Country: KAZAKHSTANkazakhstan

Capital: Astana

Geographic Coordinates: 48 00 N, 68 00 E

Population: 15,460,484 (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Islam, Russian Orthodox

Language: Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian

Government Type: Republic; authoritarian presidential rule

Head of State:  President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991); Prime Minister Karim MASIMOV

Main Industries: oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials

GDP in US Dollars (per capita): $11,800 (2009 est.)

Currency Code:  Kazakh tenge (KZT)

Life Expectancy: 62 years (men), 72 years (women) (UN)

Environment - current issues: Radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; Because the two main rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; Pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices

Issues facing Women and Children: 
  • Lack of information regarding early childhood development, breastfeeding, care of sick children and nutrition for pregnant and lactating women is common in many Kazakh families. Even some healthcare workers lack basic information. About 75,000 children live in institutions, according to UNICEF. 
  • The under-five mortality rate is 73 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • HIV infection is on the rise because of the proliferation of intravenous drug users and the high numbers of sex workers. As of December 2006, the National HIV/AIDS centre registered 7,088 cases of HIV/AIDS in the country. The WHO estimates that up to 35,000 people could be living with HIV/AIDS.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: N

Local Media: Press: Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, Yegemen Qazaqstan, Zhas Alash, Liter; Radio and TV: Khabar TV, Kazakh TV, Kazakh Commercial TV (KTK), Channel 31 TV, Caspionet, Eurasia TV

Interesting Fact: Kazakhstan covers a land area equivalent to the whole of Western Europe. South-east Kazakhstan is the place where apples were first cultivated and from where they spread around the world. The nearby city of Almaty is even named after the Kazakh for 'apple'.

Famous for: Mukhtar Awezov (writer), Saryarka Steppe, Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, horsemeat, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"