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HomeKyrgyzstan - People
    P E O P L E
over 5,000,000 (2003 est.)
   Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 843,038; female 825,519)
15-64 years: 58% (male 1,337,268; female 1,393,397)
65 years and over: 6% (male 107,405; female 178,603) (2000 est.)
   Population growth rate:
1.43% (2000 est.)
   Birth rate:
26.29 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
   Death rate:
9.15 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
   Net migration rate:
-2.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
   Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
   Infant mortality rate:
77.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
   Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.37 years
male: 59.06 years
female: 67.9 years (2000 est.)
   Total fertility rate:
3.22 children born/woman (2000 est.)
   Ethnic groups:
Kirghiz 52.4%, Russian 18%, Uzbek 12.9%, Ukrainian 2.5%, German 2.4%, other 11.8%
Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Kirghiz (Kyrgyz) - official language, Russian - official language
  • note: in March 1996, the Kyrgyzstani legislature amended the constitution to make Russian an official language, along with Kirghiz, in territories and work places where Russian-speaking citizens predominate

  •    Literacy:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 97%
    male: 99%
    female: 96% (1989 est.)

    The native Kyrgyz are Turkic people who were traditionally pastoral nomads. The Kyrgyz are one of the ancient peoples. The first historical data about them refer back to 201 A.D. The Kyrgyz people migrated from the region of the upper Enisei and China to settle in the area that is now Kyrgyzstan in about the 16th century. The region was conquered by Mongolians in the late 17th century, and came under the Kokand khanate in the 19th century. Tsarist Russian forces defeated the khanate in 1876, and incorporated present-day Kyrgyzstan into the Russian Empire. From time to time the territory of Kyrgyzstan became the arena for battles by various states for domination in the region. That time and events are well depicted in the unique masterpiece - epos Manas, which reflected the ancient history of the Kyrgyz people and their social life covering the period of millennium. The epos "Manas" is the national pride of the Kyrgyz people, the peak of their spiritual life, which they inherited from their ancestors. The main occupation of the Kyrgyz was agriculture and animal husbandry (horse and sheep breeding). For centuries, horses were the principal "mean of conveyance" of the Kyrgyz people. Nowadays horses are still used as carriers in remote areas and villages. The Kyrgyz are tireless riders able to be in a saddle for a long time, riding over passes, crossing rushing rivers or riding up or down steep slopes. For centuries, the nomadic people of Central Asia have lived in portable, circular dwellings known as yurts. The yurts were easy to assemble and transport. They were warm in cold and cool in summer. The yurts are used by Kyrgyz people until now but only during summer pasture time or during celebrations or funerals. The ground of yurts, traditionally, is covered with felt rugs ("koshma") and walls are decorated with felt shyrdaks and other decorative bands. The Kyrgyz people wear both Western-style and traditional clothing. Traditional clothing for men includes a padded or a sheepskin coat, boots, and a white felt hat with black or red flaps ("ak-kolpak"). Married women often wear a white turban made of a long scarf. Kyrgyz food shows the effect of its location and history. Traditional Kyrgyz foods include shorpo (mutton and vegetable soup), and besh barmak (lamb and noodles). Popular milk products include cheese, ayran (a yogurtlike drink), and kumiss (fermented mare's milk)). The Kyrgyz and the Kazakhs are almost alone among Central Asian peoples in eating horse meat; only young mares are used and they are fed on the Alpine grasses, which are thought to impart a particularly good flavor. In ancient times, polygamy was quite common among Kyrgyz. Number of wives depended on man's welfare. Women's kidnapping had frequently occurred. Nowadays those traditions are in the past and families became monogamy. The Kyrgyz profess Islam, though it has sat relatively lightly on the Kyrgyz people. During Kokand khanate, confession of Islam became more active. Nowadays a new burst of religiosity is observed. Mosques are being built nation-wide and religion schools are opening. Since Kyrgyzstan is a multi-ethnic country, apart from Islam some other religions are spread as well (Christianity, Judaism, etc.)
    Counters Contact Links
    Kyrgyz Republic, zip code 722360, Karakol city, Kasym Kadyrov str. 55,
    Ltd Tour Khan-Tengri
    Tel/Fax: (996) 3922 2-72-69
    Tel:        (996) 3922 2-65-59
    Sites about Kyrgyzstan:
    General information about Kyrgyzstan (eng)
    Victor Velikorodov photogallery (rus, de)
    Karakol photogallery (rus)
    TDS about Kyrgyzstan (eng)
    About holidays (eng)
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