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General overview
The Country of Ukraine Today

Facts and Figures

The population of Ukraine is about 49,8 million people, including urban population - 68% and rural population - 32%. Density of population makes 85 people per square kilometer.
Age structure (1999 est.)

Age Male Female Total
0-14 years 4,690,318 4,498,239 9,188,557
15-64 years 16,136,296 17,572,011 33,708,307
65 years and over 2,251,664 4,662,646 6,914,310
Total: 23,078,278 26,732,896 49,811,174

Population growth rate: -0.62%.
Net migration rate: 0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population.
Birth rate: 9.54 births/1,000 population.
Death rate: 16.38 deaths/1,000 population.
Total fertility rate: 1.34 children born/woman.
Besides Ukrainians, representatives of more than 110 ethnic groups live here. Ukrainians make 73% of population, Russians - 22%, Jews - 1%, Belarusians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, Polishes, Hungarians, Greeks and other make 4%
An additional 4 million Ukrainians live in the United States, Canada, Australia, Western and Central Europe and South America.

Language
The language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, an independent language in the Eastern Slavic Branch of Indo-European languages. While all Slavic languages possess certain common features, they are just as distinct from each other as German is from Swedish or Dutch, and each contain unique grammatical and vocabulary differences. The Ukrainian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet.

Religion
Ukraine was christened by St. Volodymyr in 988. While most believers are Orthodox Christian (77%), there is a large Eastern-rite Catholic population (13.5%) in Western Ukraine. Protestant, Judaic and Moslem religions are also practiced. While all Ukrainian Churches were severely persecuted in the former USSR, the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic churches were forcibly incorporated into the Russian Orthodox church by Soviet authorities and outlawed. The churches were re-established in 1990.

National Holidays
August 24th, Independence Day, commemorating the 1991 proclamation of Ukrainian independence from the USSR; June 28th, Constitution Day, on this day in 1996 effective Ukrainian Constitution was adopted.

Resources
While Ukraine, often called the "breadbasket of Europe", is known for its agricultural (especially wheat) production, it is also rich in other natural resources such as iron, natural gas, manganese and magnesium. 13.6% of the world's iron reserves, 25-30% of the world's manganese ore and 8% of the world's mercury is found in Ukraine. Ukraine produced over 30% of the coal production in the former USSR Ukraine's products are exported to 107 countries of the world. Raw materials and consumer goods are its main exports.

Environment
The communist legacy left Ukraine with monumental ecological problems. While the contamination resulting from Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster is well-known, there is widespread land, water and air pollution resulting from toxic wastes and lack of ecological controls on mines and industrial plants. Since 1991, Ukraine's Government has enacted environmental protection laws in compliance with international standards in efforts to halt further pollution. At the same time however, Ukraine lacks the necessary resources to repair existing damage. In the area of clean-up of the Chornobyl disaster, Ukraine has appealed for assistance to the international community.