Religion in Kazakhstan


In 2019, Kazakhstan had a population density of 7 residents per km2. 58 percent of the population live in cities, of which Alma-Ata is the largest with 1.8 million residents (2018). Other major cities are Nur-Sultan (1 million) and Tjimkent (951,600).

In 2006, it was estimated that 59 percent were Kazakhs, while 26 percent were Russians, just over 3 percent Ukrainians and 1.4 percent German kittens. The other more than 10 percent are divided into Tatars, Uz cups, Belarusians, Uighurs and others. For the ethnography of Kazakhstan, see further Kazakhs.

According to thesciencetutor, the move of Slavic groups to Kazakhstan has been significant since the 1930s, and not least in connection with major new breeding programs during the 1950s and 60s. Together with the purges directed against the Kazakhs during Stalin’s time, this has greatly influenced the ethnic composition of the population. Since independence, in particular, Russians and Germans have left the country.

People in Kazakhstan


Official language is Kazakh. Russian also has official status. More than half of the population has Kazakh as their mother tongue. Other major languages are Ukrainian, German, Tatar, Uighur and Uzbek. Russian, Ukrainian and German are spoken mainly in the newly cultivated regions of northern Kazakhstan, while Kazakhs are spoken in central and southern Kazakhstan. Uyghurs are widespread in the southeast, in the border area with China.


Independent Kazakhstan is a secular state with a constitution that guarantees religious freedom. The majority population is traditionally Sunni Muslims (47%), but the country is characterized by a widespread religious spread, especially in the cities. With the help of organizations and money from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, a Muslim revitalization is underway. In recent years, a large number of mosques and other religious institutions have been built in Kazakhstan. Islamic groups have been appointed to stand behind various acts of violence, and the authorities have banned the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization from operating in the country. Sufiordnar has historically played an important role, and in the city of Turkestan there is a mausoleum from the late 1300s after the order founder Khoja Ahmad Yasawi.

The Jewish group has decreased due to emigration and amounts to just under 1% (2008). Russian Orthodox is estimated to be 44% of the population. In addition, there are smaller groups of Baptists, Catholics and Presbyterians. There are also small groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Mennonites, and Mormons.

Foreign missionaries operate in the country, but in 2008 a number of representatives of various organizations were expelled. The authorities often emphasize Kazakhstan’s long tradition of interreligious tolerance. At the same time, the official tolerance of non-traditional religions that appeal to youth has diminished.

Kazakhstan Religion

Demography and economic geography. – Central Asian state. The country (16,606,878 residents, according to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in 2014) showed, in 2013, a high human development index (0.757, up from 0.686 in 1990), ranking at above the average of European and Central Asian countries. According to data from the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) relating to a wider time interval (1980-2013), the Kazakhstan recorded the improvement of a series of indicators: life expectancy at birth increased by 1.4 years (reaching 66.5 in 2013), the average years of schooling increased by 4.3 and those of expected education by 3.1. However, the conditions of a part of the population continue to be worrying: in the last two years in which the figure was detected by the UN (2010-11), 1.1% of the population was in a state of multidimensional poverty (based on deprivation in education, health and living conditions), while a further 2.3% were close to the threshold of this type of poverty. Considering instead the World Bank data, calculated by examining the national poverty line, per capita per day at purchasing power parity (PPP) – as of 2009 around 42% of the population still lived in a state of poverty (a figure which was however a sharp decrease compared to 79% in 2001).

Economic conditions. – The Kazakhstan, among the high-income countries per capita, in 2014 recorded a GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) of $ 24,144. The country, an oil producer, boasted as of 2013 an estimated liquid production of 1.64 million barrels per day (according to the US agency EIA, Energy Information Administration) and 30 billion barrels of proven reserves (according to estimates by the Oil and gas journal). Following the recession following the drop in oil and commodity prices in 2008, the Kazakh government has decided to intervene on the excessive dependence on oil and the extractive industry, adopting measures aimed at diversification to develop sectors such as transport, pharmaceuticals , telecommunications, food processing and petrochemicals. In order to increase FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) and improve trade relations, in 2010 Kazakhstan joined the Eurasian Customs Union together with Belarus and Russia. The country, in 2014, recorded a slowdown in economic growth – as evidenced by the decrease in the rate of growth of real GDP from 6% in 2013 to 4.6% in 2014 – generated above all by lower production in the oil sector, by a weaker demand for metal products from Russia and China and weak domestic demand. In order to stimulate the latter, the government adopted a set of expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in 2014.