Population and community: Type of community, self/national identity, Gender and Age Ratio, Education Level
Today, Kazakhstan is a country with multiethnic population. The country is inhabited by more than 120 nationalities. Kazakhs make up 63.1% of the population; the country also has a large Russian diaspora (23.7% of the population). According to the 2009 census, 70.2% of Kazakhstanians are Muslims, more than 26.2% are Christians, and 2.8% non-believers. Almost the entire population of Kazakhstan (more than 94%), regardless of nationality, speak Russian fluently (Nathan 34).
At the same time, the population of Saudi Arabia and Libya is homogeneous, 90% of citizens are ethnic Arabs, although there are also nationals of Asian and East African origin (Aarts and Nonneman 9). Also in contrast to the secular Kazakhstan, in Saudi Arabia, where the state religion is Islam, other religions ministry, spread of other religions literature, building of churches, Buddhist temples, or synagogues is strictly prohibited, which is watched by the religious police mutawa (Raphael 18). In Libya 97% of the population is Sunni Muslim (Otman and Karlberg 56).
The ratio of men and women in Kazakhstan according to the 2009 census was with the advantage of the share of the female population over the male (51.8% and 48.2% respectively): there are 929 men per one thousand women in Kazakhstan (Nathan 71), whereas the gender ratio in Libya is almost equal (1.048 men to 1 woman). Kazakhstan occupies 127th position by the life expectancy with the indicators generally over the country – 67.0 years, men – 61.6 years, women – 72.4 years (Nathan 75). Of the three countries, the highest life expectancy at birth is in Libya: the general – 77.7 years, men 75.3 years, women 80.1 (Libya Demographics Profile 2012).
Compared with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia has the opposite situation: the gender ratio in 2011 was 1.213 men per one woman. The population of Saudi Arabia has increased by more than three times over the last 34 years. The Saudi Arabia population is characterized by rapid growth (1-1.5 million/year) and youth. At the same time life expectancy is an average of 74.1 years (72.2 for men and 76.2 for women), and the nationals under 14 make up almost 40% of the population. Overall, 70% of all Saudis (13.3 million) are young people under the age of 34 (Saudi Arabia Demographics Profile 2012). This entails an overload of the social sphere: overcrowded schools, lack of housing, rising unemployment among young people.
Meanwhile, over a quarter of Saudi Arabia state annual budget is spent on education. By the end of the 20th century a system established in Saudi Arabia and Libya that provides free education to all citizens from preschool to higher education. In addition to free education, the government provides students with everything necessary for study: literature, and even medical care (Aarts and Nonneman 95-96).
If previously Kazakhstan experienced conscious elimination and destruction of traditions throughout the 20th century, and over seventy-year Soviet period Kazakhstan’s traditions were struggled with as the vestiges of the past, Modern Kazakhstan is experiencing a period of national revival and the revival of national statehood (Aitken 222). In particular, after gaining independence from the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan started reforms in education. The level of education in Kazakhstan is 99.1% for men and 97.7% for women (Interactive Infographic of the World’s Best Countries), which is similar to the rates of Libya, where the overall literacy of the population is 95.4% (96.9% men, 94% women). In 2009 the list of countries by level of literacy put Kazakhstan on 10th place. For comparison, the literacy of women in Saudi Arabia is estimated about 70%, and men – 85% (Interactive Infographic of the World’s Best Countries), which is probably due to the fact that in the early period of its existence, the Saudi government could not guarantee education to all its citizens.