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People of Ukraine

The population of Ukraine is about 46.9 million. Ethnic Ukrainians make up about 73% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 22%, ethnic Belarusians number about 5%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the population is about 67% urban. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages. Although Russian is very widely spoken, in the 1989 census (the latest official figures) 88% of the population identified Ukrainian as their native language. There are also small Tatar and Hellenic minorities centered mainly in Crimea.

The dominant religions are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (which practices Orthodox rites but recognizes the Roman Catholic Pope as head of the Church). The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is divided between a Moscow Patriarchate and a separate Kyiv Patriarchate, which was established after Ukrainian independence and which declared independence from Moscow. In addition to these, there are also the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

The birth rate in Ukraine is declining. About 70% of adult Ukrainians have a secondary or higher education. Ukraine has about 150 colleges and universities, of which the most important are in Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv. There are about 70,000 scholars in 80 research institutes.

 
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