January 31, 2013 - In the Economy and Energy categories, the information and data for most of the fields have been updated through year 2012.
January 24, 2013 - A new "Demographic profile" field is being introduced incrementally to The World Factbook; the 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 introduced this week are those of Central and South America.
January 17, 2013 - Can you name the Southeast Asian nation that is linguistically the most diverse country on earth with some 860 languages spoken (roughly 12% of the world's total)? Hint: it lies north of Australia.
January 10, 2013 - Several small nations and dependencies - including Gibraltar, the Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong, Monaco, and Singapore - do not include agriculture as a component of their economies (i.e., all their food has to be imported). Which is the largest of these entities and thus bearer of the title "Largest Country With No Farms"? Hint: use the "Country Comparison" feature to find out.
January 03, 2013 - Did you know that Canada has more lakes than all the other countries of the world combined? Check out the "Geography - note" in the Canada entry to get more info.
December 20, 2012 - As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, The World Factbook is proud to unveil a new online graphic capability. In the People and Society section, the "Age structure" field now includes a "population pyramid" feature. Clicking on a population pyramid icon reveals a graphic illustrating a country's 2012 age and sex structure. The population pyramids are constructed from US Census Bureau data and will be updated annually. Population pyramids can yield valuable insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The shape of a country's population pyramid changes over time as a result of fertility, mortality, and international migration trends, progressing from a youthful distribution to a transitional distribution to a mature distribution.
December 13, 2012 - Bechuanaland, East Pakistan, and Kampuchea are former names for what countries? Answers may be found in Appendix F: Cross-Reference List of Geographic Names, under the Appendices tab.
December 06, 2012 - The Horn of Africa on the continent's eastern coast contains the highest and lowest points in Africa - 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level (Kilimanjaro) and 155 meters (509 ft) below sea level (Lac Assal), respectively. Can you name the countries in which these two features are found?
November 29, 2012 - The well-known Alps in Europe extend across seven countries from France in the west to Austria and Slovenia in the east. Can you name the other four Alpine countries? Find the answer by consulting the Europe physical map.
November 21, 2012 - The newest estimates for adherents to the world's major religions - as of 2010 - may be found in the World entry under the People and Society category, "Religions" field.
November 15, 2012 - In the Economy category, the data for all of the fields have been revised and/or updated.
November 08, 2012 - Recent election results from Curacao, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Somalia, Ukraine, and Venezuela have been entered in the Government sections of those countries.
October 26, 2012 - The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior has created a list of 16 volcanoes - termed Decade Volcanoes - worthy of special study because of their great potential for destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas. Three countries, one of which is the United States, contain two such volcanoes. Check the "Natural hazards" field under the World entry to learn what the other two countries are and to see the entire list of these dangerous volcanoes.
October 18, 2012 - New photos for Bermuda, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom have recently been added.
October 11, 2012 - For the first time since 1997, The World Factbook (WFB) is adding a major new category. In light of the importance of the energy sector to the world's economy, the WFB has created a new Energy category. Some of the fields are based on the same entries used previously in the Economy category, but several contain entirely new data and definitions that have not previously appeared in the WFB. The fields for Electricity Flows (production, consumption, exports, and imports) remain the same as before, but there are now five new stock measures for Installed Electricity Generating Capacity, including total installed capacity (measured in kilowatts) and a percentage breakdown of the four main sources of that capacity: fossil fuel plants, nuclear plants, hydroelectric plants, and renewable fuel sources, such as solar and wind. In the oil sector, former fields have been disaggregated to show separate numbers for crude oil (production, exports, imports, and proven reserves) and refined petroleum products (production, consumption, exports, and imports). The definitions for each of the five natural gas fields are identical to what had previously appeared in the Economy category. Finally, a new field for "Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy" measures the total output of carbon dioxide from the consumption of all fuels. In total, the new category consists of 23 energy-related fields. The WFB now has 10 broad categories for each of its country entries: Introduction, Geography, People and Society, Government, Economy, Energy, Communications, Transportation, Military, and Transnational Issues.
October 04, 2012 - The People's Republic of China has two Special Administrative Regions, created in 1997 and 1999. Can you name them? Hint: they have separate entries in The World Factbook.
September 27, 2012 - Covering more than 70% of the Earth's surface, the oceans of the world are the largest single feature on the planet and serve as the highway connecting the continental landmasses. The World Factbook proudly announces a new and distinctive Map of the World Oceans that depicts the relationships among states across the great oceanic basins of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern, and Arctic Oceans. The map also depicts the maritime claims of the littoral states - represented by the buffer line of the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones. Finally, recognizing that around 90% of world trade moves by sea, the map shows a generalization of global shipping lanes and the major cargo and container ports that constitute this vital trading network. In addition to the World Oceans map, The World Factbook recently added 10 new regional political maps to its reference repertoire. To view or use any of the above-described maps, click on the Regional and World Maps link on the Factbook homepage or go to the References tab on the Factbook site and click on Regional and World Maps.
September 20, 2012 - In the Transnational Issues category, the entry for "Refugees and Internally displaced persons" has recently been updated.
September 13, 2012 - The Economy section includes updated data for "Population below poverty line," "Household income or consumption by percentage share," "Commercial bank prime lending rate," "Stock of narrow money," "Stock of broad money," and "Exchange rates."
September 06, 2012 - What does FAO stand for? Find out in Appendix A: Abbreviations. Then go to Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups to get details.
August 30, 2012 - An update on international maritime piracy appears in the World entry, under "Transportation - note."
August 23, 2012 - The Economy section includes updated data through 2011 for the "Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares."
August 09, 2012 - The World Factbook is celebrating its Golden Anniversary! Exactly 50 years ago - in August of 1962 - the Agency came up with the contracted name Factbook to describe its annual National Intelligence Survey summary. The first unclassified version came out nine years later (June 1971), and it acquired its present name of The World Factbook with the 1981 edition. Annual printing of the Factbook continues, albeit in far smaller quantities than originally; its online presence - begun June 1997 - continues to grow with some 3 million visitors monthly.
Ongoing - Revision of some individual country maps, first introduced in the 2001 edition, continues. Several regional maps have been updated to reflect boundary changes and place name spelling changes.