World Factbook

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The World Factbook is a freely available publication of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), containing extensive basic data, including maps, on the countries of the world. It is available online and in print, and can be freely downloaded by anyone. The online Factbook is updated periodically throughout the year; the print version is updated annually.

The entire publication is in the public domain.


Entries for each country include a map, a drawing of the country's flag, and sections on:

  • Background
  • Geography
  • People
  • Government
  • Economy
  • Transportation
  • Military
  • Transnational Issues

Entries for larger countries (Spain, for example), typically contain 12-13 pages when printed. The entry for tiny Andorra is eight pages long.


The first classified Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version was published in June 1971. The 1975 Factbook was the first to be made available to the public with sales through the US Government Printing Office (GPO). The Factbook was first made available on the Internet in June 1997.


The World Factbook online edition