The World Factbook (1982)/German Democratic Republic

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency
German Democratic Republic


World Factbook (1982) German Democratic Republic.jpg
(See reference map V)


108,262 km2; 43% arable, 15% meadows and pasture, 27% forested, 15% other

Land boundaries: 2,309 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 3 nm

Coastline: 901 km (including islands)


Population: 16,738,000, including East Berlin (July 1982), average annual growth rate 0.0%

Nationality: noun—German(s); adjective—German

Ethnic divisions: 99.7% German, 0.3% Slavic and other

Religion: 53% Protestant, 8% Roman Catholic, 39% unaffiliated or other; less than 5% of Protestants and about 25% of Roman Catholics actively participate

Language: German, small Sorb (West Slavic) minority

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 8.7 million; 38.0% industry; 3.2% handicrafts; 7.1% construction; 8.6% agriculture; 7.4% transport and communications; 10.3% commerce; 20.1% services; 3.2% other Organized labor: 87.7% of total labor force


Official name: German Democratic Republic

Type: Communist state

Capital: East Berlin (not officially recognized by US, UK, and France, which together with the USSR have special rights and responsibilities in Berlin)

Political subdivisions: (excluding East Berlin) 14 districts (Bezirke), 218 counties (Kreise), 7,600 communities (Gemeinden)

Legal system: civil law system modified by Communist legal theory; new constitution adopted 1974; court system parallels administrative divisions; no judicial review of legislative acts; legal education at Universities of Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, and Jena; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; more stringent penal code adopted 1968, amended in 1974 and 1979

National holiday: Foundation of German Democratic Republic, 7 October

Branches: legislative—Volkskammer (elected directly); executive—Chairman of Council of State, Chairman of Council of Ministers, Cabinet (approved by Volkskammer); judiciary—Supreme Court; entire structure dominated by Socialist Unity (Communist) Party

Government leaders: Chairman, Council of State, Erich HONECKER (Head of State); Chairman, Council of Ministers, Willi STOPH (Premier)

Suffrage: all citizens age 18 and over

Elections: national every five years; prepared by an electoral commission of the National Front; ballot supposed to be secret and voters permitted to strike names off ballot; more candidates than offices available; parliamentary elections held 14 June 1981, and local elections held 20 May 1979

Political parties and leaders: Socialist Unity (Communist) Party (SED), headed by General Secretary Erich Honecker, dominates the regime; four token parties (Christian Democratic Union, National Democratic Party, Liberal Democratic Party, and Democratic Peasant's Party) and an amalgam of special interest organizations participate with the SED in National Front

Voting strength: 1981 parliamentary elections and 1979 local elections; over 99% voted the regime slate

Communists: 2.1 million party members

Other special interest groups: Free German Youth, Free German Trade Union Federation, Democratic Women's Federation of Germany, German Cultural Federation (all Communist dominated)



GNP: $135.4 billion (1980, 1980 dollars), $8,089 per capita; 1980 growth rate 2.6%

Agriculture: food deficit area; main crops—potatoes, rye, wheat, barley, oats, industrial crops; shortages in grain, vegetables, vegetable oil, beef; caloric intake, 3,000 calories per day per capita (1971)

Fish catch: 244,237 metric tons (1980)

Major industries: metal fabrication, chemicals, light industry, brown coal, and shipbuilding

Shortages: coking coal, coke, crude oil, rolled steel products, nonferrous metals

Crude steel: 7.308 million metric tons produced (1980), approx. 436 kg per capita

Electric power: 20,965,000 kW capacity (1981); 101.8 billion kWh produced (1981), 6,080 kWh per capita

Exports: $17.3 billion, est. (f.o.b., 1979)

Imports: $19.2 billion, est. (f.o.b., 1979)

Major trade partners: $36,500 million (1979); 68% Communist countries, 32% non-Communist countries

Monetary conversion rate: 3.11 DME=US$1 for trade data (1980 rate)

Fiscal year: same as calendar year; economic data reported for calendar years except for caloric intake, which is reported for the consumption year 1 July-30 June


Railroads: 14,164 km total; 13,874 km standard gauge (1.435 m), 290 km meter (1.00 m) or other narrow gauge, 3,360 km double track standard gauge (1.435 m); 1,621 km overhead electrified (1979)

Highways: 117,500 km total; 47,500 km concrete, asphalt, stone block, of which 1,744 km are autobahn and limited access roads; over 70,000 km asphalt treated, gravel, crushed stone, and earth (1979)

Inland waterways: 2,302 km (1979)

Freight carried: rail—302.5 million metric tons, 54.4 billion metric ton/km (1979); highway—730.2 million metric tons, 21.6 billion metric ton/km (1979); waterway—14.8 million metric tons, 1.9 billion metric ton/km (excluding international transit traffic) (1979)

Pipelines: crude oil, 1,200 km; refined products, 500 km; natural gas 650 km

Ports: 4 major (Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, Sassnitz), 13 minor; principal inland waterway ports are E. Berlin, Riesa, Magdeburg, and Eisenhuttenstadt (1979)


Military manpower: males 15-49, 4,319,000; 3,470,000 fit for military service; 138,000 reach military age (18) annually

Personnel: paramilitary field force was integrated into the Confederal Armed Forces with the Senegalese military troops

Military budget: (announced) for fiscal year ending 31 December 1981, 10.2 billion marks; 6.2% of total budget