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Kazakhstan at a Glance

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2,669,800 sq km

Currency (code):

tenge (KZT)

Exchange rates:

tenge per US dollar - 122.55 (2007), 126.09 (2006), 132.88 (2005), 136.04 (2004), 149.58 (2003)


15,284,929 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 22.5% (male 1,758,782/female 1,683,249)
  • 15-64 years: 69.2% (male 5,169,314/female 5,407,661)
  • 65 years and over: 8.3% (male 446,549/female 819,374) (2007 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.352% (2007 est.)


Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%


Kazakhstan has a dry continental climate with extreme temperature variations. Long, harsh winters prevail in the north. Temperatures can dip to -40°F (-40°C); windstorms are common. Southern winters are shorter and less severe, but temperatures during the hot, dry summers can reach 104°F (40°C).


Kazakh became the state language in 1989, but Russian (which retains official status) is still widely spoken.

General Attitudes:

The people of Kazakhstan are generally modest and hospitable. Society has a long-standing heritage of respect for elders and generosity to all. Guests to a Kazakh home are greeted with the phrase Torge shygynyz (Have the seat of honor), which stems from the nomadic custom of seating a guest in the warmest place—the seat farthest from the door of a yurta (nomadic tent). Today, visitors are directed to an honorary seat. Younger generations value and respect their elders, who often live with their children or grandchildren.

Economic and other changes to society since independence have strained family and community life, though less today than they once did. A gap generally exists between young people who view the future optimistically and older generations who are nostalgic for more stable days under Soviet rule.


Men shake hands with other men, each clasping both hands around one of the other’s hands. Close friends and relatives often kiss cheeks when arriving at or leaving someone’s home. Common Kazakh greetings include Salemetsisba? (How do you do?) and Salem (Hi). Russians use Zdravstvuyte (Hello) or a less formal Privyet (Hi). 

In formal introductions, people usually use their first name, patronymic, and last name. The patronymic is based on one’s father’s first name and is modified with a male or female suffix. Last names come from the father’s side of the family but may have a male and female variant. For example, a husband and wife might have the last names Ismailov (male) and Ismailova (female). Schoolchildren address their female teachers with the title Apai; the male form is Agai.

Good friends of similar age usually address one another by first name. Elderly Kazakhs sometimes use the term Aynalayin (darling) to call to children. Russian speakers add diminutive endings to first names to form a term of endearment: a boy named Yuri might be called Yurka or Yurchik.

Labor force:

8.156 million (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

  • agriculture: 32.2%
  • industry: 18%
  • services: 49.8% (2005)

Unemployment rate:

7.3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

10.8% (2007)

Natural resources:

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


$44.88 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities:

oil and oil products 59%, ferrous metals 19%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)

Exports - partners:

Germany 12.4%, Russia 11.6%, China 10.9%, Italy 10.5%, France 7.6%, Romania 4.9% (2006)


$29.91 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Imports – commodities:

machinery and equipment 41%, metal products 28%, foodstuffs 8% (2001)

Imports - partners:

Russia 36.4%, China 19.3%, Germany 7.4% (2006)



Kazakhstan.” CultureGrams World Edition. 2008. ProQuest. <>.


Kazakhstan.” Factsheet. May, 2007. Economist Intelligence Unit. <>

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