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  12. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Purchasing Information quote: Other users may obtain sales information about printed copies from the following: Superintendent of Documents...National Technical Information Service. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  13. Directorate of Intelligence. 1999 | url = The World Factbook 1999 - Purchasing Information (mirror). quote: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prepares The World Factbook in printed, CD-ROM, and Internet versions. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  14. Directorate of Intelligence. Publication Information for The World Factbook 1995 (mirror) |date= 1995 | url = [4]. quote: This publication is also available in microfiche, magnetic tape, or computer diskettes. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  15. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): I am using the Factbook online and it is not working. What is wrong? quote: Hundreds of “Factbook” look-alikes exist on the Internet. The Factbook site at: www.cia.gov is the only official site. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  16. Potomac Books. The World Factbook 2008 CIA's 2007 Edition [5]. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  17. Skyhorse Publishing. CIA World Factbook 2008, The [6]. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  18. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why don’t you include information on entities such as Tibet or Kashmir? quote: Also included in the Factbook are entries on parts of the world whose status has not yet been resolved (e.g., West Bank, Spratly Islands). Specific regions within a country or areas in dispute among countries are not covered. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  19. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19 Spratly Islands Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  20. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why doesn't The World Factbook include information on states, departments, provinces, etc., in the country format? quote: The World Factbook provides national-level information on countries, territories, and dependencies, but not subnational administrative units within a country. A good encyclopedia should provide state/province-level information. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  21. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why has The World Factbook dropped the four French departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, and French Guiana? quote: The reason the four entities are no longer in The World Factbook is because their status has changed. While they are overseas departments of France, they are also now recognized as French regions, having equal status to the 22 metropolitan regions that make up European France. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  22. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19, China (map) [7]. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  23. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why are the Golan Heights not shown as part of Israel or Northern Cyprus with Turkey? quote: Territorial occupations/annexations not recognized by the United States Government are not shown on US Government maps. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  24. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook ]https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/countrylisting.html#z Country Listing]. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  25. 26.0 26.1 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook. 2006-09-19, Taiwan Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  26. 27.0 27.1 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why are Taiwan and the European Union listed out of alphabetical order at the end of the Factbook entries? quote: Taiwan is listed after the regular entries because even though the mainland People's Republic of China claims Taiwan, elected Taiwanese authorities de facto administer the island and reject mainland sovereignty claims. * * * The European Union (EU) is not a country, but it has taken on many nation-like attributes and these are likely to be expanded in the future. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  27. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2005-01-27, Taiwan (mirror). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  28. CIA World Factbook -China entry.
  29. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19, Burma quote: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  30. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook. 2006-09-19, Macedonia Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  31. 32.0 32.1 Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 1992 - Notes, Definitions, and Abbreviations, [8]. quote: Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia have replaced Yugoslavia. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  32. Directorate of Intelligence. 1994. The World Factbook 1994 - Notes, Definitions, and Abbreviations. [9]. quote: The name of Macedonia was changed to The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  33. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2004-11-30, Macedonia (mirror). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  34. Staff reporter, US snubs Greece over Macedonia. BBC News, 2004-11-04, quote: Greece has protested strongly at a decision by the US to refer to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) simply as "Macedonia." Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  35. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19, European Union Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  36. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook Why doesn't The World Factbook include information on states, departments, provinces, the European Union, etc., in the country format? (mirror). quote: The World Factbook provides national-level information on countries, territories, and dependencies, but not on subnational administrative units within a country or supranational entities like the European Union. }} Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  37. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19, United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  38. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2006-09-19, Iles Eparses (mirror) Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  39. For an example of a redirect, see what happens with the profile for Juan de Nova Island (mirror). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  40. Directorate of Intelligence. 2007-07-19, CIA - The World Factbook 2007: What's New. quote: The five former entities of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island, previously grouped as Iles Eparses (Scattered Islands), now constitute a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  41. Department of State. Serbia and Montenegro (08/99) (See Yugoslavia) August 1999, [http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/s/12685.htm quote: (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.) Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  42. Directorate of Intelligence. 1992 CIA World Factbook: Serbia and Montenegro (mirror) [10]. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  43. Department of State. "Chiefs of Mission by Country, 1778-2005: Serbia and Montenegro." quote: On May 21, 1992, the United States announced that it did not recognize the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was composed of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro, as a successor state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  44. Mary Jo White, 767 Third Avenue Associates v. United States: BRIEF FOR AMICUS CURIAE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SUPPORTING APPELLEES AND SUPPORTING AFFIRMANCE IN PART AND REVERSAL IN PART. 2000. [11]. format = MS Word . quote: Since 1992, the United States has taken the position that the SFRY has ceased to exist, that there is no state representing the continuation of the SFRY, and that five successors have arisen—the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (“FRY(S&M)”), the Republic of Slovenia ("Slovenia"), the Republic of Croatia ("Croatia"), the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina ("Bosnia-Herzegovina"), and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ("FYROM"). Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  45. Directorate of Intelligence. CIA World Factbook 2000 Country Maps (mirror) [12] Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  46. Directorate of Intelligence. CIA—The World Factbook 1999—Serbia and Montenegro (mirror) 1999 [13]. quote: Serbia and Montenegro have asserted the formation of a joint independent state, but this entity has not been formally recognized as a state by the US. The US view is that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) has dissolved and that none of the successor republics represents its continuation. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  47. For an example, see the profile for the FRY in the 1999 World Factbook. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  48. Staff reporter, Kostunica sworn in as president of Yugoslavia. CNN.com, 2000-10-07. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  49. Directorate of Intelligence. CIA—The World Factbook 2001, http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/wofact2001/docs/notes.html Notes and Definitions]. quote: The entity of Serbia and Montenegro is now officially known as Yugoslavia. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  50. Staff reporter, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1872070.stm Yugoslav partners sign historic deal[. BBC News, 2002-03-14, quote: Serbia and Montenegro have signed an accord which will consign the name Yugoslavia to history and shelve any immediate plans for Montenegrin independence. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  51. Staff reporter, Yugoslavia consigned to history. BBC News, 2003-02-04, quote: From now on it will be called just Serbia and Montenegro - the two remaining republics joined in a loose union. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  52. Directorate of Intelligence. 2003-03-19 CIA - The World Factbook 2002: What's new (mirror) quote: Yugoslavia has been renamed Serbia and Montenegro as of 4 February 2003. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  53. Directorate of Intelligence. The World Factbook 2008-02-28, Kosovo. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  54. CTV.ca. Kosovo's parliament declares independence . 2008-02-17. accessdate 2008-08-24. quote: Serbia opposes the declaration of independence* * *. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  55. Directorate of Intelligence. 2007-07-19, CIA - The World Factbook 2007: What's New . quote: The US Board on Geographic Names (BGN) now recognizes Timor-Leste as the short form name for East Timor* * * . Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  56. Directorate of Intelligence (1996). The World Factbook - United Kingdom (mirror). Retrieved September 23, 2006. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  57. Directorate of Intelligence (2006-09-19). The World Factbook - United Kingdom. Retrieved November 13, 2008.
  58. The ISBN for each edition can be found on the Government Printing Office Bookstore website. Retrieved November 13, 2008.

References

External links

All links retrieved November 13, 2008.

1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

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