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Earth (or the Earth) is the third planet from a star named Sol, commonly called the Sun.

Earth is the only planet in our solar system, or the known universe whose surface has liquid water, covering over 70% of the surface and dividing it into five oceans and seven continents. There is a relatively thick atmosphere composed of 76% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 1% argon, plus traces of other gases including carbon dioxide and water.

The interior of Earth is, like the other terrestrial planets, divided into an outer silicaceous solid crust, with a highly viscous mantle, an outer core that is less viscous than the mantle, and a solid inner nickel-iron core. The planet is big enough to have the core differentiated into an liquid outer core, which gives rise to a weak [magnetic field]? due to the convection of its electrically conductive material, and a solid inner core. The inner core of Earth was recently discovered to rotate slightly faster than the rest of the planet, completing one additional rotation every 600 years. It is not known exactly why this occurs, but it is thought to be a result of the circulation of the liquid outer core and interaction with Earth's magnetic field.

Earth is unusual in its solar system in having a terrestrial planet-like Moon that is about 1/4 of Earth's diameter, usually called simply "the Moon," although natural satellites orbiting other planets are also called "moons." The name "Luna" is sometimes used for Earth's moon instead. By coincidence, the Moon is just far enough away to have, when seen from the Earth, the same apparent angular size as the Sun. This allows a total eclipse to occur on Earth. The [origin of the Moon]? is presently unknown, but one popular theory has it that it was formed from the collision of a Mars-sized protoplanet into the early Earth. This theory explains (among other things) the moon's lack of iron and volatile elements.

Earth is the only known place in the universe that supports life, notably intelligent life including humans? and to a lesser extent apes?, dolphins, and maybe a few others. Scientists have not ruled out the possibility of the existence of life in other places in the universe, and some think it likely.

Geography: Map references: World, Time Zones


Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 251,480.24 km (not counting shared boundaries twice)

Coastline: 356,000 km

Maritime claims:

Climate: two large areas of polar climates separated by two rather narrow temperate zones from a wide equatorial band of tropical to subtropical climates. Precipitation patterns vary widely, ranging from several meters of water per year to less than a millimeter.

Terrain: the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at 10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean

Elevation extremes: (measured relative to sea level)

Natural resources: the rapid using up 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 (especially in Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and China) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address

Land use:

Irrigated land: 2,481,250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclone?s), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslide?s, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)

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 wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion

Human population: 6,080,671,215 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:

Population growth rate: 1.3% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 22 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:

Infant mortality rate: 54 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

Total fertility rate: 2.8 children born/woman (2000 est.)


Data code: none; there is no FIPS 10-4 country code for the World, so the Factbook uses the "W" data code from DIAM 65-18 "Geopolitical Data Elements and Related Features," Data Standard No. 3, March 1984, published by the Defense Intelligence Agency; see the Cross-Reference List of Country Data Codes appendix

Administrative divisions: 267 nations, dependent areas, other, and miscellaneous entries

Legal system: see international law

Economy - overview: Growth in global output ([gross world product]?, GWP) rose to 3% in 1999 from 2% in 1998 despite continued recession in Japan, severe financial difficulties in other East Asian countries, and widespread dislocations in several transition economies, notably Russia. The US economy continued its remarkable sustained prosperity, growing at 4.1% in 1999, and accounted for 23% of GWP. Western Europe's economies grew at roughly 2%, not enough to cut deeply into the region's high unemployment; the EU economies produced 20% of GWP. China, the second largest economy in the world, continued its strong growth and accounted for 12% of GWP. Japan grew at only 0.3% in 1999; its share in GWP is 7%. As usual, the 15 successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations experienced widely different rates of growth. The developing nations varied widely in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that eat up gains in output. Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and in Canada. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment?, epidemic?s, and famine?. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. Continued financial difficulties in East Asia, Russia, and many African nations cast a shadow over short-term global economic prospects. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while strengthening prospects for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses serious economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. (For specific economic developments in each country of the world in 1999, see the individual country entries.)

GDP: GWP (gross world product) - purchasing power parity - $40.7 trillion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,800 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

Inflation rate (consumer prices): all countries 25%; developed countries 1% to 3% typically; developing countries 5% to 60% typically (1999 est.)
note: national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from stable prices in Japan to hyperinflation in a number of Third World countries

Labor force: NA

Labor force - by occupation: agricultue NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment (1999 est.)

Industries: 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 industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 12,342.7 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 12,342.7 billion kWh (1994)

Exports: $5.6 trillion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services

Exports - partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries

Imports: $5.6 trillion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services

Imports - partners: in value, about 75% of imports by the developed countries

Debt - external: $2 trillion for less developed countries (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: traditional worldwide foreign aid $50 billion (1997 est.)

Communications: Telephones - main lines in use: NA

Telephones? - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system:

Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 13,119 (1999)

Transportation: Railways:


Ports and harbors: Chiba?, Houston, Kawasaki?, Kobe?, Marseille?, [Mina' al Ahmadi]? (Kuwait)?, New Orleans, New York, Rotterdam, Yokohama?

Military: Military expenditures - dollar figure: aggregate real expenditure on arms worldwide in 1999 remained at approximately the 1998 level, about three-quarters of a trillion dollars (1999 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: roughly 2% of gross world product (1999 est.)

Solar system:
Sun - Mercury - Venus - Earth - Mars - Asteroids - Jupiter - Saturn - Uranus - Neptune - Pluto - Comets


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Last edited December 15, 2001 11:38 am by Ryrivard (diff)