Ethnic Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes with additional Persian cultural influences, migrated to the region in the 15th century. The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1925. Repression and starvation associated with forced agricultural collectivization led to a massive number of deaths in the 1930s. During the 1950s and 1960s, the agricultural "Virgin Lands" program led to an influx of settlers (mostly ethnic Russians, but also other nationalities) and at the time of Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, ethnic Kazakhs were a minority. Non-Muslim ethnic minorities departed Kazakhstan in large numbers from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s and a national program has repatriated about a million ethnic Kazakhs (from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, and the Xinjiang region of China) back to Kazakhstan. As a result of this shift, the ethnic Kazakh share of the population now exceeds two-thirds. Kazakhstan's economy is the largest in the Central Asian states, mainly due to the country's vast natural resources. Current issues include: diversifying the economy, obtaining membership in global and regional international economic institutions, enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness, and strengthening relations with neighboring states and foreign powers.



48.0° N, 68. 0° E
Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in easternmost Europe


2,724,900 sq km
2,699,700 sq km
25,200 sq km

land boundaries

13,364 km


0 km


continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid


vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases and deserts of Central Asia in the south


387 m
lowest point
Vpadina Kaundy
-132 m
highest point
Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri)
6,995 m

natural resources

  • major deposits of petroleum
  • natural gas
  • coal
  • iron ore
  • manganese
  • chrome ore
  • nickel
  • cobalt
  • copper
  • molybdenum
  • lead
  • zinc
  • bauxite
  • gold
  • uranium

land use

arable land
8.9 %
permanent crops
0 %
permanent pasture
68.5 %
1.2 %
21.4 %

population distribution

most of the country displays a low population density, particularly the interior; population clusters appear in urban agglomerations in the far northern and southern portions of the country



  • 19,091,949
  • 64
    global rank


  • Kazakhstani(s)
  • Kazakhstani

ethnic groups

68 %
19.3 %
3.2 %
1.5 %
1.5 %
1.1 %
1 %
4.4 %


  • Kazakh and trilingual ; Russian
    official, Qazaq; understand spoken language; Kazakh, Russian, English; official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication"; understand spoken language; 2009 est.


70.2 %
26.2 %
0.2 %
2.8 %
0.5 %

birth rate

  • 16.4
    per 1,000 population
  • 105
    global rank

death rate

  • 8.2
    per 1,000 population
  • 86
    global rank

urban population

57.7 %

major urban areas

  • Almaty
    pop. 1,896,000
  • Nur-Sultan
    pop. 1,896,000
  • Shimkent
    pop. 1,058,000

life expectancy

  • 72
    total population
  • 156
    global rank

adult obesity rate

  • 21%
    percent of adults
  • 94
    global rank


country name


  • Republic of Kazakhstan
    long form
  • Kazakhstan
    short form


  • Qazaqstan Respublikasy
    long form
  • Qazaqstan
    short form

government type

presidential republic


51.10 N, 71.25 E


national holidays

  • Independence Day
    16 December

legal system

civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and by the theory and practice of the Russian Federation

age of suffrage


flag description

a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle, both centered on a sky blue background; the hoist side displays a national ornamental pattern "koshkar-muiz" (the horns of the ram) in gold; the blue color is of religious significance to the Turkic peoples of the country, and so symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity; it also represents the endless sky as well as water; the sun, a source of life and energy, exemplifies wealth and plenitude; the sun's rays are shaped like grain, which is the basis of abundance and prosperity; the eagle has appeared on the flags of Kazakh tribes for centuries and represents freedom, power, and the flight to the future

national colors

  • blue
  • yellow

national anthem

"Menin Qazaqstanim" (My Kazakhstan)



Kazakhstan's vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of its economy. Geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, Kazakhstan, g possesses substantial fossil fuel reserves and other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. The government realizes that its economy suffers from an overreliance on oil and extractive industries and has made initial attempts to diversify its economy by targeting sectors like transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals and food processing for greater development and investment. It also adopted a Subsoil Code in December 2017 with the aim of increasing exploration and investment in the hydrocarbon, and particularly mining, sectors. Kazakhstan's oil production and potential is expanding rapidly. A $36.8 billion expansion of Kazakhstan’s premiere Tengiz oil field by Chevron-led Tengizchevroil should be complete in 2022. Meanwhile, the super-giant Kashagan field finally launched production in October 2016 after years of delay and an estimated $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan’s total oil production in 2017 climbed 10.5%. Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends on Russia to export its oil to Europe. It also exports oil directly to China. In 2010, Kazakhstan joined Russia and Belarus to establish a Customs Union in an effort to boost foreign investment and improve trade. The Customs Union evolved into a Single Economic Space in 2012 and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in January 2015. Supported by rising commodity prices, Kazakhstan’s exports to EAEU countries increased 30.2% in 2017. Imports from EAEU countries grew by 24.1%. The economic downturn of its EAEU partner, Russia, and the decline in global commodity prices from 2014 to 2016 contributed to an economic slowdown in Kazakhstan. In 2014, Kazakhstan devalued its currency, the tenge, and announced a stimulus package to cope with its economic challenges. In the face of further decline in the ruble, oil prices, and the regional economy, Kazakhstan announced in 2015 it would replace its currency band with a floating exchange rate, leading to a sharp fall in the value of the tenge. Since reaching a low of 391 to the dollar in January 2016, the tenge has modestly appreciated, helped by somewhat higher oil prices. While growth slowed to about 1% in both 2015 and 2016, a moderate recovery in oil prices, relatively stable inflation and foreign exchange rates, and the start of production at Kashagan helped push 2017 GDP growth to 4%. Despite some positive institutional and legislative changes in the last several years, investors remain concerned about corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement, especially at the regional and municipal levels. An additional concern is the condition of the country’s banking sector, which suffers from poor asset quality and a lack of transparency. Investors also question the potentially negative effects on the economy of a contested presidential succession as Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, turned 77 in 2017.


478,600,000,000 USD

agriculture products

  • grain
  • mostly spring wheat
  • barley
  • potatoes
  • vegetables
  • melons
  • livestock

poverty level



  • 35,480,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 38,300,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



    fixed lines

  • 3,350,900
    total subscriptions
  • 41
    global rank

    mobile cellular

  • 26,065,600
    total subscriptions
  • 48
    global rank

broadcast media

the state owns nearly all radio and TV transmission facilities and operates national TV and radio networks; there are 96 TV channels, many of which are owned by the government, and 4 state-run radio stations; some former state-owned media outlets have been privatized; households with satellite dishes have access to foreign media; a small number of commercial radio stations operate along with state-run radio stations; recent legislation requires all media outlets to register with the government and all TV providers to broadcast in digital format by 2018; broadcasts reach some 99% of the population as well as neighboring countries


country code


  • 14,789,448
  • 78.9
    % of population
  • 44
    global rank


electricity access



air transport

    national system

  • 10
    registered air carriers
  • 5,081,631
    annual passenger traffic


  • 96
  • 63


16,614 km
total length


95,409 km
total length


4,000 km
total length



expenditures here