Uzbekistan Travel Information

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National Report for Nature Protection

Facts About Uzbekistan

Background: Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1925. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include insurgency by Islamic militants based in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, a non-convertible currency, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.
Government type: republic; effectively authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch; executive power concentrated in the presidency
Capital: Tashkent (Toshkent)
Currency: Uzbekistani som (UKS)

Geography of Uzbekistan

Location: Central Asia, north of Afghanistan
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E
Area:
total: 447,400 sq km
land: 425,400 sq km
water: 22,000 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 6,221 km
border countries: Afghanistan 137 km, Kazakhstan 2,203 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,099 km, Tajikistan 1,161 km, Turkmenistan 1,621 km
Coastline: 0 km
note: Uzbekistan includes the southern portion of the Aral Sea with a 420 km shoreline
Maritime claims: none (doubly landlocked)
Climate: mostly midlatitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in east
Terrain: mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Sirdaryo (Syr Darya), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Sariqarnish Kuli -12 m
highest point: Adelunga Toghi 4,301 m
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum
Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 41% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 40,000 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: drying up of the Aral Sea is resulting in growing concentrations of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then blown from the increasingly exposed lake bed and contribute to desertification; water pollution from industrial wastes and the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides is the cause of many human health disorders; increasing soil salination; soil contamination from agricultural chemicals, including DDT
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: along with Liechtenstein, one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world

People of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country. Its 24 million people, concentrated in the south and east of the country, are close to half the region's total population. Uzbekistan had been one of the poorest republics of the Soviet Union; much of its population was engaged in cotton farming in small rural communities. The population continues to be heavily rural and dependent on farming for its livelihood. The predominant ethnicity is Uzbek. Other ethnic groups include Russian 5.5%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 3%, Karakalpak 2.5%, Tatar 1.5%, other 2.5%. The nation is 88% Sunni Moslem, 9% Eastern Orthodox, and 3% other. Uzbek is the official state language; however, Russian is the de facto language for interethnic communication, including much day-to-day government and business use.

The educational system has achieved 99% literacy, and the mean amount of schooling for both men and women is 11 years. However, due to budget constraints and other transitional problems following the collapse of the Soviet Union, texts and other school supplies, teaching methods, curricula, and educational institutions are outdated, inappropriate, and poorly kept. Additionally, the proportion of school-aged persons enrolled has been dropping. Although the government is concerned about this, budgets remain tight. Similarly, in health care, life expectancy is long, but after the breakup of the Soviet Union, health care resources have declined, reducing health care quality, accessibility, and efficiency.

Population: 26,851,195 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% 
15-64 years: 58% 
65 years and over: 5%
Population growth rate: 1.6% 
Birth rate: 26.18 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 8.02 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -2.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 72.13 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.71 years
male: 60.09 years
female: 67.52 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.09 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Uzbekistani(s)
adjective: Uzbekistani
Ethnic groups: Uzbek 80%, Russian 5.5%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 3%, Karakalpak 2.5%, Tatar 1.5%, other 2.5% (1996 est.)
Religions: Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
Languages: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (yearend 1996)

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

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