Kyrgyzstan Religion and Languages

By | March 5, 2021


In 2019, Kyrgyzstan had a population density of 32 residents per km2. About 34 percent of the population lives in cities, of which the capital Bishkek (1 million residents, 2019) is the largest. Kyrgyzstan had a rapid population increase during the 20th century, and annual population growth is still relatively high.

Since Kyrgyzstan became independent, the ethnic composition has changed. The majority consists of Kyrgyz (69 percent), followed by the UzB Cup (14 percent). In addition, there are smaller minorities of Dungans, Kazakhs, Koreans, meshkets, Tajiks and Uighurs. Other previously significant minorities have fallen sharply in number due to emigration in recent decades.

The proportion of Russians since independence has more than halved (21 percent in 1989 versus 9 percent in 2007), as well as the proportion of Ukrainians (from 2.5 to 0.5 percent) and Tatars (from 2 to 0.7 percent). The German-caste minority, which still reached 110,000 in the early 1990s, was estimated by the German authorities to be only 12,000 in 2007; most have emigrated to Germany. For further information on Kyrgyzstan’s ethnography, see Kyrgyz.


According to Countryaah, Kyrgyzstan and Russian have official status in Kyrgyzstan. About 65% of the population has Kyrgyz as their mother tongue. Other major languages are Uzbek, Ukrainian, Tatar and German.

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Kyrgyzstan is a secular state, with a constitution that guarantees religious freedom. Islam has played a historical and identity-creating role for the majority population. During the Soviet era, religion was strongly repressed. With independence, Islam has been given a more prominent role in society. In 2007, there were over 1,600 mosques. At the same time, there is widespread religious spread, but Islam is considered to have a stronger role in the southern parts of the country, especially around the city of Osh. The majority are Sunnis. According to the authorities, several radical Islamic groups in the south appear to be behind terrorist acts. Christians are estimated at 20%. The majority are Russian Orthodox, but there are also Seventh-day Adventists, Catholics, Old Faithful, Baptists, and Presbyterians. In addition, there are smaller groups of Jews and Buddhists.oroz ait (Id al-fitr) and the sacrificial feast kurban ait (Id al-adha) as official holidays. Foreign missionaries, including Swedish, operate in the country.

Kyrgyzstan Population by Religion