Contemporary Tajiks are the descendants of ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia, in particular the Soghdians and the Bactrians, and possibly other groups, with an admixture of western Iranian Persians and non-Iranian peoples, Mongols, and Turkic peoples, and reports of Alexander the Great's army. Until the 20th century, people in the region used two types of distinction to identify themselves: way of life--either nomadic or sedentary--and place of residence. By the late 19th century, the Tajik and Uzbek peoples, who lived in proximity for centuries and often used--and continue to use--each other's languages, did not perceive themselves as two distinct nationalities. The division of Central Asia into five Soviet Republics in the 1920s imposed artificial labels on a region in which many different peoples lived intermixed.

Population: 6,440,732 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42% (male 1,362,521; female 1,336,205)
15-64 years: 54% (male 1,714,545; female 1,734,430)
65 years and over: 4% (male 126,170; female 166,861) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.12% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 33.56 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 8.64 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 117.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.08 years
male: 60.95 years
female: 67.38 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.35 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Tajikistani(s)
adjective: Tajikistani

Ethnic groups: Tajik 64.9%, Uzbek 25%, Russian 3.5% (declining because of emigration), other 6.6%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 5%

Languages: Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business, Shugni (spoken in area near Khorog)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97% (1989 est.)

See also : Tajikistan