Country Listing

Kyrgyzstan Table of Contents



Population: In 1994, estimated at 4.46 million; annual growth rate 1.9 percent; 1994 population density 22.6 people per square kilometer.

Ethnic Groups: In 1994, 52 percent Kyrgyz, 22 percent Russian, 13 percent Uzbek, 3 percent Ukrainian, 2 percent German.

Languages: Aggressive post-Soviet campaign to make Kyrgyz official national language in all commercial and government uses by 1997; Russian still used extensively, and non-Kyrgyz population, most not Kyrgyz speakers, hostile to forcible Kyrgyzification.

Religion: Dominant religion Sunni Muslim (70 percent), with heavy influence of tribal religions. Russian population largely Russian Orthodox.

Education and Literacy: Literacy 97 percent in 1994. Strong tradition of educating all citizens; ambitious program to restructure Soviet system hampered by low funding and loss of teachers. School attendance mandatory through grade nine. Kyrgyz increasingly used for instruction; transition from Russian hampered by lack of textbooks. Twenty-six institutions of higher learning.

Health: Transition from Soviet national health system to public health insurance system slowed by low funding. In 1990s, health professionals not well-trained; supplies, facilities, and equipment insufficient, unsanitary. Contaminated water a major health hazard.

Data as of March 1996