Photos of Kazakhstan

Aerial view of Almaty. Almaty, formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verny, is the largest, most populated city in Kazakhstan. It served as capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and later independent Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997. Almaty is still a major commercial and cultural center; it is located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan near the border with Kyrgyzstan in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau. Almaty has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.

Introduction

Background

Ethnic Kazakhs derive from a mix of Turkic nomadic tribes that migrated to the region in the 15th century. The Russian Empire conquered the Kazakh steppe in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1925. Forced agricultural collectivization led to repression and starvation, resulting in more than a million deaths in the early 1930s. During the 1950s and 1960s, the agricultural "Virgin Lands" program generated an influx of settlers -- mostly ethnic Russians, but also other nationalities -- and by the time of Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991, ethnic Kazakhs were a minority. However, 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) 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.

 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Area

total: 2,724,900 sq km

land: 2,699,700 sq km

water: 25,200 sq km

comparison ranking: total 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

Coastline

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)

Climate

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

Population

total: 20,260,006

male: 9,817,172

female: 10,442,834 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 63; male 64; total 64

Nationality

noun: Kazakhstani(s)

adjective: Kazakhstani

Ethnic groups

Kazakh 71%, Russian 14.9%, Uzbek 3.3%, Ukrainian 1.9%, Uyghurs 1.5%, German 1.1%, Tatar 1.1%, other 4.9%, unspecified 0.3% (2023 est.)

Languages

Kazakh (official, Qazaq) 80.1% (understand spoken language), Russian (understand spoken language) 83.7%, English (understand spoken language) 35.1% (2021 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:

Religions

Muslim 69.3%, Christian 17.2% (Orthodox 17%, other 0.2%), Buddhism 0.1%, other 0.1%, non-believers 2.3%, unspecified 11% (2021 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: 27.6% (male 2,883,200/female 2,712,772)

15-64 years: 62.8% (male 6,233,881/female 6,486,019)

65 years and over: 9.6% (2024 est.) (male 700,091/female 1,244,043)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 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: 31.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 30 years

female: 33.8 years

comparison ranking: total 121

Population growth rate

0.86% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 106

Birth rate

17.2 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 89

Death rate

8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 84

Net migration rate

-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

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

Urbanization

urban population: 58.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

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

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.56 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.9 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

13 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 139

Infant mortality rate

total: 8 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 146

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 69 years

female: 77.9 years

comparison ranking: total population 151

Total fertility rate

2.58 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 66

Gross reproduction rate

1.25 (2024 est.)

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

3.8% of GDP (2020)

Physician 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.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21% (2016)

comparison ranking: 94

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.)

comparison ranking: total 100

Tobacco use

total: 23.2% (2020 est.)

male: 39.6% (2020 est.)

female: 6.7% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 63

Education expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 97

Literacy

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)

Environment

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 58.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Revenue from coal

0.99% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 6

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 26.5 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 247.21 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 45.03 megatons (2020 est.)

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: 4.62 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 4.54 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 15.4 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

108.41 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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

Capital

name: Astana

geographic coordinates: 51 10 N, 71 25 E

time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: On 1 March 2024, Kazakhstan moved from two time zones to using one time zone

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

Independence

16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 16 December (1991)

Constitution

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 2022

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: Prime Minister Olzhas BEKTENOV (since 6 February 2024)

cabinet: the president appoints ministers based on the prime minister's recommendations; the president has veto power over all appointments and independently appoints the ministers of defense, internal affairs, and foreign affairs

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 7-year term (prior to September 2022, the president of Kazakhstan could serve up to two 5-year terms; legislation passed in September 2022 reduced the maximum number of terms to one 7-year term); 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: 2024: Olzhas BEKTENOV elected as prime minister; 69-0 in parliament

2022
: Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Kassym-Jomart TOKAYEV (Amanat) 81.3%, Zhiguli DAYRABAEV (Auyl) 3.4%, Qaraqat or Karakat ÄBDEN (KÄQŪA) 2.6%, Meyram KAZHYKEN (Amanat) 2.5%, Nurlan AUYESBAYEV (NSDP) 2.2%, Saltanat TURSYNBEKOVA (QA-DJ) 2.1%, other 5.8%

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

note: Prime Minister Alikhan SMAILOV resigned on 5 February 2024

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan consists of:
Senate (50 seats); 40 members indirectly elected by 2-round majority vote by the oblast-level assemblies and 10 members appointed by decree of the president; members serve 6-year terms, with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years)
Mazhilis (98 seats; 69 members directly elected in a single national constituency by party list proportional representation vote (5% minimum threshold to gain seats) and 29 directly elected in single-seat constituencies to serve 5-year terms

elections: Senate - last held on 14 January 2023 (next to be held in 2026)
Mazhilis - last held on 19 March 2023 (next to be held in 2026)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 38, women 12, percentage women 24%

Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur Otan 53.9%, Auvl 10.9%, Respublica 8.6%, Ak Zhol 8.4%, QHP 6.8%, NSDP 5.2%, Baytak 2.3%, Against all 3.9%; percent of vote by party (single-mandate districts) - Nur Otan 75.9%, independent 24%; seats by party - Nur Otan 62, Auvl 8, Respublica 6, Ak Zhol 6, QHP 5, NSDP 4, independent 7; composition - men 79, women 19, percentage women 18.4%; note - total Parliament percentage women 20.9%

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

Ak Zhol (Bright Path) Party or Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol [Azat PERUASHEV]
Amanat Party [Yerlan KOSHANOV] (formerly Nur Otan (Radiant Fatherland))
Baytak (Boundless) Party [Azamatkhan AMIRTAY]
National Social Democratic Party or NSDP [Askhat RAKHIMZHANOV]
People's Democratic (Patriotic) Party or Auyl or AHDPP [Ali BEKTAYEV]
People's Party of Kazakhstan or QHP [Yermkhamet YERTYSBAYEV]
Respublica Party [Avdarbek KHODZHANAZAROV]

International organization participation

ADB, CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEU, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EITI (compliant country), FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHRC, UNIDO, UN Security Council (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

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:
washington@mfa.kz

https://www.gov.kz/memleket/entities/mfa-washington?lang=en

consulate(s) general: New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel N. ROSENBLUM (since 14 November 2022)

embassy: Rakhymzhan Koshkarbayev Avenue, No. 3, Astana 010010

mailing address: 2230 Astana Place, Washington DC  20521-2230

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

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

email address and website:
USAKZ@state.gov

https://kz.usembassy.gov/

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: 6 (3 cultural, 3 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); Cold Winter Deserts of Turan (n)

Economy

Economic overview

oil and gas giant, with growing international investment; domestic economy hit hard by COVID-19 disruptions; reforming civil society and improving business confidence; legacy state controls and Russian influence inhibit growth and autonomy

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$512.002 billion (2022 est.)
$496.126 billion (2021 est.)
$475.672 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 41

Real GDP growth rate

3.2% (2022 est.)
4.3% (2021 est.)
-2.5% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 131

Real GDP per capita

$26,100 (2022 est.)
$26,100 (2021 est.)
$25,400 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 78

GDP (official exchange rate)

$225.496 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

8.04% (2021 est.)
6.77% (2020 est.)
5.25% (2019 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 130

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.)

comparison rankings: services 112; industry 49; agriculture 128

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, sunflower seeds, cantaloupes/melons, onions, maize, linseed (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

4.15% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 93

Labor force

9.481 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 57

Unemployment rate

4.86% (2022 est.)
5.57% (2021 est.)
4.89% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 98

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 3.7% (2021 est.)

male: 3.3%

female: 4.3%

comparison ranking: total 194

Population below poverty line

5.2% (2022 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

27.8 (2018 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 162

Average household expenditures

on food: 49.4% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.4% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.3%

highest 10%: 23.4% (2018 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

0.21% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.16% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.22% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $29.955 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $41.994 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 98

Public debt

22.41% of GDP (2021 est.)
23.72% of GDP (2020 est.)
18.48% of GDP (2019 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 181

Taxes and other revenues

9.45% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 191

Current account balance

$7.079 billion (2022 est.)
-$2.672 billion (2021 est.)
-$10.96 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 30

Exports

$93.581 billion (2022 est.)
$71.726 billion (2021 est.)
$49.273 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 52

Exports - partners

China 14%, Italy 13%, Russia 9%, UK 8%, Netherlands 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, gold, refined copper, iron alloys, radioactive chemicals (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$60.147 billion (2022 est.)
$49.597 billion (2021 est.)
$46.502 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 63

Imports - partners

Russia 29%, China 28%, Germany 5%, South Korea 4%, Turkey 3% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

garments, cars, broadcasting equipment, plastic products, packaged medicine (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$35.076 billion (2022 est.)
$34.378 billion (2021 est.)
$35.638 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 54

Debt - external

$159.351 billion (2019 est.)
$163.73 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 46

Exchange rates

tenge (KZT) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
460.165 (2022 est.)
425.908 (2021 est.)
412.953 (2020 est.)
382.747 (2019 est.)
344.706 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 26.033 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 108.34 billion kWh (2022 est.)

exports: 2.726 billion kWh (2022 est.)

imports: 1.902 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 9.758 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 178; imports 60; exports 50; consumption 33; installed generating capacity 40

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 89% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

solar: 1.4% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 1.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 8% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 1 (2023)

Coal

production: 118.195 million metric tons (2022 est.)

consumption: 84.852 million metric tons (2022 est.)

exports: 37.309 million metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 31,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 25.605 billion metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 1.955 million bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 288,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

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

Natural gas

production: 27.011 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

consumption: 22.623 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

exports: 7.77 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

imports: 2.181 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 2.407 trillion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

265.46 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 185.014 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 36.066 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 44.38 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 26

Energy consumption per capita

176.085 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 22

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2.888 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 40

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 25.299 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 130 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 52

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Kazakhstan has one of the most developed telecommunications sectors in the region; this is especially true of the mobile segment, where the country has the second fastest average mobile data rates in Central Asia after Azerbaijan; the competing Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have built extensive Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks: about 76% of mobile subscribers were on LTE as of March 2024, while the company’s LTE network provided 89% geographic coverage; this widespread network coverage, as well as the development of 5G networks, has been encouraged by the government with the second stage of its Digital Kazakhstan program, by which most settlements across the country will be furnished with mobile internet connectivity; the remaining rural villages will be covered by satellite services; at the turn of the century, Kazakhstan had a relatively high fixed-line tele density thanks to efforts to invest in the fixed-line infrastructure and in next-generation networks; the gobal demand for traditional voice services are decreasing as customers are increasingly attracted to the flexibility of the mobile platform for voice as well as data services

(2024)

domestic: fixed telephone subscriptions are 15 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscriber base 130 per 100 persons (2022)

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

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: 17.29 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 91% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 45

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

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

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 48

Transportation

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

132 (2024)

comparison ranking: 38

Heliports

30 (2024)

Pipelines

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

Railways

total: 16,636 km (2021)

broad gauge: 16,636 km (2021) 1.520-m gauge (4,237 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 17

Roadways

total: 96,167 km

paved: 83,813 km

unpaved: 12,354 km (2021)

comparison ranking: total 52

Waterways

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

comparison ranking: 4

Merchant marine

total: 122 (2023)

by type: general cargo 3, oil tanker 7, other 112

comparison ranking: total 82

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, National Guard

Committee for National Security (KNB): Border Guard Service (2024)

note: the National Guard is a gendarmerie type force administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but also serves the Ministry of Defense; it is responsible for fighting crime, maintaining public order, and ensuring public safety; other duties include anti-terrorism operations, guarding prisons, riot control, and territorial defense in time of war

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2022 est.)
1% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 147

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); approximately 30,000 National Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Kazakh military's inventory is comprised of mostly older Russian and Soviet-era equipment, and Russia continues to be the leading supplier of arms (2023)

Military service age and obligation

all men 18-27 are required to serve in the military for 12-24 months; women may volunteer (2023)

note: as of 2022, more than 10,000 women served in the Armed Forces and the National Guard

Military - note

Kazakhstan’s armed forces were formed in 1992 following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the disbandment of the Soviet Turkestan Military District whose forces formed the core of the new Kazakh military; the military’s principal responsibilities are territorial defense while the National Police, National Guard, Committee for National Security, and Border Service have primary responsibility for internal security, although the military may provide assistance as required; the military also participates in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations; in 2008, Kazakhstan opened up Central Asia’s first peacekeeper training center for military personnel of Kazakhstan, NATO, and other partners 

in 2022, Kazakhstan initiated a wide-ranging effort to enhance the country’s security sector, including organizational changes such as establishing new National Guard units, enhancing existing ones, and forming a special operations force, spending increases for equipment acquisitions, a new doctrine with renewed emphasis on defense of the border, and reforms to improve professionalism in the military

Kazakhstan has been a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) since 1994 and has obligated troops to CSTO's rapid reaction force; it also has a relationship with NATO focused on democratic, institutional, and defense reforms; relations with NATO started in 1992, and Kazakhstan joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1995 (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KazCosmos; established 2007) (2024)

Space launch site(s)

Baikonur Cosmodrome/Space Center (Baikonur) (2024)

note 1: the Baikonur cosmodrome and the surrounding area are leased and administered by Russia until 2050 for approximately $115 million/year; the cosmodrome was originally built by the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s and is the site of the World's first successful satellite launch (Sputnik) in 1957; it is also the largest space launch facility in the World, comprising 15 launch pads for space launch vehicles, four launch pads for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 10 assembly and test facilities, and other infrastructure 

note 2: in 2018, Kazakhstan and Russia agreed that Kazakhstan would build, maintain, and operate a new space launch facility (Baiterek) at the Baikonur space center (estimated to be ready for operations in 2025)

Space program overview

has an active and ambitious space program that originated with the former Soviet Union; focused on the acquisition and operation of satellites; builds (with foreign assistance) and operates communications, remote sensing (RS), and scientific satellites; building space infrastructure, such as launch and testing facilities, ground stations, and rocket manufacturing; has an astronaut (cosmonaut) program; has relations with a variety of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, and the UK; has state-owned and private companies that assist in the development and building of the country’s space program, including satellites, satellite payloads, and associated capabilities; they also work closely with foreign commercial entities (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 7,558 (2022)

Illicit drugs

part of the "Northern Route," land drug trafficking route from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe; domestic manufacturing of synthetics increasing and domestic drug use trends to synthetic drugs outpacing heroin and cannabis;