Demographics of Central Asia

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The ethnolinguistic patchwork of Central Asia in 1992
Map of the Countries of Central Asia, Afghanistan, The Caspian Sea, and Surrounding Countries

Central Asia is a diverse land with many ethnic groups, languages, religions and tribes. The nations which make up Central Asia are five of the former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which have a total population of about 70 million.[1] Afghanistan is not always considered part of the region, but when it is, Central Asia has a total population of about 122 million (2016).[1] Additionally, Pakistan has a large population of central Asian peoples even though it is not categorized as a central Asian nation.[2] Most central Asians belong to religions which were introduced to the area within the last 1,500 years, such as Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Ismaili Islam, Tengriism, and Syriac Christianity.[2] Buddhism, however, was introduced to Central Asia over 2,200 years ago, and Zoroastrianism, over 2,500 years ago.[3]

Ethnic groups[edit]

The below are demographic data on the ethnic groups in Central Asia [2]

Ethnic Group Center of population in Central Asia Total roughly estimated population in Central Asia
Uzbek Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan 29,000,000
Tajik Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Northern Afghanistan. It includes the Pamiri people, who are officially categorized as Tajiks in Tajikistan. 25,000,000
Kazakh Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan 16,500,000
Kyrgyz Kyrgyzstan 4,100,000
Russians Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan 4,000,000 [4][5][6][7]
Ukrainian Northern Kazakhstan 250,000 [4][6][7]
Turkmen Turkmenistan 6,500,000
Volga German Kazakhstan 200,000[6][7]
Uyghur Northwest China, Eastern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan 13,000,000
Dungan or Hui Northwest China, Kyrgyzstan 10,500,000
Bukharian Jew Uzbekistan 1,000
British People[8] Afghanistan or perhaps Kazakhstan 1,500-2,000
Tatar Uzbekistan 700,000
Karakalpaks North western Uzbekistan 500,000
Bashkirs Kazakhstan 30,000
Meskhetian Turks Kazakhstan 200,000
Armenians Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan 100,000
Altai Northern Kazakhstan 10,000
Pashtun Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan 12,500,000
Hazara Central Afghanistan 3,500,000
Aimak Central and Northwest Afghanistan 1,500,000
Nuristani Far eastern and northern Afghanistan 200,000+
Belarusians Northern Kazakhstan 100,000-200,000 [7]
Romanians Kazakhstan 20,000
Greeks Kazakhstan 30,000
Mordvins Kazakhstan 20,000
Moldovans Kazakhstan 25,000
Chechens Kazakhstan 40,000
Poles Northern Kazakhstan 50,000-100,000
Azeri Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan 100,000
Chuvash's Northern Kazakhstan 35,000


Religion[2] Approximate population Center of population
Sunni Islam 103,000,000[9] [10][11][12][13] [14] South and East of region: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Krygzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Eastern Xinjiang and Southern Kazakhstan.(most dense in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan)
Buddhism 9,084,000[15][16][17][18] [19] 500,000 in Russia, 8.44 million in Xinjiang, 140,000 people in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan; (Mongols, Koreans, Daur, Mongour, Tungusic peoples, Tibetans, Tuvans, Yugur)
Eastern Christianity 4,000,000 Northern Kazakhstan
Western Christianity 510,000 Kazakhstan
Judaism 27,500 Uzbekistan
Shia Islam 4,000,000 Hazaras, Central Afghanistan
Atheism and Irreligion 2,500,000 -? Millions throughout the region
Zoroastrianism 10,000 Historically Afghanistan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  6. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - Special Reports - Brits Abroad". Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  9. ^ Min Junqing. The Present Situation and Characteristics of Contemporary Islam in China. JISMOR, 8. 2010 Islam by province, page 29. Data from: Yang Zongde, Study on Current Muslim Population in China, Jinan Muslim, 2, 2010.
  10. ^ Religious Composition by Country, 2010–2050 | Pew Research Center. (2 April 2015). Retrieved on 2017-01-20.
  11. ^ "MAPPING THE GLOBAL MUSLIM POPULATION : A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population" (PDF). October 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  12. ^ Mapping the Global Muslim Population. A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (October 2009)
  13. ^ "Religious Composition by Country, 2010-2050". 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "Religious Intelligence - Country Profile: Kazakhstan (Republic of Kazakhstan)". 30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  16. ^ "Religious Intelligence - Country Profile: Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic)". 6 April 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  17. ^ Religious Freedom Page Archived August 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Turkmenistan". Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  19. ^ "The results of the national population census in 2009". Agency of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 12 November 2010. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2010.