Demography - Kyrgyz'What?


Kyrgyzstan counts around 6 million inhabitants, most of them are rural. Kyrgyzstan has a very young population with 30% of people under 15 years old, and only 5% above 65 years old. The average age in Kyrgyzstan is 24.

The population of Kyrgyzstan has a majority of Kyrgyz, but is composed of many different ethnic groups and nationalities.

Demographic data

Total population: 5 957 000

Natural increase: 2,1%

Urban population: 35,7%

Density: 31 habitants/km²

Average age : 24,0 ans

Life expectation :

- Men: 65,5 y.o. - Women: 72,7 ans

Employment: 71,2% (Source : UN, 2014)

Ethnic groups:

Kyrgyz: around 71%,

Uzbek: around 15%,

Russian: around 8%,

Dungan, Ukrainians, Uighurs, and other ethnic groups make up around 6% of the population

Religion: Muslims 75%, orthodox (Russian) 20%, others 5%


The Kyrgyz are descendents of Turkish ethnic group. After having traveled for many centuries, from Siberia near the Yenisei River, Kyrgyz finally settled in the Altay and in Dzungaria.

They united with the Russian empire to escape the Kokand Empire, and settled, at the time, in the north of current Kyrgyzstan. Then, after Russian victory on the Kokand Empire, Kyrgyz settled in the south and created Turkestan, which united the lands of Semiretchie, Syr-Daria, Fergana and Samarkand.

In 1916, some Kyrgyz fled soviet oppression to neighboring States. That is why you can find some today in China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The Kyrgyz are today sedentary, but keep their nomad traditions and raise their herds in the mountain jailoos (pastures) in the summer.

Kyrgyz are the major ethnic group in Kyrgyzstan, and their number continues to grow since independence. They are mostly Muslim, but have kept their shamanist traditions.

Other ethnic groups

Kyrgyzstan is a land home to many different ethnic groups.

Uzbek: this ethnic group descends from the Turks and mostly lives in the Fergana Valley. Uzbeks make up the largest minority of Kyrgyzstan, forming around 15% of the population. In the south, they count for almost half of the population and more than 90% in the village of Arslanbob. Uzbeks are Muslim Sunnites.

Even though Kyrgyz and Uzbek live together in harmony nowadays, they have known deadly ethnic confrontations in 1990 and in 2010.

Russians: They make up around 8% of the population of Kyrgyzstan. They were more before, but they continue to emigrate since independence. They are mostly in the north of the country and in the capital, Bishkek.

Uighurs: they represent only 1% of the population. They mostly come from the autonomous province of Xinjiang in China. Many fled their country due to political repression. Uighurs are a Muslim Chinese minority. Their religion allowed them to easily settle in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Dungans: Like Uighurs, this minority fled China to seek refuge in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.


Kyrgyzstan used to have Russian as the official language. However, since its independence, it adopted Kyrgyz as the national language. They are both official languages of Kyrgyzstan.

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