Belarus Country Overview
Where is Belarus located? Belarus, also officially called Belarus, is located in Eastern Europe and is completely surrounded by other Eastern European countries. The former Soviet Union state became independent in 1991. On the time zone map, Belarus is in the Eastern European time zone, which includes a time shift of +2 hours to world time. In the summer months (end of March to the end of October), the difference to the world clock increases, since the time is then put forward by one hour compared to daylight saving time.
As of 2023, the latest population of Belarus is 9,477,918, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||-0.27%|
|Birth rate||10.30 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||71.81 years|
|Men life expectancy||66.14 years|
|Women life expectancy||77.82 years|
|65 years and above||15.22%|
|Median age||39.60 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.87|
|Population density||45.65 residents per km²|
|81% Belarusians (Belarusians), 11% Russians, 4% Poles, 2% Ukrainians and Tatars and others|
|Members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches 80%, others (including Catholics (Roman Catholic), Protestants, Jews, Muslims) 20%|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.817|
|HDI ranking||50th out of 194|
People in Belarus
9.5 million people live in Belarus. The majority of them live in a city, namely 79 out of 100 people. Minsk is the largest city with just under two million residents. Gomel, Mahiljou, Vitebsk, Hrodna and Brest are other large cities with at least 300,000 residents.
The birth rate is low with 1.5 children and so the population has been falling since 1993. In 1989 more than ten million people lived in the country. The population is also getting older.
Most of the residents are Belarusians, namely 83 percent. The largest minority are Russians with 8.3 percent. Poles and Ukrainians are represented with 3.1 and 1.7 percent.
Languages in Belarus
Belarusian and Russian are the two official languages in the country. However, the majority of 75 percent speak Russian on a daily basis. The language of instruction is also Russian. Only twelve percent speak Belarusian every day. Then there is a mixture of both languages. This mixed language is called Trassjanka.
Belarusian developed from a common language with Russian and Ukrainian. To a certain extent, the speakers understand each other. Like these two languages, Belarusian is also written in the Cyrillic alphabet. But there is also the letter ў and again three letters that occur in Russian are missing (и, щ and ъ).
Spelling follows the sounds in Russian. While in Russian an unstressed o is pronounced like a, in Belarusian it is actually written with a. Water is written in Russian вода, in Belarusian вада. But the words are pronounced the same (wadá). However, the sounds h and g are both represented by the letter г. Hence, Gomel and Homel are names for the same city.
Belorussian also differs from Russian by a few borrowings from Polish, i.e. its western neighbor. The vocabulary also shows some other differences.
Religions in Belarus
82 percent of the population belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. The remainder are divided between Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish communities.