May 23, 2013 - Although eagles are a common symbol depicted on national flags, a few countries depict other birds. Can you name the Central American nation whose banner carries an image of the distinctive, long-tailed quetzal? Check the Flags of the World page under the References tab to locate the answer.
May 16, 2013 - The name Benelux refers to a geographic, economic, and cultural grouping of three European countries. Can you name them? The answer may be found in Appendix B.
May 09, 2013 - Appendix D provides a cross-listing of data codes used to identify countries. This list now includes the new Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes (GENC) Standard, which is the US Government's implementation of ISO 3166 and is designated as the replacement standard for FIPS PUB 10-4. The GENC Standard provides a list of the basic geopolitical entities in the world, together with the principal divisions that comprise each entity. The names of the political entities are derived from official meeting records of the Foreign Names Committee of the US Board on Geographic Names (US BGN).
May 02, 2013 - Population Pyramids have been updated with 2013 estimated data in the People and Society section, "Age structure" field for all countries.
April 25, 2013 - The "Transportation - note" has been updated for various West African, East African, South Asian, and Southeast Asian countries to reflect 2012 information on piracy incidents. The new information reflects a general decrease in the number of pirate attacks worldwide, especially in the waters off East Africa. The decrease in successful pirate attacks is due, in part, to more aggressive anti-piracy operations by international naval forces as well as the increased use of armed security teams aboard merchant ships. The only exception to this trend was in the Gulf of Guinea, in West Africa, where attacks increased over a wider area in 2012.
April 18, 2013 - Several Military fields have been updated including "Military branches," "Military service age and obligation," and "Military expenditures."
April 11, 2013 - Can you name the five nations with emerging economies whose initials make up the "BRICS countries"? The answer may be found in Appendices A or B.
April 04, 2013 - What are polar mesospheric clouds (also known as noctilucent or "night shining" clouds)? Check out the photos in the World entry to find out.
March 28, 2013 - Various health fields in the People and Society section - including "Hospital bed density," "Physician density," "Health expenditures," "Drinking water source," "Sanitation facility access," and "Children under 5 underweight" - have recently been updated for all countries.
March 21, 2013 - In 2012, fiscal and monetary policies shifted towards greater austerity for many countries. In the World entry, the "Economy - Overview" highlights these changes and their impact on global economic performance. The "Overview" now contains a link to a spreadsheet detailing changes in the level of government expenditures, revenues, and national money supplies (M1) for about 200 countries for the period 2008-2012.
March 14, 2013 - What Asian nation uses the mythical merlion (a half lion-half fish creature) as one of its major emblems? The answer may be found in a country's "National symbols" entry, under the Government category.
February 28, 2013 - Space-based photographs have recently been uploaded for a number of island entries in The World Factbook including the Cook Islands, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, Micronesia, Saint Helena, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
February 21, 2013 - Can you name the country that has Dutch and French as its major official languages? Note, it is in Europe but it is not the Netherlands.
February 14, 2013 - The World Factbook's new 2013-14 cover - unveiled in the Gallery of Covers under the References tab - features a retro Art Deco style. Some Art Deco elements may also be found in a previous Factbook cover from 1996. Enjoy exploring and comparing the many Factbook cover designs that have appeared over the decades.
February 07, 2013 - The "Refugees and internally displaced persons" field (in the Transnational Issues category) has been revised to reflect the latest available figures for each country. Please note that numbers may increase rapidly for countries currently experiencing crises, such as Syria and Mali.
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.
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.