Uzbekistan is the most populous country in the Central Asia with a population of 31.6 million people. Half of the population of the Central Asia lives in Uzbekistan. The high population in the country is attributed to the high fertility, especially during the Soviet Union and the period of disintegration. Cultural preferences which favored large families and reliance on agriculture also contributed to the rapid population growth. The country has a relatively young population with 34.1% of the people being younger than 15 years old. Uzbekistan is an ethnic diverse country comprising of several ethnic groups including the following;
Ethnic Groups Of Uzbekistan
Uzbeks are the largest Turkic group in Uzbekistan and the entire of Central Asia. They form an ethnic majority in Uzbekistan accounting for 75.5% of the country’s population and the minority group in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and China. The modern Uzbek language has been derived from the Chagatai Language which was prominent in the Timurid Empire. After the fall of the empire, the Shaybanid Uzbek Khaqanate played a critical role in strengthening the Turkic language and the modern identity of the Uzbeks. The Uzbeks speak the Turkic language of the Karluk group with the modern language included in most of the Uzbekistan’s scripts. The ethnic group is predominantly Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi School with variations between the northern and the southern Uzbeks. The clothing of the Uzbeks includes the Chapan and Kaftan with the men wearing a headgear known as Tubeteika while the women put on a veil known as Paranja.
Russians are East Slavic ethnic group who ae native to the Eastern Europe. The majority of the Russians are found in the state of Russia with a notable minority in other Soviet Union States, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. The modern Russian was formed from several tribes including the Slavs, Ilmen, and Radimichs. The world’s Russian population currently stands at 130 million with 5.7% of the Uzbekistan population belonging to this ethnic group. The culture of the Russians is diverse and unique with a rich history in art, music, architecture, and painting. Most of the Russians identify with Orthodox as the main religion. The religion has played a vital role in the development of their identity. The Orthodox Church in Uzbekistan has a direct connection with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is also dominated by the Russians in Ukraine.
Tajik is a designation for a wide range of Persian-speaking groups of the Iranian origin with their current homeland in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Tajiks are the ethnic majority in the ancient cities of Bhukhara and Samarland in Uzbekistan. They are also scattered throughout the country and accounts for 5% of the total population. However, the figure does not include the number of Tajiks who have chosen to identity with Uzbeks for varied reasons. Some officials believe that Tajiks could make up 35% of the population if the government were strict when taking census. The modern Tajik identify with the Sunni Islam as the main religion despite the ancient group being Buddhists and Zoroastrians.
Other Ethnic Groups In Uzbekistan
Some of the ethnic minority in the country includes the Kazakhs, Karakalpak, Tatar, Koreans, and Kyrgyz. The influence of these ethnic minority groups is confined to the towns and cities where they dominate. Uzbek language, which is spoken widely by the Uzbeks, is the country’s official language.