Demographics of Kyrgyzstan

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Demographics of Kyrgyzstan

Post  kosovohp on Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:54 pm

Kyrgyzstan's population is estimated at 5.2 million in 2007.[59] Of those, 34.4% are under the age of 15 and 6.2% are over 65. The country is rural: only about one-third of population live in urban areas. The average population density is 29 people per kmē (69 per square mile).

The nation's largest ethnic group are the Kyrgyz, a Turkic people, who comprise 69% of the population (2007 estimate). Other ethnic groups include Russians (9.0%) concentrated in the north and Uzbeks (14.5%) living in the south. Small but noticeable minorities include Tatars (1.9%), Uyghurs (1.1%), Tajiks (1.1%), Kazakhs (0.7%), and Ukrainians (0.5%) and other smaller ethnic minorities (1.7%). Kyrgyzstan has over 80 distinct ethnic groups in the country.[60]

The Kyrgyz have historically been semi-nomadic herders, living in round tents called yurts and tending sheep, horses and yaks. This nomadic tradition continues to function seasonally (see transhumance) as herding families return to the high mountain pasture (or jailoo) in the summer. The sedentary Uzbeks and Tajiks traditionally have farmed lower-lying irrigated land in the Fergana valley.[61]

Kyrgyzstan has undergone a pronounced change in its ethnic composition since independence.[62] The percentage of ethnic Kyrgyz increased from around 50% in 1979 to nearly 70% in 2007, while the percentage of European ethnic groups (Russians, Ukrainians and Germans) as well as Tatars dropped from 35% to about 10%.[59][63] The percentage of ethnic Russians dropped from 29.2% in 1970 to 21.5% in 1989.[64] Since 1991, huge numbers of Germans, who in 1989 numbered 101,000 persons, have been emigrating to Germany.[65] Between 1991 and 2002, more than 600,000 people emigrated from Kyrgyzstan and the ethnic minority population declined from 47 to 33 percent.

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