Turkmenistan Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Turkmenistan Country Overview

Where is Turkmenistan located? Turkmenistan is a country located in Central Asia, completely surrounded by other countries. The time zone map places Turkmenistan in a time zone called Turkmenistan Time, which has a time offset of 5 hours from Coordinated Universal Time. This means that clocks in Turkmenistan are 5 hours later than universal time (UTC+5). This standard difference also remains in place during the summer months, since there is no changeover to daylight saving time.

Turkmenistan National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Turkmenistan is 5,528,627, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 5,528,627
Population growth rate 1.06%
Birth rate 19.10 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 69.16 years
Men life expectancy 66.18 years
Women life expectancy 72.29 years
Age structure
0-14 years 25.66%
15-64 years 69.40%
65 years and above 4.93%
Median age 27.10 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.98
Population density 11.33 residents per km²
Urbanization 45.30%
86% Turkmens, 6% Uzbeks, 5% Russians; Minorities of Kazakhs, Tatars, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Belarusians and others
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.710
HDI ranking 108th out of 194

People in Turkmenistan

More than five million people live in Turkmenistan. Most of them, around 80 percent of the population, are Turkmen, after whom the state is named. Turkmenistan means “home of the Turkmen”.

It is particularly important for a Turkmen to which Turkmen tribe he belongs. Depending on the tribe, the Turkmens also wear different clothes and speak a different dialect. Traditionally, the tribes can be distinguished by their carpet pattern (see Typical Turkmenistan). The most powerful tribe in politics is the Akhal-Teke. The other main tribes are called Yomut, Ersari, Chowdur and Saryk.

In addition to Turkmen, Uzbeks (9 percent) and Russians (7 percent) also live in the country. Other small minorities are Kazakhs, Tatars, Azerbaijanis, Baluch and Armenians. Incidentally, Turkmen live not only in Turkmenistan, but also in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.

Half of the population lives in a city. The biggest cities are Ashgabat, Türkmenabat, Daşoguz and Mary. Every woman in Turkmenistan has an average of 2.04 children.

Languages in Turkmenistan

The official language in Turkmenistan is Turkmen. Russian is spoken by many residents as a second language. The minorities in the country speak their own languages ​​such as Kazakh, Tatar, Ukrainian or Azerbaijani.

Turkmen is a Turkic language. There are around 40 Turkic languages, with Turkish having the most speakers among them. Turkmen itself has numerous dialects. Until 1928, Turkmen was written using the Arabic alphabet, then Latin letters were used, and from 1940 to 1991 Cyrillic script (which is used to write Russian).

With the end of the Soviet era, the Latin alphabet was reintroduced, supplemented by a few more letters that we do not use in German. These include ç (spoken ch), ž (spoken like the second g in Gara g e), ň (spoken roughly like ng in Di ng), ş (spoken sch) and ý (spoken like our j).

Religions in Turkmenistan

89 out of 100 residents of Turkmenistan are Muslims. 9 percent belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. First of all, these are the Russians who live in the country. Small minorities are Jews or Catholics or belong to a Protestant free church.

While every religion was suppressed in Soviet times and only four mosques were open in the country, Islam has seen a new influx since independence. Today there are around 400 mosques.