• Introduction :: World
  • Background:
    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).
  • Geography :: World
  • Geographic overview:

    The surface of the earth is approximately 70.9% water and 29.1% land. The former portion is divided into large bodies termed oceans. The World Factbook recognizes and describes five oceans, which are in decreasing order of size: the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, and Arctic Ocean. Because of their immense size, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are generally divided at the equator into the North and South Pacific Oceans and the North and South Atlantic Oceans, thus creating seven major water bodies - the so-called "Seven Seas."

    Some 97.5% of the earth's water is saltwater. Of the 2.5% that is fresh, about two-thirds is frozen mostly locked up in the Antarctic ice sheets and mountain glaciers worldwide. If all the surface ice on earth fully melted, the sea level would rise about 70 m.

    Earth's land portion is generally divided into several, large, discrete landmasses termed continents. Depending on the convention used, the number of continents can vary from five to seven. The most common classification recognizes seven, which are (from largest to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. Asia and Europe are sometimes lumped together into a Eurasian continent resulting in six continents. Alternatively, North and South America are sometimes grouped as simply the Americas, resulting in a continent total of six (or five, if the Eurasia designation is used).

    North America is commonly understood to include the island of Greenland, the isles of the Caribbean, and to extend south all the way to the Isthmus of Panama. The easternmost extent of Europe is generally defined as being the Ural Mountains and the Ural River; on the southeast the Caspian Sea; and on the south the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean. Portions of five countries - Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey - fall within both Europe and Asia, but in every instance the larger section is in Asia. These countries are considered part of both continents. Armenia and Cyprus, which lie completely in Western Asia, are geopolitically European countries.

    Asia usually incorporates all the islands of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The islands of the Pacific are often lumped with Australia into a "land mass" termed Oceania or Australasia. Africa's northeast extremity is frequently delimited at the Isthmus of Suez, but for geopolitical purposes, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula is often included as part of Africa.

    Although the above groupings are the most common, different continental dispositions are recognized or taught in certain parts of the world, with some arrangements more heavily based on cultural spheres rather than physical geographic considerations.

    Based on the seven-continent model, and grouping islands with adjacent continents, Africa has the most countries with 54. Europe contains 49 countries and Asia 48, but these two continents share five countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey. North America consists of 23 sovereign states, Oceania has 14, and South America 12.

    countries by continent: Africa (54): Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe;

    Europe (49): Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan*, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia*, Germany, Greece, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan*, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia*, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey*, Ukraine, United Kingdom (* indicates part of the country is also in Asia);

    Asia (48): Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan*, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Georgia*, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan*, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia*, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey*, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen (* indicates part of the country is also in Europe);

    North America (23): Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States;

    Oceania (14): Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu;

    South America (12): Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

    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: 155,557,000 Pacific Ocean; 76,762,000 Atlantic Ocean; 68,556,000 Indian Ocean; 20,327,000 Southern Ocean; 17,098,242 Russia; 14,056,000 Arctic Ocean; 14,000,000 Antarctica; 9,984,670 Canada; 9,826,675 United States; 9,596,960 China; 8,515,770 Brazil; 7,741,220 Australia; 4,324,782 European Union; 3,287,263 India; 2,780,400 Argentina

    top ten largest water bodies: 155,557,000 Pacific Ocean; 76,762,000 Atlantic Ocean; 68,556,000 Indian Ocean; 20,327,000 Southern Ocean; 14,056,000 Arctic Ocean; 4,184,100 Coral Sea; 3595900 South China Sea; 2,834,000 Caribbean Sea; 2,520,000 Bering Sea; 2,469,000 Mediterranean Sea

    top ten largest landmasses: 44,568,500 Asia; 30,065,000 Africa; 24,473,000 North America; 17,819,000 South America; 14,000,000 Antarctica; 9,948,000 Europe; 7,741,220 Australia; 2,166,086 Greenland; 785,753 New Guinea; 751,929 Borneo

    top ten largest islands: 2,166,086 Greenland; 785,753 New Guinea (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea); 751,929 Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia); 587,713 Madagascar; 507,451 Baffin Island (Canada); 472,784 Sumatra (Indonesia); 227,963 Honshu (Japan); 217,291 Victoria Island (Canada); 209,331 Great Britain (United Kingdom); 196,236 Ellesmere Island (Canada)

    ten smallest independent countries: 0.44 Holy See (Vatican City); 2 Monaco; 21 Nauru; 26 Tuvalu; 61 San Marino; 160 Liechtenstein; 181 Marshall Islands; 261 Saint Kitts and Nevis; 298 Maldives; 316 Malta

    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, Czechia, Eswatini, 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, 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

    tremendous variation of terrain on each of the continents; check the World 'Elevation' entry for a compilation of terrain extremes; the world's ocean floors are marked by mid-ocean ridges while the ocean surfaces form a dynamic, continuously changing environment; check the 'Terrain' field and its 'major surface currents' subfield under each of the five ocean (Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern) entries for further information on oceanic environs

    mean elevation: 840 m
    elevation extremes: -2,555 m lowest point: Bentley Subglacial Trench (Antarctica) (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

    highest capital on each continent: South America - La Paz (Bolivia) 3,640 m; Africa - Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2,355 m; Asia - Thimphu (Bhutan) 2,334 m; North America - Mexico City (Mexico) 2,240 m; Europe - Andorra la Vella (Andorra) 1,023 m; Australia - Canberra (Australia) 605 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

    lowest capital on each continent: Asia - Baku (Azerbaijan) -28 m; Europe - Amsterdam (Netherlands) -2 m; Africa - Banjul (Gambia); Bissau (Guinea-Bissau), Conakry (Guinea), Djibouti (Djibouti), Libreville (Gabon), Male (Maldives), Monrovia (Liberia), Tunis (Tunisia), Victoria (Seychelles) 0 m; North America - Basseterre (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Kingstown (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Panama City (Panama), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), Roseau (Dominica), Saint John's (Antigua and Barbuda), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) 0 m; South America - Georgetown (Guyana) 0 m; Australia - Canberra (Australia) 605 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 pose serious long-term problems
    Irrigated land:
    3,242,917 sq km (2012 est.)
    Population distribution:
    six of the world's seven continents are widely and permanently inhabited; Asia is easily the most populous continent with about 60% of the world's population (China and India together account for over 35%); Africa comes in second with over 15% of the earth's populace, Europe has about 10%, North America 8%, South America almost 6%, and Oceania less than 1%; the harsh conditions on Antarctica prevent any permanent habitation
    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); see second note under "Geography - note"

    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 biodiversity; soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion; ozone layer depletion; waste disposal; global warming becoming a greater concern
    Geography - note:

    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

    note: although earthquakes can strike anywhere at any time, the vast majority occur in three large zones of the earth; the world's greatest earthquake belt, the Circum-Pacific Belt (popularly referred to as the Ring of Fire), is the zone of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; about 90% of the world's earthquakes (81% of the largest earthquakes) and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire; the belt extends northward from Chile, along the South American coast, through Central America, Mexico, the western US, southern Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, to Japan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, island groups in the southwestern Pacific, and New Zealand

    the second prominent belt, the Alpide, extends from Java to Sumatra, northward along the mountains of Burma, then eastward through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic Ocean; it accounts for about 17% of the world's largest earthquakes; the third important belt follows the long Mid-Atlantic Ridge

  • People and Society :: World
  • Population:
    7,405,107,650 (2017 est.)
    top ten most populous countries (in millions): China 1379.3; India 1281.93; United States 326.63; Indonesia 260.58; Brazil 207.35; Pakistan 204.92; Nigeria 190.63; Bangladesh 157.83; Russia 142.26; Japan 126.45;

    ten least populous countries: Holy See (Vatican City) 1,000; Montserrat 5,292; Saint Pierre and Miquelon 5,533; Saint Barthelemy 7,184; Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan de Cunha 7,828; Cook Islands 9,290; Tuvalu 11,052; Nauru 11359; Wallis and Futuna 15,714; Anguilla 17,087;

    ten most densely populated countries (population per sq km): Macau 21,346; Monaco 15,322; Singapore 8,572; Hong Kong 6,702; Gaza Strip 4,987; Gibraltar 4,523; Bahrain 1,857; Maldives 1,318; Malta 1,317; Bermuda 1,312;

    ten least densely populated countries (population per sq km): Greenland less than 1; Mongolia 2; Western Sahara 2.3; Australia 3; Namibia 3; Iceland 3.4; Mauritania 3.6; Guyana 3.7; Libya 3.8; Suriname 3.8


    Mandarin Chinese 12.3%, Spanish 6%, English 5.1%, Arabic 5.1%, Hindi 3.5%, Bengali 3.3%, Portuguese 3%, Russian 2.1%, Japanese 1.7%, Punjabi, Western 1.3%, Javanese 1.1% (2018 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 45% of the world's population, and are the official languages in more than half the states in the world; some 400 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 150 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 (2018)


    Christian 31.4%, Muslim 23.2%, Hindu 15%, Buddhist 7.1%, folk religions 5.9%, Jewish 0.2%, other 0.8%, unaffiliated 16.4%

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 25.44% (male 963,981,944/female 898,974,458) (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 16.16% (male 611,311,930/female 572,229,547) (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 41.12% (male 1,522,999,578/female 1,488,011,505) (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 8.6% (male 307,262,939/female 322,668,546) (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 8.68% (male 283,540,918/female 352,206,092) (2017 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios:
    total dependency ratio: 52.5 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 39.9 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 12.6 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 7.9 (2015 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 30.6 years
    male: 29.9 years
    female: 31.4 years (2018 est.)
    Population growth rate:
    1.06% (2017 est.)

    note: this rate results in about 149 net additions to the worldwide population every minute or 2.5 every second

    Birth rate:
    18.4 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

    note: this rate results in about 259 worldwide births per minute or 4.3 births every second

    Death rate:
    7.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

    note: this rate results in about 108 worldwide deaths per minute or 1.8 deaths every second

    Population distribution:
    six of the world's seven continents are widely and permanently inhabited; Asia is easily the most populous continent with about 60% of the world's population (China and India together account for over 35%); Africa comes in second with over 15% of the earth's populace, Europe has about 10%, North America 8%, South America almost 6%, and Oceania less than 1%; the harsh conditions on Antarctica prevent any permanent habitation
    urban population: 55.3% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2017)
    ten largest urban agglomerations: Tokyo (Japan) - 38,241,000; New Delhi (India) - 27,197,000; Shanghai (China) - 25,202,000; Beijing (China) - 22,063,000; Mumbai (India) - 21,690,000; Sao Paulo (Brazil) - 21,519,000; Mexico City (Mexico) - 21,321,000; Osaka (Japan) - 20,415,000; Cairo (Egypt) - 19,486,000; Dhaka (Bangladesh) - 18,898,000 (2017)
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate:
    216 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    Infant mortality rate:
    total: 32.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    male: 34.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    female: 30.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 69 years (2017 est.)
    male: 67 years (2017 est.)
    female: 71.1 years (2017 est.)
    Total fertility rate:
    2.42 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    Drinking water source:
    improved: urban: 96.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 84.7% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 91.1% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 3.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 15.3% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 8.9% of population (2015 est.)
    Sanitation facility access:
    improved: urban: 82.3% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 50.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 67.7% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 17.7% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 49.5% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 32.3% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    0.8% (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    36.9 million (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    940,000 (2017 est.)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 86.2%
    male: 89.8%
    female: 82.6% (2016 est.)

    note: more than three-quarters of the world's 750 million illiterate adults are found in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; of all the illiterate adults in the world, almost two-thirds are women (2016)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
    total: 12 years (2014)
    male: 12 years (2014)
    female: 12 years (2014)
  • Government :: World
  • Capital:
    there are 21 World entities (20 countries and 1 dependency) with multiple time zones: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, France, Greenland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Russia, Spain, United States
    note: in some instances, the time zones pertain to portions of a country that lie overseas
    Administrative divisions:
    195 countries, 72 dependent areas and other entities
    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; 62 countries have accepted jurisdiction of the ICJ as compulsory with reservations and 12 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 (as of October 2017) countries have accepted jurisdiction of the ICCt (see Appendix B for a clarification on the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt)
    Legislative branch:

    there are 230 political entities with legislative bodies; of these 144 are unicameral (a single “house”) and 86 are bicameral (both upper and lower houses); note - while there are 195 countries in the world, 35 territories, possessions, or other special administrative units also have their own governing bodies

    Flag description:

    note: the flags of 12 nations: Austria, Botswana, Georgia, 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 :: World
  • 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 keeping inflation and debt under control. Financial stabilization and stimulus programs that started in 2009-11, combined with lower tax revenues in 2009-10, required most countries to run large budget deficits. Treasuries issued new public debt - totaling $9.1 trillion since 2008 - to pay for the additional expenditures. To keep interest rates low, most central banks monetized that debt, injecting large sums of money into their economies - between December 2008 and December 2013 the global money supply increased by more than 35%. Governments are now faced with the difficult task of spurring current growth and employment without saddling their economies with so much debt that they sacrifice long-term growth and financial stability. When economic activity picks up, central banks will confront the difficult task of containing inflation without raising interest rates so high they snuff out further growth.

    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 supply relatively rapidly - faster than the world average of 3.1%; 28 followed restrictive fiscal and monetary policies, reducing government spending and holding money growth to less than the 3.1% average; and the remaining 70 followed a mix of counterbalancing fiscal and monetary policies, either reducing government spending while accelerating money growth, or boosting spending while curtailing money growth.

    (For more information, see attached spreadsheet.)

    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 expenditures. The global growth rate for government expenditures increased from 1.6% in 2012 to 5.1% in 2013, after falling from a 10.1% growth rate in 2011. On the other hand, nearly 2 out of 3 central banks tightened monetary policy in 2013, decelerating the rate of growth of their money supply, compared with only 1 out of 3 in 2012. Roughly 1 of 4 central banks actually withdrew money from circulation, an increase from 1 out of 7 in 2012. Growth of the global money supply, as measured by the narrowly defined M1, slowed from 8.7% in 2009 and 10.4% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2011, 4.6% in 2012, and 3.1% in 2013. Several notable shifts occurred in 2013. By cutting government expenditures and expanding money supplies, the US and Canada moved against the trend in the rest of the world. France reversed course completely. Rather than reducing expenditures and money as it had in 2012, it expanded both. Germany reversed its fiscal policy, sharply expanding federal spending, while continuing to grow the money supply. South Korea shifted monetary policy into high gear, while maintaining a strongly expansionary fiscal policy. Japan, however, continued to pursue austere fiscal and monetary policies.

    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 from 5.1% in 2010 and 3.7% in 2011, to just 3.1% in 2012, and 2.9% in 2013.

    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, the 82 countries that followed a pro-growth approach achieved a median GDP growth rate of 4.7%, compared to 1.7% for the 28 countries with restrictive fiscal and monetary policies, a difference of 3 percentage points. Among the 82, China grew 7.7%, Philippines 6.8%, Malaysia 4.7%, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia 3.6%, Argentina 3.5%, South Korea 2.8%, and Russia 1.3%, while among the 28, Brazil grew 2.3%, Japan 2.0%, South Africa 2.0%, Netherlands -0.8%, Croatia -1.0%, Iran -1.5%, Portugal -1.8%, Greece -3.8%, and Cyprus -8.7%.

    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 28 countries that chose austere economic policies. Budget balances improved for about three-quarters of the 28, but, for most, debt grew faster than GDP, and the median level of their public debt as a share of GDP increased 9.1 percentage points, to 59.2%. On the other hand, budget balances deteriorated for most of the 82 pro-growth countries, but GDP growth outpaced increases in debt, and the median level of public debt as a share of GDP increased just 1.9%, to 39.8%.

    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 higher than that for the countries that followed more austere fiscal and monetary policies. Overall, the latter countries also improved their current account balances by shedding imports; as a result, current account balances deteriorated for most of the countries that pursued pro-growth policies. Slow growth of world income continued to hold import demand in check and crude oil prices fell. Consequently, the dollar value of world trade grew just 1.3% in 2013.

    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-shortages, famine, over-fishing of oceans, deforestation, desertification, and depletion of non-renewable resources. The nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, services, funds, and technology. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, has created economic risks because the participating nations have varying income levels and growth rates, and hence, require a different mix of monetary and fiscal policies. Governments, especially in Western Europe, face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries are unable to devote sufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from an economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuated a growing risk to global prosperity - the diversion of resources away from capital investments to counter-terrorism programs.

    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 communications have greatly reduced the costs of international trade, helping the world gain from the international division of labor, raise living standards, and reduce income disparities among nations. Much of the resilience of the world economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis resulted from government and central bank leaders around the globe working in concert to stem the financial onslaught, knowing well the lessons of past economic failures.

    Fiscal and Monetary Data, 2008-2012: Spreadsheet
    GDP (purchasing power parity):
    $127.8 trillion (2017 est.)
    $123.3 trillion (2016 est.)
    $119.5 trillion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    GDP (official exchange rate):
    $80.27 trillion SGWP (gross world product) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate:
    3.7% (2017 est.)
    3.2% (2016 est.)
    3.3% (2014 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP):
    $17,500 (2017 est.)
    $17,000 (2016 est.)
    $16,800 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    Gross national saving:
    27.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    27.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    27.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    GDP - composition, by end use:
    household consumption: 56.4% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 16.1% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 25.7% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 1.4% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 28.8% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -28.3% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
    agriculture: 6.4% (2017 est.)
    industry: 30% (2017 est.)
    services: 63% (2017 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 adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated development of new technologies is complicating already grim environmental problems

    Industrial production growth rate:
    3.2% (2017 est.)
    Labor force:
    3.432 billion (2017 est.)
    Labor force - by occupation:
    agriculture: 31%
    industry: 23.5%
    services: 45.5% (2014 est.)
    Unemployment rate:
    7.7% (2017 est.)
    7.5% (2016 est.)

    note: 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%: 30.2% (2008 est.)
    highest 10%: 30.2% (2007.75 est.)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index:
    37.9 (2012 est.)
    37.9 (2005 est.)
    revenues: 21.68 trillion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 23.81 trillion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues:
    26.7% (of GDP) (2016 est.)
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
    -3% (of GDP) (2016 est.)
    Public debt:
    67.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
    67.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices):
    6.4% (2017 est.)
    3.7% (2016 est.)
    developed countries: 1.9% (2017 est.) 0.9% (2016 est.)
    developing countries: 8.8% (2017 est.) 3.7% (2016 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 the last several years, held in check by increasing international competition from several low wage countries and by soft demand due to the world financial crisis
    Stock of narrow money:
    $34.4 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $30.17 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    Stock of broad money:
    $86.47 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $77.71 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    Stock of domestic credit:
    $111.7 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $100.4 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    Market value of publicly traded shares:
    $67.47 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $68.51 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $68.37 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $17.31 trillion (2017 est.)
    $15.82 trillion (2016 est.)
    Exports - commodities:

    the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services

    top ten - share of world trade: 14.8 electrical machinery, including computers; 14.4 mineral fuels, including oil, coal, gas, and refined products; 14.2 nuclear reactors, boilers, and parts; 8.9 cars, trucks, and buses; 3.5 scientific and precision instruments; 3.4 plastics; 2.7 iron and steel; 2.6 organic chemicals; 2.6 pharmaceutical products; 1.9 diamonds, pearls, and precious stones

    (2007 est.)
    $20.01 trillion (2018 est.)
    $16.02 trillion (2017 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:
    $76.56 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $75.09 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    note: this figure is the sum total of all countries' external debt, both public and private
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
    $33.6 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $31.62 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
    $34.73 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $32.94 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
  • Energy :: World
  • Electricity access:
    population without electricity: 1.201 billion (2013)
    electrification - total population: 83% (2013)
    electrification - urban areas: 95% (2013)
    electrification - rural areas: 70% (2013)
    Electricity - production:
    23.65 trillion kWh (2015 est.)
    Electricity - consumption:
    21.78 trillion kWh (2015 est.)
    Electricity - exports:
    696.1 billion kWh (2016)
    Electricity - imports:
    721.9 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    Electricity - installed generating capacity:
    6.386 billion kW (2015 est.)
    Electricity - from fossil fuels:
    63% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
    6% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
    18% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    Electricity - from other renewable sources:
    14% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    Crude oil - production:
    80.77 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
    Crude oil - exports:
    43.57 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    Crude oil - imports:
    44.58 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    Crude oil - proved reserves:
    1.665 trillion bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
    Refined petroleum products - production:
    88.4 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    Refined petroleum products - consumption:
    96.26 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
    Refined petroleum products - exports:
    29.66 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    Refined petroleum products - imports:
    28.62 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
    Natural gas - production:
    3.481 trillion cu m (2015 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption:
    3.477 trillion cu m (2015 est.)
    Natural gas - exports:
    1.156 trillion cu m (2013 est.)
    Natural gas - imports:
    1.496 trillion cu m (2013 est.)
    Natural gas - proved reserves:
    196.1 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 est.)
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
    33.62 billion Mt (2013 est.)
  • Communications :: World
  • Telephones - fixed lines:
    total subscriptions: 984,289,950 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2017 est.)
    Telephones - mobile cellular:
    total subscriptions: 7,806,142,681 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2017 est.)
    Internet users:
    3.174 billion (July 2016 est.)

    top ten countries by Internet usage (in millions): 730.7 China; 374.3 India; 246.8 United States; 122.8 Brazil; 116.6 Japan; 108.8 Russia; 73.3 Mexico; 72.3 Germany; 65.5 Indonesia; 61 United Kingdom

    Broadband - fixed subscriptions:
    total: 1,002,793,951
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1
    Communications - note:

    three major data centers - which provide colocation, telecommunications, cloud services, and content ecosystems - compete to be called the world's biggest in terms of physical space occupied:

    no. 1. - a data farm in Langfang, Hebei Province, China, identified as the Range International Information Group, claims to be the largest with 585,000 sq m (6.3 million sq ft),

    no. 2. - a data farm in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, known as the Switch SuperNAP data center, comes in second with over 325,000 sq m (3.5 million sq ft); it intends to expand to over 1.615 million sq m (17.4 million sq ft) by 2020,

    no. 3. - a data farm in Ashburn, Virginia, USA, referred to as the DFT Data Center, is a transit point for 70% of the world's Internet traffic; it includes 150,000 sq m (1.6 million sq ft) spread out over six separate buildings


  • Transportation :: World
  • Airports:
    41,820 (2016)

    top ten by passengers: Atlanta (ATL) - 104,171,935; Beijing (PEK) - 94,393,454; Dubai (DXB) - 83,654,250; Los Angeles (LAX) - 80,921,527; Tokyo (HND) - 79,699,762; Chicago (ORD) - 77,960,588; London (LHR) - 75,715,474; Hong Kong (HKG) 70,305,857; Shanghai (PVG) 66, 002,414; Paris (CDG) - 65,933,145 (2016)

    top ten by cargo (metric tons): Hong Kong (HKG) - 4,615,241; Memphis, TN (MEM) - 4,322,071; Shanghai (PVG) - 3,440,280; Incheon (ICN) - 2,714,341; Dubai (DXB) - 2,592,454; Anchorage, AK (ANC) - 2,542,526; Louisville, KY (SDF) - 2,437,010; Tokyo (NRT) - 2,165427; Paris (CDG) - 2,135,172; Frankfurt (FRA) - 2,113,594 (2016)

    6,524 (2013)
    total: 1,148,186 km (2013)
    total: 64,285,009 km (2013)
    2,293,412 km (2017)
    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, responsible for about 20% of the Earth's freshwater entering the ocean

    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

    note: Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically a single lake because the flow of water between the Straits of Mackinac that connects the two lakes keeps their water levels at near-equilibrium; combined, Lake Huron-Michigan is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world

    Merchant marine:
    total: 91,557 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 10872, container ship 5137, general cargo 19160, oil tanker 9995, other 46396 (2017)
    Ports and terminals:

    top twenty container ports as measured by Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) throughput: Shanghai (China) - 37,133,000; Singapore (Singapore) - 30,922,600; Shenzhen (China) - 23,979,300; Ningbo (China) - 21,560,000; Busan (South Korea) - 19,850,000; Hong Kong (China) - 19,813,000; Guangzhou (China) - 18,857,700; Qingdao (China) - 18,010,000; Dubai (UAE) - 14,772,000; - Tianjin (China) - 14,490,000; Port Kelang (Malaysia) - 13,169,577; Rotterdam (Netherlands) - 12,385,168; Kaohsiung (Taiwan) - 10,464,860; Antwerp (Belgium) - 10,037,341; Dalian (China) - 9,614,000; Xiamen (China) - 9,613,679; Hamburg (Germany) - 8,910,000; Los Angeles (US) - 8,856,783; Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia) - 8,280,661; Laem Chabang (Thailand) - 7,227,431 (2016)

  • Military and Security :: World
  • Military expenditures:
    2.22% of GDP (2016)
    2.27% of GDP (2015)
    2.26% of GDP (2014)
    Maritime threats:

    the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that 2017 saw a continued slight decrease in global pirate activities; in 2017, pirates attacked a total of 180 ships world-wide including boarding 136 ships, hijacking six ships, and firing on 16; this activity is down from 191 incidents in 2016; in 2017, the number of hostages dropped to 91, however, the number of seafarers kidnapped for ransom increased dramatically to 75 with nearly all taken off West Africa; three mariners were killed world-wide in 2017

    Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO naval task force established in 2009 to combat Somali piracy, concluded its operations in December 2016 as a result of the drop in reported incidents over the last few years; the EU naval mission, Operation ATALANTA, continues its operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean through 2020; naval units from Japan, India, and China also operate in conjuction with EU forces; China has established a logistical base in Djibouti to support its deployed naval units in the Horn of Africa

    the Horn of Africa continued to see pirate activities with 12 incidents in 2017, a slight increase over 2016; the decrease in successful pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa since the peak in 2007 was due, in part, to 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

    West African piracy is a continuing threat with 33 attacks in 2017 compared to 36 in 2016; Nigerian pirates are very aggressive, operating as far as 200 nm offshore and boarding 20 ships in 2017; attacks in South Asian waters remain at low levels with an increase in Bangladesh from three incidents in 2016 to 11 in 2017; Peru reported two incidents in 2017, down from 11 in 2016; attacks in Vietnam declined from nine in 2016 to two in 2017; the majority of global attacks against shipping have occured in the offshore waters of five countries - Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, Venezuela, and Bangladesh

  • Transnational Issues :: World
  • 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 entitiesethnicity, 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 boundariesmost 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 segmentsboundary, borderland/resource, and territorial disputes vary in intensity from managed or dormant to violent or militarizedundemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries tend to encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and confrontationterritorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural claims, or they may be brought on by resource competitionethnic 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-2013over half a million refugees were repatriated during 2012other sources of contention include access to water and mineral (especially hydrocarbon) resources, fisheries, and arable landarmed 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 2017 there were 68.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, the highest level ever recorded; this includes 25.4 million refugees, 3.1 million asylum seekers, and 40 million conflict IDPs; the UNHCR estimates there are currently at least 10 million stateless persons

    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 rating:   (2015)
     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

    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