In the 24 pages that follow, you'll find news, maps, and data on the world's 196 countries-everything from languages and literacy rates to the proportion of young people in the population. To better understand the data, read the explanations accompanying the sample entry for China below. On each map, you'll find photos and summaries of major news events in that region. And in our Snapshots section, you'll learn, among other things, which countries waste the most food and how much time people around the world spend on social media. We hope you'll keep this issue for year-round reference and that it will help you make sense of what's going on in the world as we head into 2020.

Area & Population

Landmass in square miles and number of people. To calculate population density, divide population by area. For example, China has about 380 people per square mile.

Urban Population

The percentage of a country's population living in urban areas. Urbanization is on the rise worldwide as people move to cities in search of work.

Political System & Head of Government

Type of government and current leader. Xi Jinping has been China's leader since 2013.

Date of Origin

The year a nation was established, gained independence, or took on its modern form.

Literacy Rate

Percentage of people who can read and write. The first number is for men, the second for women.

Per Capita GDP

The value of all goods and services produced within a country in one year (gross domestic product) divided by population. It's a way to gauge a nation's wealth.

Percentage of Population Increase

The birth rate minus the death rate (without factoring in migration) for the most recent year available.


There are nearly 7,000 languages spoken in the world. There are about 1.3 billion native speakers of Chinese (including all dialects).

Percentage of Population Under 15

In China, just 17 percent of the population is under 15. Compare that with Iraq, where 40 percent of the population is under 15.

Life Expectancy

The age to which a newborn infant can expect to live. The first number is for men, the second for women.

HDI (Human Development Index)

A measure of economic and social well-being on a scale of Oto 1(1 is the highest). HDI factors include life expectancy, education levels, and average income.


Brexit Three years after the British people voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, will Brexit (short for "British exit") finally happen in 2019? The United Kingdom has a new pro-Brexit prime minister, Boris Johnson, and he's vowed to complete the process with or without a trade deal with the E.U. to cushion the blow. But most British lawmakers are opposed to leaving without a deal and have passed a law to prohibit it. The standoff has made the future of Brexit more uncertain than ever.

Migrants The number of migrants arriving in Europe after fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East is way down from its peak in 2015. But hostility toward these newcomers is on the rise in many parts of Europe. Anti-immigrant political parties have gained power in countries such as Hungary, Sweden, Italy, Austria, and Poland. Even Germany, which has welcomed more than a million migrants since 2015, has seen a backlash.

Russia President Vladimir Putin has remained in power for 20 years, in part by stifling dissent and cracking down on his political enemies. Despite President Trump's push for better relations with Russia, ties between the two nations remain strained. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the aim of helping to elect Trump to the White House, and that Russia is already trying to meddle in the 2020 election.

Caption: Boris Johnson has vowed that the U.K. will leave the European Union.

Caption: Africans crossing the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of reaching Italy, 2018

Caption: Putin's portrait looms over a military parade in Moscow, 2019.

Europe COUNTRY AREA (SO MI) URBAN CAPITAL POPULATION POP. % POP. RISE %/YEAR Albania 11,082 60 Tirana 2,867,000 0.3 Andorra 180 88 Andorra la Vella 81,000 0.4 Austria 32,386 58 Vienna 8,847,000 0.0 Belarus 80,153 78 Minsk 9,511,000 -0.2 Belgium 11,787 98 Brussels 11,404,000 0.1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 19,772 48 Sarajevo 3,497,000 -0.2 Bulgaria 42,858 73 Sofia 7,024,000 -0.7 Croatia 21,851 57 Zagreb 4,116,000 -0.3 Czechia (2) 30,450 74 Prague 10,631,000 0 Denmark 16,640 88 Copenhagen 5,786,000 0.2 Estonia 17,462 69 Tallinn 1,321,000 -0.1 Finland 150,928 71 Helsinki 5,518,000 -0.1 France 210,026 80 Paris 65,127,000 0.2 Germany 137,879 77 Berlin 82,800,000 -0.2 Greece 50,949 79 Athens 10,600,000 -0.2 Hungary 35,919 71 Budapest 9,758,000 -0.4 Iceland 39,777 94 Reykjavik 354,000 0.5 Ireland 27,133 63 Dublin 4,857,000 0.7 Italy 116,346 70 Rome 60,551,000 -0.3 Kosovo (3) 4,212 38 Pristina 1,808,000 0.8 Latvia 24,938 68 Riga 1,922,000 -0.4 Liechtenstein 62 14 Vaduz 38,000 -0.3 Lithuania 25,212 67 Vilnius 2,790,000 -0.4 Luxembourg 999 91 Luxembourg 608,000 0.3 Malta 122 95 Valletta 465,000 0.3 Moldova 13,067 43 Chisinau 3,548,000 0 Monaco 1 100 Monaco 39,000 0.1 Montenegro 5,333 67 Podgorica 622,000 0.1 Netherlands 16,158 92 Amsterdam 17,235,000 0.1 North Macedonia (4) 9,928 58 Skopje 2,076,000 0.1 Norway 148,718 81 Oslo 5,314,000 0.3 Poland 120,726 60 Warsaw 38,434,000 0 Portugal 35,603 65 Lisbon 10,282,000 -0.2 Romania 92,043 54 Bucharest 19,472,000 -0.4 Russia (5) 6,601,700 74 Moscow 147,251,000 -0.1 San Marino 24 97 San Marino 33,000 -0.2 Serbia 29,922 60 Belgrade 7,013,000 -0.5 Slovakia 18,932 54 Bratislava 5,447,000 0.1 Slovenia 7,827 55 Ljubljana 2,067,000 0.0 Spain 195,364 80 Madrid 46,726,000 -0.1 Sweden 172,750 87 Stockholm 10,183,000 0.2 Switzerland 15,940 85 Bern 8,514,000 0.2 Turkey (6) 303,224 75 Ankara 81,313,000 1.1 Ukraine (7) 233,062 70 Kiev 42,288,000 -0.5 United Kingdom 93,628 83 London (England, Scotland, 66,435,000 0.3 Wales, Northern Ireland) Vatican City 0.2 100 Vatican City 1,000 0 COUNTRY LANGUAGES Albania Albanian, Greek Andorra Catalan, French, Castilian Spanish, Portuguese Austria German Belarus Belarusian, Russian, others Belgium Flemish, French, German Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Bulgaria Bulgarian, Turkish, others Croatia Croatian, Serbian, others Czechia (2) Czech, Slovak Denmark Danish, Greenlandic, Faroese, German Estonia Estonian, Ukrainian, Russian, others Finland Finnish, Swedish, others France French, regional dialects Germany German Greece Greek, English, French Hungary Hungarian, others Iceland Icelandic, others Ireland English, Gaelic Italy Italian, German, French, Slovenian Kosovo (3) Albanian, Serbian, others Latvia Lettish, Lithuanian, Russian, others Liechtenstein German, Alemannic dialect Lithuania Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, others Luxembourg Luxembourgish, German, French Malta Maltese, English Moldova Romanian, Russian, Gagauz Monaco French, English, Italian, Monegasque Montenegro Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Albanian Netherlands Dutch North Macedonia (4) Macedonian, Albanian, others Norway Norwegian, Finnish Poland Polish Portugal Portuguese, Mirandese Romania Romanian, Hungarian, German Russia (5) Russian, others San Marino Italian Serbia Serbian, Hungarian, Bosniak, others Slovakia Slovak, Hungarian Slovenia Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, others Spain Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque Sweden Swedish, Finnish Switzerland German, French, Italian, Romansch, others Turkey (6) Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic Ukraine (7) Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian United Kingdom English, Welsh, Scottish, Gaelic (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) Vatican City Italian, Latin, French, others COUNTRY POLITICAL SYSTEM & HEAD OF GOVERNMENT Albania Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Edi Rama Andorra Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Head of Government Antoni Marti Petit Austria Parliamentary democracy; Chancellor Sebastian Kurz Belarus Presidential dictatorship; President Aleksandr Lukashenko Belgium Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Charles Michel Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential-parliamentary system; rotating Chairman of the Presidency (1) Bulgaria Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Boiko Borisov Croatia Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic Czechia (2) Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Andrej Babis Denmark Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Estonia Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Jiiri Ratas Finland Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Antti Rinne France Presidential-parliamentary democracy; President Emmanuel Macron Germany Parliamentary democracy; Chancellor Angela Merkel Greece Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Hungary Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Viktor Orban Iceland Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir Ireland Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Leo Varadkar Italy Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte Kosovo (3) Presidential-parliamentary system (transitional); Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj Latvia Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins Liechtenstein Constitutional monarchy; Prince Alois Lithuania Presidential-parliamentary democracy; President Gitanas Nauseda Luxembourg Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Xavier Bettel Malta Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Joseph Muscat Moldova Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Maia Sandu Monaco Constitutional monarchy; Prince Albert II Montenegro Presidential-parliamentary democracy; President Milo Djukanovic Netherlands Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Mark RUtte North Macedonia (4) Presidential-parliamentary system; Prime Minister Zoran Zaev Norway Parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Erna Solberg Poland Presidential-parliamentary democracy; President Andrzej Duda Portugal Presidential-parliamentary democracy; Prime Minister Antonio Costa *...

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