Mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Population: 38,383,809 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Polish (official) 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)
Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)
Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and Poland's economy was the only one in the European Union to avoid a recession through the 2008-09 economic downturn. Although EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy since 2004, GDP per capita remains significantly below the EU average while unemployment continues to exceed the EU average.
Dependency on Russian Gas Exports (1:10)
The average life expectancy for Poles is about seventy years. Alcoholism is a major health problem. Poland faces a serious housing shortage, and young couples often live with parents for the first years after they marry. In addition to being scarce, housing is also very expensive. In the villages, brick and stone structures with fireproof roofs have replaced the traditional wooden houses with thatched roofs. Most families do not own cars, although car ownership is on the rise.
US Military Presence/Support
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1:07)