Facts about Armenia

World Facts Index

ArmeniaArmenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. During World War I in the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turkey instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices that resulted in an estimated 1 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turkey imposed an economic blockade on Armenia and closed the common border because of the Armenian separatists' control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.

Geography of Armenia

Location:
Southwestern Asia, east of Turkey
Coordinates:
40 00 N, 45 00 E
Area:
total: 29,800 sq km
water: 1,400 sq km
land: 28,400 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 1,254 km
border countries: Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
highland continental, hot summers, cold winters
Terrain:
Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Debed River 400 m
highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m
Natural resources:
small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, alumina
Land use:
arable land: 17.52%
permanent crops: 2.3%
other: 80.18% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
2,870 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts
Environment - current issues:
soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note:
landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range

More Geography

Population of Armenia

Population:
2,968,586 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 20.5% (male 322,189/female 286,944)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 949,975/female 1,085,484)
65 years and over: 11.1% (male 133,411/female 198,369) 
Median age:
total: 31.1 years
male: 28.4 years
female: 34 years
Growth rate:
-0.077%
Birth rate:
11.43 births/1,000
Death rate:
8.12 deaths/1,000
Net migration rate:
-6.47 migrant(s)/1,000
Infant mortality:
total: 22.47 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.51 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.4 years
male: 68.79 years
female: 76.55 years
Total fertility rate:
1.33 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Armenian(s)
adjective: Armenian
Ethnic groups:
Armenian 93%, Azeri 1%, Russian 2%, other (mostly Yezidi Kurds) 4% (2002)
note: as of the end of 1993, virtually all Azeris had emigrated from Armenia
Religions:
Armenian Apostolic 94%, other Christian 4%, Yezidi (Zoroastrian/animist) 2%
Languages:
Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.4%
female: 98%

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Armenia
conventional short form: Armenia
local short form: Hayastan
former: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; Armenian Republic
local long form: Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun
Government type:
republic
Capital:
Yerevan
Administrative divisions:
11 provinces (marzer, singular - marz); Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Geghark'unik', Kotayk', Lorri, Shirak, Syunik', Tavush, Vayots' Dzor, Yerevan
Independence:
21 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1991)
Constitution:
adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995
Legal system:
based on civil law system
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Serzh SARGSIAN (since 9 April 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Tigran SARGSIAN (since 9 April 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 19 February 2008 (next to be held February 2013); prime minister appointed by the president based on majority or plurality support in parliament; the prime minister and Council of Ministers must resign if the National Assembly refuses to accept their program
election results: Serzh SARGSIAN elected president; percent of vote - Serzh SARGSIAN 52.9%, Levon TER-PETROSSIAN 21.5%, Artur BAGHDASARIAN 16.7%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (Parliament) or Azgayin Zhoghov (131 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; 90 members elected by party list, 41 by direct vote)
elections: last held 25 May 2003 (next to be held in the spring of 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - Republican Party 23.5%, Justice Bloc 13.6%, Rule of Law 12.3%, ARF (Dashnak) 11.4%, National Unity Party 8.8%, United Labor Party 5.7%; seats by faction - Republican Party 39, Rule of Law 20, Justice Bloc 14, ARF (Dashnak) 11, National Unity 7, United Labor 6, People's Deputy Group 16, independent (not in faction or group) 18; note - as of 10 March 2006; voting blocs in the legislature are more properly termed factions and can be composed of members of several parties; seats by faction change frequently as deputies switch parties or announce themselves independent
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Court of Cassation (Appeals Court)
Political parties and leaders:
Agro-Industrial Party [Vladimir BADALYAN]; Armenia Party [Myasnik MALKHASYAN]; Armenian National Movement or ANM [Alex ARZUMANYAN, chairman]; Armenian Ramkavar Liberal Party or HRAK [Harutyun MIRZAKHANYAN, chairman]; Armenian Revolutionary Federation ("Dashnak" Party) or ARF [Levon MKRTCHYAN]; Democratic Party [Aram SARKISYAN]; Justice Bloc (comprised of the Democratic Party, National Democratic Party, National Democratic Union, the People's Party, and the Republic Party) [Stepan DEMIRCHYAN]; National Democratic Party [Shavarsh KOCHARIAN]; National Democratic Union or NDU [Vazgen MANUKIAN]; National Revival Party [Albert BAZEYAN]; National Unity Party [Artashes GEGHAMYAN, chairman]; People's Party of Armenia [Stepan DEMIRCHYAN]; Republic Party [Aram SARKISYAN, chairman]; Republican Party or RPA [Andranik MARGARYAN]; Rule of Law Party [Samvel BALASANYAN]; Union of Constitutional Rights [Hrant KHACHATURYAN]; United Labor Party [Gurgen ARSENYAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Yerkrapah Union [Manvel GRIGORIAN]

Economy

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has made progress in implementing many economic reforms including privatization, price reforms, and prudent fiscal policies. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh contributed to a severe economic decline in the early 1990s. By 1994, however, the Armenian Government launched an ambitious IMF-sponsored economic liberalization program that resulted in positive growth rates. Economic growth has averaged over 13% in recent years. Armenia has managed to reduce poverty, slash inflation, stabilize its currency, and privatize most small- and medium-sized enterprises. Under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics, in exchange for raw materials and energy. Armenia has since switched to small-scale agriculture and away from the large agroindustrial complexes of the Soviet era. Nuclear power plants built at Metsamor in the 1970s were closed following the 1988 Spitak Earthquake, though they sustained no damage. One of the two reactors was re-opened in 1995, but the Armenian government is under international pressure to close it due to concerns that the Soviet era design lacks important safeguards. Metsamor provides 40 percent of the country's electricity - hydropower accounts for about one-fourth. Economic ties with Russia remain close, especially in the energy sector. The electricity distribution system was privatized in 2002 and bought by Russia's RAO-UES in 2005. Construction of a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran to Armenia is halfway completed and is scheduled to be commissioned by January 2009. Armenia has some mineral deposits (copper, gold, bauxite). Pig iron, unwrought copper, and other nonferrous metals are Armenia's highest valued exports. Armenia's severe trade imbalance has been offset somewhat by international aid, remittances from Armenians working abroad, and foreign direct investment. Armenia joined the WTO in January 2003. The government made some improvements in tax and customs administration in recent years, but anti-corruption measures will be more difficult to implement. Despite strong economic growth, Armenia's unemployment rate remains high. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic reforms in order to improve its economic competitiveness and to build on recent improvements in poverty and unemployment, especially given its economic isolation from two of its nearest neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

GDP:
$17.17 billion
GDP growth rate:
13.9%
GDP per capita:
$5,800
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 23.9%
industry: 34.3%
services: 41.8% 
Population below poverty line:
 43% 
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 41.3%
Inflation rate:
 0.6% 
Labor force:
1.2 million 
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 45%, services 30%, industry 25% 
Unemployment:
31.6% 
Budget:
revenues: $786.1 million
expenditures: $930.7 million 
Industries:
diamond-processing, metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, chemicals, trucks, instruments, microelectronics, jewelry manufacturing, software development, food processing, brandy
Industrial production growth rate:
 7.5%
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 42.3%
hydro: 27%
other: 0%
nuclear: 30.7%
Agriculture:
fruit (especially grapes), vegetables; livestock
Exports:
diamonds, mineral products, foodstuffs, energy
Export partners:
Germany 16.4%, Netherlands 15.3%, Belgium 12.8%, Israel 12.5%, Russia 10.2%, US 5.3%, France 5%, Iran 4.4% 
Imports:
natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, diamonds
Import partners:
Russia 12.3%, Belgium 9.5%, Israel 8.6%, Germany 8.2%, Iran 7.2%, UAE 6.2%, Ukraine 5.8%, Italy 5.6%, US 4.5%, Georgia 4.4% 
Currency:
dram (AMD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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