August 4, 2017

The “Military expenditures” (as a percent of GDP) entry has been updated to include 2016 data for most countries of the world.

July 28, 2017

This western Pacific island, a territory of the United States, lies about two thirds of the way from Hawaii to the east and the Northern Mariana Islands to the west. The island is administered by the US Air Force, which uses it as a mid-Pacific refueling stop and as an emergency landing area. Can you name this important US possession? Consult the political or physical Oceania maps (under the References tab>Regional and World Maps) to determine the answer.

July 21, 2017

If it’s 3pm in the US capital of Washington, DC, what time is it in Japan’s principal city of Tokyo? The answer can be found in two different ways. First, by going to the Government section of the Japan entry and checking out the “Capital” entry. One of the subfields lists the ‘time difference’ between the capitals. The other way of finding the answer is to consult the Standard Time Zones of the World map under the References tab>Regional and World Maps.

July 14, 2017

The present-day cities of Chennai and Mumbai are located in a country that was once considered the “Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire. Can you name the country and the former names of the two cities? Find the answers in Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names.

July 7, 2017

This island was once inhabited by pirates and has gone by various names over the centuries including: Isla de Cotorras (Isle of Parrots), Isla de Tesoros (Treasure Island), Isla de Pinos (Isle of Pines), and since 1978 Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth). Can you name the country that owns the island and where it is located? Consult Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names (under the letter ‘J’) to come up with the answers.

June 30, 2017

Expansion of the “Constitution” entry under the ‘Government’ category continues with the inclusion of a summary description of the procedure for amending a country’s constitution. Expanded entries are now available for the African countries as well as the previously completed entries for the European, Middle Eastern, and South and Central Asian countries. In coming weeks, amending procedures will be added for the remaining regions of the world.

June 23, 2017

The Red Sea, which forms the western shore of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water due to high rates of evaporation. Can you name the eight countries that border the Red Sea? Locate the answers by consulting the political map of the Middle East under the References tab>Regional and World Maps. (Note that the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba are both part of the Red Sea.)

June 16, 2017

Energy data have been updated for all countries with the most recent information available.

June 9, 2017

All of the Economy data and Economic Overview discussions covering the period through yearend 2016 have been updated for all countries with the most recent information available.

June 2, 2017

The "Military expenditures" (as a percent of GDP) entry was recently updated and now includes data at least up to 2015 for as many countries as possible.

May 25, 2017

A new set of "Population distribution" fields - describing the dispersion of the populace within a country - has been included for all of the countries of South and Southeast Asia under both the ‘Geography’ and 'People & Society' categories. The countries of the Western Hemisphere, Europe, North Africa, Central Asia, and Southwest Asia were previously introduced; additional areas of the world will be added in coming weeks.

May 16, 2017

The World Factbook continues to expand the “Constitution” entry under the ‘Government’ category, with the addition of a summary description of the procedure for amending a country’s constitution. This expanded entry is now available for the Middle Eastern and the South and Central Asian countries, and for the previously completed European countries. In coming weeks, amending procedures will be added for the remaining regions of the world.

May 11, 2017

About 90% of the population is located in the middle third of this South American country around its capital of Santiago (the northern third is mostly desert, while the southern third is mountainous and breaks up into a series of archipelagos). Can you name the country? Check the physical map of South America under the References tab>Regional and World Maps if you need help.

April 26, 2017

This country is considered to be the smallest on the continent of Asia. Its distinctive flag depicts a cedar tree, a national symbol dating back to Biblical times. Can you name the country?

April 20, 2017

The world's highest navigable lake lies in the central portion of the Andes mountain chain of South America and is divided between two countries. Can you name the lake - South America's largest - and the two countries that share it? Locate the answers by consulting the physical map of South America under the References tab>Regional and World Maps.

April 12, 2017

The island of Borneo - the third-largest island in the world - lies in the far western part of the Pacific Ocean and is politically divided among three countries. Can you name them? Find the answer by consulting any one of a number of maps under the References tab, including maps of Asia, Southeast Asia, or the World. Or, you can visit the World entry, Geography category, 'Area - comparative' field and find the listing of the Top Ten Largest Islands. This field also lists the countries that govern these islands, as well as the islands' size in square kilometers.

April 6, 2017

The islands that make up this Caribbean country refer to themselves as the "Gems of the Antilles." Can you name them? Hint: the distinctive tricolor flag of the country displays three diamonds (representing gems).

March 30, 2017

What country has the world's highest life expectancy at birth? Find out the surprising answer by checking the Guide to Country Comparisons page under the References tab, then clicking on People and Society>Life expectancy at birth.

March 23, 2017

An exclave is a distinct territorial unit that is politically part of a larger country but not physically attached to it because of surrounding foreign territory. Angola has an exclave that is surrounded by both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. Can you name this distinctive northern Angolan province? Locate the answer on the map of Africa (References tab>Regional and World Maps>Political Africa PDF).

March 16, 2017

The Laccadive Sea is part of what ocean? Find the answer in Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names. Then go to the References tab>Regional and World Maps to locate a map showing the exact location of the sea.

March 9, 2017

The World Factbook's "World" entry contains a wealth of fascinating and useful information - including many Top Tens - not found in a typical country entry. For example, the world's ten highest mountains (measured from sea level) are all in Asia but are located in just four countries. Find out what these countries are, as well as the names of the highest mountains, by going to World>Geography>Elevation. Be sure to check out the accompanying "note" to find out how these ten mountains are dwarfed by an even greater colossus.

March 2, 2017

There are no less than 21 independent countries that have coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea. Can you name them all? Consulting the 'Africa,' 'Europe,' and 'Middle East' maps under the Regional and World Maps section of the References tab will allow you to come up with the listing. Hint: Don't forget island countries.

February 23, 2017

This South Asian island country has gone by many names in its past including Serendib and Ceylon. Do you know its present designation? Check the Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names (Appendix F) if you need help.

February 13, 2017

This archipelago in the Indian Ocean - consisting of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls - is the smallest independent country in Asia by both land and population. (Spread over 90,000 sq km of ocean, its land area is only 298 sq km.) Can you name this country? Hint: Checking the Guide to Country Comparisons>Geography>Area will lead you to the answer.

February 2, 2017

Most of the world's countries (some 97%) belong to a little-known but very important organization known as the UPU. Do you know what the initials stand for? Find the answer under Appendix B, International Organizations and Groups.

January 26, 2017

The Kingdom of Denmark, one of the smallest countries on the European continent, is also composed of two overseas island components. Can you name them? Consult the regional map of Europe (References tab>Regional and World Maps>Political Europe) to determine the answer.

January 13, 2017

The fields in both the Economy and Energy categories for all countries were recently updated with the latest available data.

January 6, 2017

One might expect Indonesia - with its 13,466 islands - to be the country with the world’s longest coastline, but it actually comes in a distant second to another country far to its north with more (and in many cases far larger) islands. Can you name this country? Consult the Political World map under the References tab to determine the answer.

December 23, 2016

The World Factbook is pleased to present the expansion of the “Constitution” entry under the Government category, with the addition of a summary description of the procedure for amending a country’s constitution. This entry, now available for the European countries, includes two subentries: history, which includes information on the previous and current constitution; and amendments, which describes the constitution-amending procedure, and the dates of the previous and latest amendments. In coming weeks, amending procedures will be added for other regions of the world.

December 16, 2016

The simplest flag types are those that consist of two horizontal bands of color — and nothing else. Four countries have such banners. Can you name them? Consult the Flags of the World under the references tab to help you determine the answer.

December 9, 2016

Do you know what the initials FAO stand for? Look under the References tab, Appendix A: Abbreviations to find out. Then go to Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups to get more information about this agency.

December 2, 2016

Not many people realize it, but nine of the world’s 25 largest countries by land area are in Africa; they are (in alphabetical order) Algeria, Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Mali, Niger, South Africa, and Sudan. Can you sort these countries by decreasing size? Using the Africa map (under the References tab>Regional and World Maps) and the Guide to Country Comparisons (also under the References tab) will allow you to come up with the correct order.

November 23, 2016

A new set of “Population distribution” fields - describing the dispersion of the populace within a country - has been included for all of the countries of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia under both the ‘Geography’ and ‘People & Society’ categories. The countries of the Western Hemisphere and the continent of Europe were previously introduced; additional areas of the world will be added in coming weeks.

November 17, 2016

GDP statistics and other economic indicators have been revised to reflect the best estimates currently available.

November 10, 2016

The data for the various Energy fields have been revised to reflect the best estimates currently available.

November 4, 2016

The Transportation section now includes two new fields related to a country’s air transport program. The lead-off entry “National air transport system” has subdivisions on the number of air carriers registered in a country and the number of aircraft they operate, as well as the number of passengers and the amount of freight they carry in a given year. The other new field, “Civil aircraft registration country code prefix,” describes the codes displayed on civil aircraft to identify nationality.

October 28, 2016

A “Population distribution” field - describing the dispersion of the populace within a country - has been introduced for all of the countries of Europe under both the ‘Geography’ and ‘People & Society’ categories. The countries of the Western Hemisphere were previously introduced; other areas of the world will be added in coming weeks.

October 21, 2016

The statistics for the "Market value of publicly traded shares" have been updated to reflect new information through 2015. Most of the macro economic data have been updated as well.

October 14, 2016

In the People and Society section, a "Demographic profile" field has been added to all 56 countries making up the African continent and its surrounding islands. This entry provides a snapshot of the demographic features and trends within a country and how they vary among regional, ethnic, and socioeconomic sub-populations. Some of the topics addressed are population age structure, fertility, health, mortality, poverty, education, and migration. Countries previously introduced were those of Central and South America. Future profiles will include other regions of the world.

October 7, 2016

There are dozens of monarchies around the world, but only one located in Polynesia in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Can you name this archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited) east of Fiji?

September 30, 2016

All of the “Judicial branch” entries were recently reviewed and many were updated to reflect new information including the establishment of new courts, the expansion of existing courts, and changes to court system administration and policy.

September 23, 2016

The World Factbook is delighted to present a new “Electricity access” field summarizing the extent of access to electricity for a country’s population as a whole, as well as for urban and rural populations. The new entry may be found leading off the Energy section.

September 16, 2016

Various health and education fields in the People and Society section were recently updated, including data for HIV/AIDS, “Health expenditures,” “Hospital bed density,” “Children under 5 underweight,” “Education expenditures,” and “School life expectancy.”

September 8, 2016

The World Factbook is pleased to announce a new “Population distribution” entry describing the dispersion of the populace within a country. This new field will appear in both the Geography section (after “Irrigated land”) and in the People and Society section (after “Net migration rate”). This week’s installment includes all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Additional areas of the world will be added in the coming weeks.

August 26, 2016

The Tuamotu islands are found in what ocean? Check Appendix F, Cross Reference List of Geographic Names, under the Appendices tab, to help you determine the answer.

August 19, 2016

In May of this year Venezuela moved its clocks forward by 30 minutes to help save on energy consumption. The World Factbook recently updated its time zone entries – found in the Government category under “Capital” - to reflect all time zone changes throughout the world.

August 12, 2016

The Mona Passage is a body of water between what two major Caribbean political entities? Find the answer on the Central America and the Caribbean map under the References tab.

August 5, 2016

Brazil, which is hosting the Summer Olympic Games for the next two weeks, is one of three South American countries that straddles the Equator. Can you name the other two?

July 29, 2016

In the Communications category, the “Telephones – fixed lines,” “Telephones – mobile cellular,” and “Internet users” entries were all recently updated with the latest available estimates.

July 22, 2016

A country modifying its name does not occur very often but it did happen recently. Following UN and US State Department notification, the Czech Republic officially changed its English short-form name to Czechia as of 1 July 2016. Where appropriate, this change has been entered into The World Factbook database.

July 15, 2016

Panama is a long, winding country at the southern end of North America that is bisected by the Panama Canal linking the Caribbean Sea, to the country’s north, with the Pacific Ocean, to its south. A recently completed nine-year expansion effort more than doubled the Canal’s capacity. Can you name the North American country that borders Panama on its west, and the South American country that lies to its east?

July 8, 2016

The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, flows through four national capitals. Can you name them? Consulting the regional map of Europe under the References tab will provide the answer.

July 1, 2016

In the Economy category, the statistics for “GDP,” “GDP per capita,” “Gross national saving,” “Inflation rate,” and “Current account balance” were recently updated to reflect the best information available.

June 24, 2016

This month’s concluding ocean-related question. The capital city of Malabo lies on the island of Bioko in what ocean? Check Appendix F, Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names under the Appendices tab to help determine the answer.

June 17, 2016

Another ocean-related quiz question. The Line Islands are found in what ocean? Check Appendix F, Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names under the Appendices tab to determine the answer.

June 10, 2016

Continuing this month’s theme of ocean-related questions. The Andaman Sea is part of what ocean? Check Appendix F, Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names under the Appendices tab to determine the answer.

June 3, 2016

The Arctic Ocean – the world’s smallest ocean – is bordered by only six countries. Can you name them? Check the Arctic Ocean entry and/or the Arctic Region map (under the References tab) to determine the answer.

May 27, 2016

Did you know that The World Factbook is a primary reference used in the National Geographic Society’s Geography Bee? This year’s final, featuring the 54 US state and territory champions – culled from about 2.5 million US students aged 10 to 14, was held this past week in Washington, DC.

May 19, 2016

Composed of 155 islands, this is Africa’s smallest country. By far the largest island is Mahe, home to about 90% of the population and the site of its capital city of Victoria. Can you identify the country on the Africa map (under the References tab)?

May 12, 2016

Did you know that three of the world’s Top Ten Largest Islands are in Canada and three are in Indonesia? To see the complete list of the ten largest islands go to the Geography section of the World listing and scroll to the “Area – comparative” entry. You will also find lots of other Top Tens scattered throughout the World description.

May 6, 2016

The US Board on Geographic Names (BGN) standardizes the spelling and usage of geographic names – foreign and domestic – throughout the US Government. (The World Factbook closely adheres to the BGN’s naming conventions.) The BGN’s geographers refer to a country’s first order (largest) administrative units as ADM1s. For the US, these would be the 50 states and 1 district. In Canada, the ADM1s are the 10 provinces and 3 territories. There is one Central European country, however, that according to the BGN has 212 ADM1s – referred to as municipalities. This total is easily the largest for any nation in the world. You can determine what country this is by checking out the “Administrative divisions” entry (under Government) for the various countries of Central Europe.

April 29, 2016

The Kalahari Desert covers a considerable part of this southern African country formerly known as Bechuanaland. Can you name the country? The physical map of Africa under the References tab shows the location of the Kalahari Desert; looking up Bechuanaland under Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names will reveal the country’s current name.

April 22, 2016

Did you know that the name of Canada derives from the Iroquoian word "kanata" meaning village or settlement, while Mexico’s name derives from the Mexica, the largest and most powerful branch of the Aztecs? The World Factbook has added country name etymologies (historical origins); these descriptions appear in the “Country name” entry under the Government section.

April 15, 2016

Milwaukee Deep, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean (-8,605 meters; -28,230 feet), lies due north of a major Caribbean island. Can you name it? Check the References tab>Regional and World Maps>Central America and the Caribbean map to find the island.

April 8, 2016

The four white, five-pointed stars on this Pacific island nation’s flag represent its four island groups of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. All the islands used to be referred to as the Caroline Islands. Can you come up with the country’s current name? The answer may be found by either referencing the regional map of Oceania under the References tab or by locating Caroline Islands under Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names.

April 1, 2016

Only one country’s flag depicts an actual existing building. Can you name it? Check the References tab>Flags of the World to find the answer. Hint: The country lies in Southeast Asia.

March 17, 2016

Can you name the country that is currently thought to hold the largest proved reserves of crude oil in the world? (The answer may surprise you.) To find out, go to the References tab>Guide to Country Comparisons> Energy>Crude oil – proved reserves.

March 10, 2016

Do you know what country is the least populous on earth? Check the “Population” field under World entry to find out. Hint: It is also the world’s smallest country by size.

February 25, 2016

In the Geography section for all countries, the “Elevation” entry has been expanded to now include subfields for ‘mean elevation’ and ‘elevation extremes’ (including ‘lowest point’ and ‘highest point’).

February 19, 2016

The fields in the Energy category for all countries have been rolled forward one year to include data through 2015.

February 12, 2016

The fields in the Economy section for all countries have been rolled forward one year to include numerical and textual information through 2015.

February 5, 2016

Do you know where the Norman Isles are? Check Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names to find the more common name for the isles, the names of the two main islands, as well as their latitude and longitude.

January 29, 2016

The WHO is a specialized UN agency. Do you know what the initials stand for? When the agency was formed? And what its present membership is? Find the answers in Appendix B.

January 21, 2016

The most common symbols appearing on flags around the world are stars and stripes (horizontal or vertical). Crosses, crescent moons, and triangles are also fairly common. There are only two countries, however, that display the shape of a diamond (also called a rhombus; with all four sides having the same length) on their flag. Can you name these Western Hemisphere countries? Check the References tab>Flags of the World to help you determine the answer.

January 15, 2016

A new “Citizenship” field has been added to the Government section of all countries describing policies related to the acquisition of citizenship and recognition of dual citizenship. The definition for this field (under the References tab>Definitions and Notes) provides additional information regarding the ways citizenship is acquired. Note that for most countries of the world, citizenship is acquired through descent, known as the principal of Jus sanguinis, where parents must be citizens of a country for their children to acquire citizenship in that country.

January 8, 2016

How many countries have laid claim to portions of Antarctica? The answer may be found in the Antarctica entry (under Government>Government type). The regional map of Antarctica (under the References tab>Regional and World Maps>Political Antarctic Region) shows the extent of these claims, which are not recognized by the US and many other countries.

December 30, 2015

Can you name the African country that is more than 96% desert yet supports a population of over 88 million people – the second highest total on the continent? The answer may be ascertained by going to the References tab, clicking on Guide to Country Comparisons>People and Society>Population.

December 17, 2015

In the People and Society section, the “Unemployment – youth ages 15-24” entry has been updated.

December 10, 2015

How many fathoms make up a cable (length)? Check Appendix G: Weights and Measures for the answer!

November 20, 2015

Where applicable, all of the “Constitution” entries were recently updated throughout the Factbook.

November 13, 2015

Under the Transnational Issues > “Refugees and internally displaced persons” field for Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia, estimates have been added for the total number of recently arrived refugees and migrants. While it is impossible to specify how many of these people are refugees or what their country of origins are, these numbers at least present a rough estimate. People will, naturally, continue to keep moving around within Europe and new numbers will arrive, so the totals will be constantly changing. We will update our estimates on at least a monthly basis.

November 6, 2015

All of the entries in the Energy section were recently updated with the latest available data.

October 30, 2015

A link to a special Middle East and North Africa Religious Affiliation chart has been set up in the “Religions” entry for 20 countries ranging from Algeria to Yemen. Check it out.

October 22, 2015

Maritime piracy continues to be a concern in certain areas of the world. While successful pirate attacks have decreased off the East African coast, they have become more widespread off West Africa. Attacks in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea also persist. Further details addressing piracy may be found in the "Transportation note" under the World entry, as well as under various countries bordering the Indian Ocean, and entries for Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

October 16, 2015

Can you name the Polynesian island nation that owns the Internet top level domain extension of “.tv”? Consult Appendix D: Cross-Reference List of Country Data Codes and check under the “T” countries for the answer.

October 9, 2015

The Standard Time Zones of the World map was recently updated. Check it out by going to the Regional and World Maps page and scrolling down, or click here to pull up a PDF (3534KB) version.

October 2, 2015

There is a unique large body of water in northern South America that is connected to the Gulf of Venezuela (Golfo de Venezuela) and ultimately the Caribbean Sea by the 5.5 km- (3.4 mi-) wide Tablazo Strait. Although its water is brackish and it is often thought of as a bay, this feature is frequently referred to as a lake. If so considered, it becomes South America’s largest lake (or lago in Spanish). Can you name it? The “lake” can easily be spotted on The World Factbook’s Central America and the Caribbean regional reference map.

September 25, 2015

Area comparison maps are now available for about half of the countries in The World Factbook! To see the relative size of a country shown superimposed over part of the US, go to the Geography section and check under “Area – comparative” (the fifth geography entry). Eventually, all country descriptions will include these useful and popular maps.

September 18, 2015

This month marks the 125th anniversary of the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN), an interagency body that standardizes and approves geographic names of domestic, foreign, Antarctic, and undersea features for Federal Government use. The place name spellings used throughout The World Factbook are those approved by the BGN.

September 11, 2015

In the People and Society category, the fields for "HIV/AIDS," "Drinking water source," and "Sanitation facility access" were recently updated with the latest available data.

September 2, 2015

The “Executive branch” entries for all countries were recently expanded. The subentry ‘elections’ has been replaced with ‘elections/appointments,’ and now includes more detailed information on the selection process for the ‘chief of state’ and ‘head of government’ subentries. The subentry ‘election results’ now includes the name or abbreviation of each candidate’s political party affiliation.

August 27, 2015

On 15 August 2015, North Korea changed its time zone by half an hour to the same time as it used over a century ago. To find out how the change relates to South Korean time, go to the Government section for each of the countries and check the “Capital” entry. Here you can find the time difference in the capital cities compared to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

August 20, 2015

In the Transportation category, the “Railways” entry has been updated where possible with the latest available figures from 2014. In addition to the total lengths for trackways, lengths for the different types of rail gauges (broad, standard, and narrow) are also presented.

August 13, 2015

In the People and Society section, the fields for “Urbanization” and “Major urban areas – population” were recently updated with data for 2015.

August 7, 2015

In the Communications category, the entries for “Telephones – mobile cellular”, “Telephones – fixed lines”, and “Internet users” have been updated with the latest available estimates.

July 31, 2015

The US dollar is the official currency not only for the United States, but for several other countries around the world including three Pacific Island nations. Can you name them? Hint: all three were part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under US administration after World War II and attained independence between 1986 and 1994.

July 24, 2015

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a group of four countries that form a common market but which do not belong to the 28-nation European Union (EU). Nonetheless, all four members operate closely with the EU and participate in its single market. Can you name the four member states? The answer may be found in Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups.

July 17, 2015

Several important demographic indicators, including “Total population,” “Population growth rate,” “Life expectancy,” “Total fertility rate,” “Birth rate,” “Death rate,” and “Net migration rate,” have been updated with 2015 estimates.

July 10, 2015

How many emirates make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Find the answer in the United Arab Emirates entry under Government>Administrative divisions.

July 2, 2015

What is the northernmost country in the world: Denmark, Canada, Russia, or Norway? Check the Regional and World Maps page > Political Arctic Region map to see which of these four countries comes closest to the North Pole.

June 26, 2015

Can you name the seven Western Hemisphere countries – collectively referred to as Central America – that fall between Mexico to the north and Colombia to the south? Check your answer by going to the Regional and World Maps page > Political Central America map. Note that five of these countries border both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

June 19, 2015

In the People and Society category, several health- and education-related fields have recently been updated, including “Health expenditures,” “Obesity,” “Literacy,” and “School life expectancy.”

June 12, 2015

Under the Geography category, the “Land use” field has been expanded to include agricultural land, forest land, and ‘other’ land uses. The revised entry also breaks agricultural land into its constituent parts of arable land, land under permanent crops, and land that is in permanent pastures and meadows. The ‘other’ land use grouping includes urban areas, wetlands, and barren land where the climate and soils do not support vegetation.

May 29, 2015

There are dozens of countries whose flags consist of only two colors. Three countries beginning with a ‘T’ have flags with a red-white color combination. Can you name them?

May 22, 2015

Many of the fields in the Economy and Energy categories have been updated with the latest available data. In 2014, based on a comparison of GDP measured at Purchasing Power Parity conversion rates, the US economy, having stood as the largest in the world for more than a century, slipped into second place behind China. China’s growth rate has more than tripled that of the US for each year of the past four decades.

May 15, 2015

In the Government category, the entry for “National symbol(s)” has been expanded to include information on national colors. In most cases these are colors found on the national flag, but this is not always the case. Exceptions include the national colors of Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, and New Zealand.

May 8, 2015

The World Factbook’s “Refugees and internally displaced persons” field has been substantially updated, including the latest developments from Syria and Ukraine. Stay tuned for data, as it becomes available, on displacement stemming from Nepal’s recent earthquake.

April 30, 2015

In the Government category, the first part of the "Legislative branch" field was thoroughly revised, expanded, and updated for all countries under a new "description" heading. This subentry includes the legislative structure, the formal name(s), the number of legislative seats, the types of voting constituencies and voting systems, and the member term of office. A vastly expanded “Legislative branch” description may be found on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab.

April 21, 2015

Last week’s World Factbook's relaunch included the new World Factbook logo in the announcement. The logo features prominently on the 2014-15 World Factbook cover, which may be viewed under the References tab > Gallery of Covers. The artwork incorporates an eagle - echoing the Agency's seal - but one with a monocle to provide a scholarly appearance, as well as a stylized globe.

April 13, 2015

The World Factbook has been updated with several new entries and sections reflecting the latest information gathered over the past several months. Some of these additions will be described below and in What's New statements in the coming weeks.

In the Geography section, the "Land boundaries" entry was revised for all countries, including the total country border length as well as the border lengths for all neighboring countries.
[Click here for more details]

August 15, 2014

What country has the highest life expectancy in the world? Under the References tab go to the Guide to Country Comparisons and click on the People and Society category and find the "Life expectancy at birth" entry. One more click will give you the answer.

July 10, 2014

Can you name the largest country in Central America - which also contains the largest freshwater lake in Central America? Check the Regional and World Maps under the References tab to find the answer.

June 26, 2014

There are dozens of monarchies scattered about the globe, but only one of them falls in the Pacific region (Oceania). Can you name this archipelagic country? Hint: It lies in western Polynesia and was formerly referred to as the Friendly Islands. Its capital is Nuku'alofa, which translates as "the abode of love."

June 19, 2014

Many people don't realize it, but the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has been around for more than nine decades (founded 1923). How many countries are members? Check Appendix B – International Organizations and Groups to find out.

June 12, 2014

Did you know that the South African national anthem employs the lyrics of five different languages? Check out the "National anthem" entry under South Africa's Government category to find out more details.

June 5, 2014

In the People and Society section, the “Urbanization,” “Major urban areas – population,” and “Mother’s mean age at first birth” fields were recently updated.

May 29, 2014

In the People and Society section, the "Dependency ratios" entries - including the youth dependency ratio, the elderly dependency ratio, and the total dependency ratio - have been updated with 2014 estimated data for all countries.

May 15, 2014

Did you know that there are freshwater lakes in the Sahara? Check out the "Geography - note" in the Chad entry to get more info.

May 8, 2014

Ceylon, Dahomey, and French Somaliland are former names for what countries? Answers may be found in Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names, under the Appendices tab.

April 30, 2014

Do you know what country is the largest electricity producer in the world? Click on the References tab, Guide to Country Comparisons - then go to Energy> "Electricity - production" to find out.

April 17, 2014

Can you name the world's largest country composed solely of islands? Hint: 17,508 islands make up this Asian archipelago; some 6,000 are inhabited.

April 10, 2014

The equator passes through seven African countries, can you name them? Hint: check the various World Factbook maps that show Africa to come up with the answer.

April 3, 2014

Dozens of new photos have been uploaded for various Central American and Caribbean nations, most notably Anguilla, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico.