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
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
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
Data as of March 1996