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By the beginning of 2005, the population of Belarus was 9,9 millions people. Belarus is a poly-ethnic and poly-confessional state where, along with Belarusians (81,2% of the population), more than 100 nationalities are represented.
More than 1,142 thousand of Russians (about 11,4% of the total population) live in Belarus. Ethnic Russians have lived in Belarus throughout its history. Russians are dispersed throughout Belarus, there are no distinct enclaves; however, numerous groups of them are represented in the Eastern, in the capital and major industrial centres where they constitute up to 20% of the population or more.
Poles represent the next biggest (following Russians) population group in Belarus, 396 thousand strong (3,9%). They have been residing in the western parts of Belarus for several centuries. They are mostly dispersed, although their main concentration falls on western areas. Poles constitute about 5% of the urban population, although in a number of towns in the West of Belarus and in Minsk their share is much higher. But the main part of Belarusian Poles live in villages.
Ukrainians represent the fourth biggest group, following Belarusians, Russians and Poles in Belarus (by the beginning of 2000, there are 237 thousand Ukrainians, or 2.4% of the population).
Jews represent the fifth ethno-confessional group in Belarus (more than 28 thousand people). Starting from 1980, their number has decreased because of their emigration to Israel and Western countries. The migration intensity has considerably subsided in recent years.
About 7,000 Lithuanians reside in Belarus. They have been living in Belarus for a long time, mostly scattered among the population, although there are villages of their compact settlement.
Bilinguals who know 123 nationalities are represented in Belarus, including Tartars (13 thousand), Azerbaijanians, Armenians, Latvians, Koreans, Germans, Georgians, Ossetians, Gipsies, Moldavians, etc. Some of them have founded their own cultural and educational associations.
About 3 million Belarusians and their descendants reside outside Belarus, mostly in Russia, Ukraine, the USA, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Canada and Argentina.More than 70% of Belarusians are city-dwellers.
Belarus is comparatively densely populated country. The average density of the population is 49 people per 1 km2.
Life expectancy is 62 years for men; 75 for women. Another significant impact of the war is the high percentage of women to men in the adult population.
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