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macrohistory & world report

Republic of Poland

Map of Poland

Poland (capital Warsaw) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and Poland's economy was the only one in the EU to avoid a recession through the 2008-09 economic downturn. Although EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy since 2004, GDP per capita remains significantly below the EU average while unemployment continues to exceed the EU average. The government of Prime Minister Donald TUSK steered the Polish economy through the economic downturn by skillfully managing public finances and adopting controversial pension and tax reforms to further shore up public finances. While the Polish economy has performed well over the past five years, growth slowed in 2012 and 2013, in part due to the ongoing economic difficulties in the euro zone. Short-term, the key policy challenge will be to consolidate debt and spending without stifling economic growth. Over the longer term, Poland's economic performance could improve if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure, business environment, rigid labor code, commercial court system, government red tape, and burdensome tax system."

Economic growth rate
2011: 3.8%
2010: 3.8%
2009: 1.6%

Unemployment rate
2011: 12%
2010: 12.1%

Public debt
2011: 56.7% of GDP
2010: 54.9% of GDP

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 93rd among 140 countries (higher rank number is more equal, lower rank less equal). About the same as Britain, which ranks 94th. More equal than the US, which ranks 45th.

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005: 1.71%

Health expenditures
2009: 7.1% of GDP

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 61%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 0.47 persons per 1,000 population.

Ethnic groups
2002 census: Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7%

Religions
2002 census: Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)

Geography

East of Germany and the Czech Republic. North of Slovakia. West of Ukraine and Belarus. South of Lithuania and Kalinigrad. In the north, 491 kilometers of coastline on the Baltic Sea.

Government

A parliamentary republic, its president popularly elected for a five-year term. Its legislature is bicameral. Capital: Warsaw.

Recent History

The Republic of Poland has been independent since the fall of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1917.

It was dominated by the Soviet Union at the close of World War II, which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Revolutions of 1989. Poland became what is constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic."

Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

October 18, 2006:  In an article in the online BBC, a 14-yar-old from Poland, Laura Sukacz, attending school in England, says that "...life here, in England, is easier as people earn more and can spend more time having fun."

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.