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Uzbekistan, The People of Uzbekistan

With an estimated 25,563,441 inhabitants in 2002, Uzbekistan has the largest population of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the third largest population of all the former Soviet republics (after Russia and Ukraine). The country’s population growth rate is 1.6 percent per year due to relatively high birthrates. The average population density is 57 persons per sq km (148 per sq mi), although population density is far higher in the Fergana Valley, the most densely settled area in Central Asia.

Some 37 percent of the total population lives in urban areas. Toshkent, the capital, is the largest city in Central Asia and the fourth largest in the former Soviet Union (after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Kyiv). Other major cities, which are concentrated in the more habitable oases in the eastern half of the country, include Samarqand, Namangan, Andijon, and Bukhoro. Nukus is the capital of the Qoraqalpogh Autonomous Republic.

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