Map Belarus
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Belarus


Background: 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, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place.
Location: Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Area land: 202,900 sq km
Area water: 4,700 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Belarus
Country name conventional short form: Belarus
Country name former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
Population: 9,577,552 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.2% (male 699,048/female 660,130); 15-64 years: 71.7% (male 3,328,548/female 3,542,359); 65 years and over: 14.1% (male 427,086/female 920,381) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: -0.363% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 9.76 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 13.77 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.062 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.47 male(s)/female; total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.25 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 7.24 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 5.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.2 years; male: 65.57 years; female: 77.18 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.26 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 17,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Belarusian(s); adjective: Belarusian;
Ethnic groups: Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census);
Religions: Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.);
Languages: Belarusian (official) 36.7%, Russian (official) 62.8%, other 0.5% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities) (1999 census);
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 99.6%; male: 99.8%; female: 99.4% (1999 census);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $128.4 billion (2010 est.); $122.5 billion (2009 est.); $122.3 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $52.89 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 4.8% (2010 est.); 0.2% (2009 est.); 10.2% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $13,400 (2010 est.); $12,700 (2009 est.); $12,600 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 9%; industry: 42.9%; services: 48.1% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 27.1% (2003 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.6%; highest 10%: 22% (2005);
Labor force: 5 million (2009);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14%; industry: 34.7%; services: 51.3% (2003 est.);
Unemployment rate: 1% (2009 est.); 1.6% (2005);
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

Budget: revenues: $23.27 billion; expenditures: $24.32 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators;
Industrial production growth rate: 10.5% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 29.92 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 30.54 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 5.062 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 9.406 billion kWh (2007 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.

Belarus in the News

The Last Dictatorship of Europe

President Alexander Lukashenko has built a powerful, repressive government around himself, based on the state monopoly of economic resources, on holding all executive power in his hand.

Ukraine, Belarus Pursue Different Political Paths

While Ukraine moves toward forming a representative government following parliamentary elections, Belarus finds itself more isolated than ever in the wake of a controversial presidential poll.

An Ambivalent Couple

For two countries supposedly on the verge of forming a loose union, Belarus and Russia seem to have a good deal of ambivalence about their relationship.