Measured by surface area, the Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland water body. It covers roughly 371,000 sq km (143,200 sq mi) and borders five countries. To the ancient Greeks and Persians, the lake's immense size suggested it was an ocean, hence its name. A large expanse of clear sky permitted this natural-color satellite image of the entire water body. The color of the Caspian Sea darkens from north to south, thanks to changes in depth and perhaps sediment and other runoff. The northern part of the lake is just 5 to 6 m (16 to 20 ft) deep. The southern end, however, plunges more than 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Just as the lake reaches a greater depth in the south, the nearby land reaches a greater height. The mountains of northern Iran line the southern end of the giant lake, and emerald green vegetation clings to those mountain slopes. In marked contrast to the mountains, sand seas line the southeastern and northern perimeters of the lake, and marshes occur along the lake shores in Azerbaijan to the west. Multiple rivers empty into the Caspian Sea, the Volga being the largest. Lacking an outlet, the Caspian Sea loses water only by evaporation, leading to the accumulation of salt. Although a lake, the Caspian is not a freshwater lake; the water delivered by the Volga River minimizes the lake's salt content at the northern end, but the Caspian grows more saline to the south. Kara-Bogaz-Gol is a saline inlet along the lake's eastern perimeter. Image courtesy of NASA.
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Ethnic Kazakhs derive from a mix of Turkic nomadic tribes that migrated to the region in the 15th century. The Kazakh steppe was conquered by the Russian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1925. Repression and starvation caused by forced agricultural collectivization led to more than a million deaths in the early 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 Central Asia, mainly due to the country's vast natural resources. Current issues include: diversifying the economy, attracting foreign direct investment, enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness, and strengthening economic relations with neighboring states and foreign powers.


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Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Oral) River in easternmost Europe

Geographic coordinates

48 00 N, 68 00 E


total: 2,724,900 sq km

land: 2,699,700 sq km

water: 25,200 sq km

country comparison to the world: 10

Area - comparative

slightly less than four times the size of Texas

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 13,364 km

border countries (5): China 1,765 km; Kyrgyzstan 1,212 km; Russia 7,644 km; Turkmenistan 413 km; Uzbekistan 2,330 km


0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


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


highest point: Pik Khan-Tengri 7,010 m
note - the northern most 7,000 meter peak in the World

lowest point: Qauyndy Oyysy -132 m

mean elevation: 387 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

agricultural land: 77.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 68.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.2% (2018 est.)

other: 21.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

18,099 sq km (2020)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Ozero Balkhash - 22,000 sq km; Ozero Zaysan - 1,800 sq km

salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Russia) - 374,000 sq km; Aral Sea (north) - 3,300 sq km; Ozero Alakol - 2,650 sq km; Ozero Teniz 1,590 sq km; Ozero Seletytenzi - 780 sq km; Ozero Sasykkol - 740 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Syr Darya river mouth (shared with Kyrgyzstan [s], Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) - 3,078 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Tarim Basin (1,152,448 sq km), Amu Darya (534,739 sq km), Syr Darya (782,617 sq km), Lake Balkash (510,015 sq km)

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

Natural hazards

earthquakes in the south; mudslides around Almaty

Geography - note

world's largest landlocked country and one of only two landlocked countries in the world that extends into two continents (the other is Azerbaijan); Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baikonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050

People and Society


noun: Kazakhstani(s)

adjective: Kazakhstani

Ethnic groups

Kazakh (Qazaq) 68%, Russian 19.3%, Uzbek 3.2%, Ukrainian 1.5%, Uighur 1.5%, Tatar 1.1%, German 1%, other 4.4% (2019 est.)


Kazakh (official, Qazaq) 83.1% (understand spoken language) and trilingual (Kazakh, Russian, English) 22.3% (2017 est.); Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 94.4% (understand spoken language) (2009 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Әлемдік деректер кітабы, негізгі ақпараттың таптырмайтын көзі. (Kazakh)

Книга фактов о мире – незаменимый источник  базовой информации. (Russian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Kazakh audio sample:
Russian audio sample:


Muslim 70.2%, Christian 26.2% (mainly Russian Orthodox), other 0.2%, atheist 2.8%, unspecified 0.5% (2009 est.)

Demographic profile

Nearly 40% of Kazakhstan’s population is under the age of 25.  Like many former Soviet states, Kazakhstan’s total fertility rate (TFR) – the average number of births per woman – decreased after independence amidst economic problems and fell below replacement level, 2.1.  However, in the late 2000s, as the economy improved and incomes rose, Kazakhstan experienced a small baby boom and TFR reached 2.5.  TFR has since fallen and is now just over 2.1.  Mortality rates are also decreasing and life expectancy is rising, signs that Kazakhstan’s demographic transition is progressing. 

Kazakhstan has a diverse population consisting of Asian ethnic groups (predominantly Kazakhs, as well as Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Tatars) and ethnic Europeans (mainly Russians but also Ukrainians and Germans).  Approximately two thirds of Kazakhstan’s population today is Kazakh.  During the mid-20th century, as Kazakhstan industrialized, waves of ethnic Russians and deportees from other parts of the Soviet Union arrived.  Eventually, the ethnic Russian population outnumbered the Kazakhs.  In the 1990s, following Kazakhstan’s independence, Russian and other ethnic Europeans began emigrating, while some ethnic Kazakhs (referred to as Oralmans) returned to their homeland from neighboring countries, China, and Mongolia.  As a result, the country’s ethnic make-up changed, and a Kazakh majority was reestablished.

In recent years, Kazakhstan has shifted from being mainly a migrant-sending country to a migrant-receiving country.  Due to its oil-driven economic boom, Kazakhstan has become a more popular destination.  The country needs highly skilled workers in the industrial, business, and education sectors and low-skilled labor in agriculture, markets, services, and construction.  Kazakhstan is increasingly reliant on migrant workers, primarily from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, to fill its labor shortage.  At the same time, highly skilled Kazakhs continue to emigrate, mostly to Russia, seeking higher salaries or further education.

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.13% (male 2,438,148/female 2,550,535)

15-24 years: 12.97% (male 1,262,766/female 1,212,645)

25-54 years: 42.23% (male 3,960,188/female 4,102,845)

55-64 years: 10.25% (male 856,180/female 1,099,923)

65 years and over: 8.43% (male 567,269/female 1,041,450) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 60

youth dependency ratio: 47.2

elderly dependency ratio: 12.7

potential support ratio: 7.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 31.6 years

male: 30.3 years

female: 32.8 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Birth rate

15.38 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Death rate

8.11 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Net migration rate

0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

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


urban population: 58.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.987 million Almaty, 1.291 million NUR-SULTAN (capital), 1.155 million Shimkent (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 0.94 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.78 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.35 male(s)/female

total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.9 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

10 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Infant mortality rate

total: 19.18 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 21.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.53 years

male: 67.43 years

female: 77.31 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 152

Contraceptive prevalence rate

53% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 18-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 93.8% of population

total: 97.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 6.2% of population

total: 2.6% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

2.8% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

3.98 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

6.1 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 99.9% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0.1% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 3.73 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 2.52 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.16 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.05 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 100

Tobacco use

total: 23.2% (2020 est.)

male: 39.6% (2020 est.)

female: 6.7% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 63


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 16 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 3.8%

male: 3.4%

female: 4.2% (2020 est.)


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; desertification; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 11.32 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 247.21 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 45.03 megatons (2020 est.)


continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Land use

agricultural land: 77.4% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 68.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.2% (2018 est.)

other: 21.4% (2018 est.)


urban population: 58.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.19% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.99% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4,659,740 tons (2012 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 136,064 tons (2012 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 2.9% (2012 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Ozero Balkhash - 22,000 sq km; Ozero Zaysan - 1,800 sq km

salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Russia) - 374,000 sq km; Aral Sea (north) - 3,300 sq km; Ozero Alakol - 2,650 sq km; Ozero Teniz 1,590 sq km; Ozero Seletytenzi - 780 sq km; Ozero Sasykkol - 740 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Syr Darya river mouth (shared with Kyrgyzstan [s], Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) - 3,078 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Tarim Basin (1,152,448 sq km), Amu Darya (534,739 sq km), Syr Darya (782,617 sq km), Lake Balkash (510,015 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 2.347 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 6.984 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 15.12 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

108.41 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan

conventional short form: Kazakhstan

local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy

local short form: Qazaqstan

former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name "Kazakh" may derive from the Turkic word "kaz" meaning "to wander," recalling the Kazakh's nomadic lifestyle; the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Kazakhstan literally means "Land of the Wanderers"

Government type

presidential republic


name: Astana

geographic coordinates: 51 10 N, 71 25 E

time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: Kazakhstan has two time zones

etymology: the name means "capital city" in Kazakh

note: on 17 September 2022, Kazakhstan changed the name of its capital city from Nur-Sultan back to Astana; this was not the first time the city had its name changed; founded in 1830 as Akmoly, it became Akmolinsk in 1832, Tselinograd in 1961, Akmola (Aqmola) in 1992, Astana in 1998, and Nur-Sultan in 2019; the latest name change occurred just three and a half years after the city was renamed to honor a long-serving (28-year) former president, who subsequently fell out of favor

Administrative divisions

17 provinces (oblystar, singular - oblys) and 4 cities* (qalalar, singular - qala); Abay (Semey), Almaty (Qonaev), Almaty*, Aqmola (Kokshetau), Aqtobe, Astana*, Atyrau, Batys Qazaqstan [West Kazakhstan] (Oral), Bayqongyr*, Mangghystau (Aqtau), Pavlodar, Qaraghandy, Qostanay, Qyzylorda, Shyghys Qazaqstan [East Kazakhstan] (Oskemen), Shymkent*, Soltustik Qazaqstan [North Kazakhstan] (Petropavl), Turkistan, Ulytau (Zhezqazghan), Zhambyl (Taraz), Zhetisu (Taldyqorghan)

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995, the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period of 20 years an area of 6,000 sq km enclosing the Baikonur space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (Baikonur, formerly Leninsk); in 2004, a new agreement extended the lease to 2050


16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 16 December (1991)


history: previous 1937, 1978 (preindependence), 1993; latest approved by referendum 30 August 1995, effective 5 September 1995

amendments: introduced by a referendum initiated by the president of the republic, on the recommendation of Parliament, or by the government; the president has the option of submitting draft amendments to Parliament or directly to a referendum; passage of amendments by Parliament requires four-fifths majority vote of both houses and the signature of the president; passage by referendum requires absolute majority vote by more than one half of the voters in at least two thirds of the oblasts, major cities, and the capital, followed by the signature of the president; amended several times, last in 2019

Legal system

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

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kazakhstan

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV (since 20 March 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Alikhan SMAILOV (since 11 January 2022); note - Prime Minister Askar MAMIN resigned on 5 January 2022 in the wake of massive protests of his government that began 2 January 2022 following a sudden, steep rise in gasoline prices

cabinet: the president appoints ministers after consultations with the Chair of the Security Council; the president has veto power over all appointments except for the ministers of defense, internal affairs, and foreign affairs; however, the president is required to discuss these three offices with the National Security Committee

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (prior to September 2022, the president of Kazakhstan could serve up to two terms of five years each; the legislation was changed in September 2022, reducing the maximum number of terms to one term of seven years); election last held on 20 November 2022 (next to be held in 2029); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president, approved by the Mazhilis

election results: 2022: Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV elected president; percent of vote - Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV (Nur Otan) 81.3%, Jiguli DAIRABAEV 3.4%, Qaraqat ABDEN 2.6%, Meiram QAJYKEN 2.5%, Nurian AUESBAEV 2.2%, Saltanat TURSYNBEKOVA 2.1%, other 5.8%

2019: Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV elected president; percent of vote - Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV (Nur Otan) 71%, Amirzhan KOSANOV (Ult Tagdyry) 16.2%, Daniya YESPAYEVA (Ak Zhol) 5.1%, other 7.7%

1991: Nursultan NAZARBAYEV elected the first president of Kazakhstan; percent of vote 98.8%, other 1.2%


Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (49 seats statutory, 48 as of October 2021); 34 members indirectly elected by 2-round majority vote by the oblast-level assemblies and 15 members appointed by decree of the president; members serve 6-year terms, with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years)
Mazhilis (107 seats; 98 members directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 9 indirectly elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, a 351-member, presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities)

Senate - last held on 12 August 2020 (next to be held in August 2023)
Mazhilis - last held on 10 January 2021 (next to be held in 2026)

election results:  
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition (as of October 2021) - men 39, women 9, percent of women 18.4%
Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur Otan 71.1%, Ak Zhol 11%, QHP 9.1%, other 8.8%; seats by party - Nur Otan 76, Ak Zhol 12, QHP 10; composition (as of October 2021) - men 78, women 29, percent of women 27.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 24.4%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of 44 members); Constitutional Council (consists of the chairperson and 6 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council and confirmed by the Senate; judges normally serve until age 65 but can be extended to age 70; Constitutional Council - the president of the republic, the Senate chairperson, and the Mazhilis chairperson each appoints 2 members for a 6-year term; chairperson of the Constitutional Council appointed by the president for a 6-year term

subordinate courts: regional and local courts

Political parties and leaders

Adal [Serik SULTANGALI] (formerly Birlik (Unity) Party)
Ak Zhol (Bright Path) Party or Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol [Azat PERUASHEV]
Amanat [Erlan QOSANOV] (formerly Nur Otan (Radiant Fatherland))
National Social Democratic Party or NSDP [Ashat Nurmagambetuly RAHYMJANOV]
People's Democratic (Patriotic) Party or Auyl or AHDPP [Ali BEKTAYEV]
People's Party of Kazakhstan or QHP [Eruhamet ERTISBAEV]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Yerzhan ASHIKBAYEV (since 7 July 2021)

chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488

FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Judy KUO (since October 2021)

embassy: Rakhymzhan Koshkarbayev Avenue, No. 3, Nur-Sultan 010010

mailing address: 2230 Nur-Sultan Place, Washington DC  20521-2230

telephone: [7] (7172) 70-21-00

FAX: [7] (7172) 54-09-14

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Almaty

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 symbol(s)

golden eagle; national colors: blue, yellow

National anthem

name: "Menin Qazaqstanim" (My Kazakhstan)

lyrics/music: Zhumeken NAZHIMEDENOV and Nursultan NAZARBAYEV/Shamshi KALDAYAKOV

note: adopted 2006; President Nursultan NAZARBAYEV played a role in revising the lyrics

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 5 (3 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (c); Petroglyphs at Tanbaly (c); Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (n); Silk Roads: the Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (c); Western Tien-Shan (n)


Economic overview

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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$475.18 billion (2020 est.)

$487.87 billion (2019 est.)

$466.86 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 40

Real GDP growth rate

6.13% (2019 est.)

4.41% (2018 est.)

4.38% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Real GDP per capita

$25,300 (2020 est.)

$26,400 (2019 est.)

$25,500 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 75

GDP (official exchange rate)

$181.194 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.2% (2019 est.)

6% (2018 est.)

7.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 183

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB (2016)

Moody's rating: Baa3 (2016)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB- (2016)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 34.1% (2017 est.)

services: 61.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 4.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 35.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -27.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

wheat, milk, potatoes, barley, watermelons, melons, linseed, onions, maize, sunflower seed


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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 18.1%

industry: 20.4%

services: 61.6% (2017 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.2%

highest 10%: 23.3% (2016)


revenues: 35.48 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 38.3 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

20.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

19.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 187

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$7.206 billion (2019 est.)

-$138 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189


$51.75 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$65.91 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$67.15 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 55

Exports - partners

China 13%, Italy 12%, Russia 10%, Netherlands 7%, France 6%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, copper, iron alloys, radioactive chemicals (2019)


$44.3 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$51.5 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$46.23 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 63

Imports - partners

Russia 34%, China 24% (2019)

Imports - commodities

packaged medicines, natural gas, cars, broadcasting equipment, aircraft (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$30.75 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$29.53 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50

Debt - external

$159.351 billion (2019 est.)

$163.73 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Exchange rates

tenge (KZT) per US dollar -

420.0049 (2020 est.)

385.9248 (2019 est.)

370.4648 (2018 est.)

221.73 (2014 est.)

179.19 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


installed generating capacity: 25.022 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 92,133,960,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 2.419 billion kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 1.935 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 9.689 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 88.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 10.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 102.338 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 74.819 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 3.002 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 993,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 25.605 billion metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 1,864,900 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 320,600 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 1,531,600 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 30 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 25,785,505,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 14,557,101,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 16,418,081,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 7,713,978,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 2,406,928,000,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

263.689 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 195.926 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 39.205 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 28.557 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3.091 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 24,293,900 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 129 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Kazakhstan has one of the most developed telecommunications sectors in the Central Asian region; this is especially true of the mobile segment, where widespread network coverage has enabled very high penetration rates reaching 180% as far back as 2012; the mobile and fixed-line segments have both pared back their subscriber numbers to more modest levels; the telcos have still been successful in terms of improving their margins and revenues by growing value-added services along with exploiting the capabilities of their higher speed networks (4G LTE as well as fiber) to drive significant increases in data usage; Kazakhstan has enjoyed a  high fixed-line teledensity thanks to concerted efforts to invest in the fixed-line infrastructure as well as next-generation networks; demand for traditional voice services is on the wane as customers take a preference for the flexibility and ubiquity of the mobile platform for voice as well as data services; mobile clearly dominates the telecom sector in Kazakhstan, yet 2020 saw a sharp drop in subscriber numbers for both mobile voice and mobile broadband services as the Covid-19 crisis took hold; with the exception of fixed-line voice services, Kazakhstan’s telecom market is expected to return to moderate growth from 2022 onward; the extensive deployment of LTE networks across the country (along with the prospect of 5G services being added to the mix in 2023) points towards an even greater uptake of lucrative mobile broadband services, in particular (2021)

domestic: intercity by landline and microwave radio relay; number of fixed-line connections is approximately 16 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscriber base 129 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 7; international traffic with other former Soviet republics and China carried by landline and microwave radio relay and with other countries by satellite and by the TAE fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

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 (2018)

Internet users

total: 16,465,777 (July 2022 est.)

percent of population: 86% (July 2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,620,400 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 12 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 84

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 7,143,797 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 50.22 million (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 63

over 3,047 m: 10

2,438 to 3,047 m: 25

1,524 to 2,437 m: 15

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 8 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 33

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 13 (2021)


3 (2021)


658 km condensate, 15,429 km gas (2020), 8,020 km oil (2020), 1,095 km refined products, 1,975 km water (2017) (2020)


total: 16,636 km (2020)

broad gauge: 16,636 km (2020) 1.520-m gauge (4,237 km electrified)

country comparison to the world: 18


total: 96,167 km (2021)

paved: 83,813 km (2021)

unpaved: 12,354 km (2021)

country comparison to the world: 50


43,983 km (2020) (on the Ertis (Irtysh) River (80%) and Syr Darya (Syrdariya) River)

country comparison to the world: 4

Merchant marine

total: 119

by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 7, other 109 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 82

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Caspian Sea - Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev)

river port(s): Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk) (Irtysh River)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces; Ministry of Internal Affairs: National Police; Committee for National Security: Border Service (2022)

Military expenditures

1% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.1% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $3.6 billion)

0.9% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $3.06 billion)

0.8% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $2.85 billion)

country comparison to the world: 129

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 40,000 active duty personnel (25,000 Land Forces; 3,000 Naval Forces; 12,000 Air and Air Defense Forces) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Kazakh military's inventory is comprised of mostly older Russian and Soviet-era equipment; since 2010, Russia has been the leading supplier of weapons systems (2022)

Military service age and obligation

all men 18-27 are required to serve in the military for 12-24 months (2022)

Military - note

Kazakhstan has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and contributes troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Kazakhstan-China: in 1998, Kazakhstan and China agreed to split two disputed border areas nearly evenly; demarcation with China completed in 2002

Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan: in January 2019, Kyrgyzstan ratified the 2017 agreement on the demarcation of the Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border

Kazakhstan-Russia: Russia boundary delimitation was ratified on November 2005; field demarcation commenced in 2007 and was expected to be completed by 2013

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a treaty on the delimitation and demarcation process in 2001; field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2005; Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to their border in the Caspian Sea in 2014

Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan: field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2004; disputed territory is held by Uzbekistan but the overwhelming majority of residents are ethnic Kazakhs; the two countries agreed on draft final demarcation documents in March 2022 and planned to hold another meeting in April 2022

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 7,915 (mid-year 2021)

Illicit drugs

synthetic drugs dominate the local illicit drug market, smuggled from Southeast Asia, China, Russia and Europe; however the number of domestic clandestine laboratories producing synthetic drugs continues to increase;  remains a transit country for Afghan heroin destined for Russia and Europe.