Kazakhstan Travel Information

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Facts About Kazakhstan

Background: Native Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into the region in the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. During the 1950s and 1960s agricultural "Virgin Lands" program, Soviet citizens were encouraged to help cultivate Kazakhstan's northern pastures. This influx of immigrants (mostly Russians, but also some other deported nationalities) skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence has caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; and continuing to strengthen relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.
Government type: republic
Capital: Astana
note: the government moved from Almaty to Astana in December 1998
Currency: 1 Kazakhstani tenge = 100 tiyn

Geography of Kazakhstan

Location: Central Asia, northwest of China
Geographic coordinates: 48 00 N, 68 00 E
total: 2,717,300 sq km
land: 2,669,800 sq km
water: 47,500 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 12,012 km
border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
note: Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)
Climate: continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Terrain: extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oases and desert in Central Asia
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
Natural resources: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 11%
permanent pastures: 57%
forests and woodland: 4%
other: 16% (1996 est.)
Irrigated land: 22,000 sq km (1996 est.)
Natural hazards: earthquakes in the south, mud slides around Almaty
Environment - current issues: radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome

People of Kazakhstan

The population of 16.7 million consists of about 53% ethnic Kazakhs and 30% ethnic Russians, with many other groups represented, including Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Koreans, Germans, Chechens, and Uyghurs. Given the relatively small population in an area the size of Western Europe, the population density is very low (5.5 persons per sq. km.). Most of the population speaks Russian; only half of ethnic Kazakhs speak Kazakh fluently, although it is enjoying a renaissance. Both Kazakh and Russian languages have official status.

Population: 15,185,844 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  26.73%
15-64 years:  66.03%
65 years and over:  7.24% 
Population growth rate: 0.03% 
Birth rate: 17.3 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 10.61 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -6.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 59.17 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  63.29 years
male:  57.87 years
female:  68.97
Total fertility rate: 2.07 children born/woman 
noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Ethnic groups: Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Uighur 1.4%, other 6.6% (1999 census)
Religions: Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
Languages: Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 40%, Russian (official, used in everyday business) 66%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 96% (1989 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Kazakhstan > Map Economy History