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The World Factbook
- Country information has been updated as of 21 August 2008.
In the People category, two new fields provide information on education in terms of opportunity and resources. “School Life Expectancy” is an estimate of the total number of years of schooling (primary to tertiary) which a child can expect to receive, assuming that the probability of his or her being enrolled in school at any particular future age is equal to the current enrolment ratio at that age. “Education expenditures - percent of GDP ” provides an estimate of the public expenditure on education as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
- In the Geography category, two new fields focus on the increasingly vital resource of water: “Total renewable water resources” and “Freshwater withdrawal.”
- In the Economy category, three fields have been added that focus on capital stocks and investment. They are "Stock of direct foreign investment - at home," "Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad," and "Market value of publicly traded shares." Additionally, the data for GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) has been rebased using new PPP conversion rates, benchmarked to the year 2005, which were released on 17 December 2007 by the International Comparison Program (ICP). The 2005 PPP data replace previous estimates, many from studies dating to 1993 or earlier. The preliminary ICP report provides estimates of internationally comparable price levels and the relative purchasing power of currencies for 146 countries. The 2005 benchmark revises downward the size of the world economy in PPP terms from the previous estimates, and changes the relative sizes of many of the world's economies.
- In the Notes and Definitions, concise descriptions have been added of the major religions mentioned in the Factbook.
- Several notable geographic changes have occurred. The US Board on Geographic Names (BGN) now recognizes Timor-Leste as the short form name for East Timor; its description may be found under this new designation. France's overseas possessions have been reorganized. The five former entities of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island, previously grouped as Iles Eparses (Scattered Islands), now constitute a district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Additionally, the islands of St. Barthelemy and St. Martin, formerly a part of the French overseas region of Guadeloupe, now make up separate overseas collectivities and have their own Factbook entries. Finally, a new Kosovo entry has been added.
- Revision of some individual country maps, first introduced in the 2001 edition, is continued in this edition. Several regional maps have also been updated to reflect boundary changes and place name spelling changes.
The online Factbook is updated periodically throughout the year.
For additional and more current information on
leadership in selected foreign countries, see