About country

About Belarus

After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place. Since his election in July 1994 as the country's first president, Alexander LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue.

10,293,011 (July 2006)

Age structure
0-14 years: 15.7% (male 825,823/female 791,741)
15-64 years: 69.7% (male 3,490,442/female 3,682,950)
65 years and over: 14.6% (male 498,976/female 1,003,079) (2006)

Population growth rate
-0,06 % (2006)

Birth rate
11,16 births/1000 population (2006)

Net migration rate
2,3 migrants/1000 population (2006)

Infant morality rate
total: 13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2006)

Total fertility rate
1,43 children born/woman (2006)

Ethnic groups
Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census)

Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997)

Belarusian, Russian, other

GDP - real growth rate
2,9% (2005)

GDP - per capita
$7 100 (2005)

Unemployment rate
1,6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)

Population below poverty line
27,1% (2003)