ARMENIA COUNTRY PROFILE
Armenia is a small landlocked Eurasian country. The country is bordered by Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north while there is Azerbaijan Eastwards and Iran southwards. Other neighbors include the independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Nakhchivan
Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus and is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. The country has an area of 29,743 sq. kilometers, almost the same size as Belgium and the U.S State of Maryland. It has its capital in Yerevan, which is also its largest city.
The population size of Armenia was estimated at 2.989 million as at 2015, which ranked it at 139th largest in the world. Interestingly (World Population Review, 2017), this was a decline from the 3.018 million recorded during the 2011 census. The country has experienced a decline in population growth by approximately 6% in the past 5 years. Notably, Armenia has been a subject of declining population growth since the breaking up of USSR. UN projections predict that the country’s population might be short of 3 million in 2030. Today, the country’s population is estimated at 3,030,680. There is an average of 21 births per day and 16 deaths per day with at least 14 migrations daily. This means that the sluggish population growth is not just attributed to low birth rates compared to death rates but also the high emigration rates. World population data further provides that since January this year, there has been a population change of -2,619, meaning the population growth has faced a deficit of that number.
In 2017, the population density of the country stands at 106 people per square kilometer. The country’s largest city Yerevan, harbors a population of approximately 1.2 million people. The urbanizing rate stands at 0.5%. The population has more men than women across all ages. Most of the people living in Armenia at a particular time are youths between the age of 16 and 35. The country also has a relatively high life expectancy of 75 years according to the World Health Rankings.
Armenia has a significant diaspora base with approximately 8 million citizens living throughout the world. Considering the average population of 3 million, this is way larger than those living in the country. Most Armenians live in Russia, France, Iran, the U.S, Canada, Lebanon and Syria.
Linguistics and Religious Geography
There are not many mono ethnic countries in the world but Armenia is one of them. Over 97% of the population is made up of Armenians while the rest are composed of minority ethnic groups such as the Kurds, Yazidis, Ukrainians and Russians. The only official language spoken in the country is Armenian. However, those living in the diaspora are well acquainted with Russian and English
St. Gregory Illuminator was the first missionary to convert the country into Christianity back in 301AD. Today, Armenia can easily be viewed as the home of Christianity. As a matter of fact, Armenia is recorded as the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion. To date, an approximate 97% of Armenians profess the Christian faith and notably, the country boasts the most beautiful churches in the world. 93% of the population acclaim party to the Armenian apostolic church while the remaining small fractions of Armenian residents profess Catholicism as well as Sunni Islam.
It is also noteworthy that Mount Ararat is a sacred point of worship for Armenians. The Christian nation believes that the ark of Noah rested and was found on this mountain. Consequently, the mountain is said to have protected the country people from a super strong earthquake.
The education system in Armenia consists of four stages namely: primary education, middle education, secondary and tertiary education. Three years of primary education are intended to develop the physical, mental and moral capacity of the child. This is followed by a grade 3 to 9 at intermediate school into an academically-based curriculum. Qualified students then proceed to secondary schooling and then have the option to either join vocat6ional training or a private or state university. A notable interesting fact about education in Armenia is that chess is a compulsory subject in schools and there are even exams for it.
Land Use and Climate
Armenia is a very mountainous country. Most of it the land is actually covered by the lesser Caucasus Mountains. The highest point in the land is Mt. Aragats with a height of 13,418 ft. (4,090m). The mountains are the source of the many rivers and in as much as much of the country’s land remains at 2,000m above sea level, at least 3% form the valleys of the Debet and Araks rivers. Another significant river in the country is Razdan. Most of the rivers in Armenia are short and turbulent sipping through series of rapids and waterfalls. As a result, the rivers have effectively been used as hydro-electric power generators. Most of the rivers drain into Aras. The largest lake in Armenia is Sevan which sits at 6,000 feet above sea level (World Atlas, n.d.).
A very important and distinctive region in Armenia is the Ararat Plain and the foothills and mountains surrounding it. This area is densely populated and prosperous. It is not just the center of Armenia’s economy and culture, but also the headquarters of the governmental institutions. other important geographical features are the Shirak Steppe, the elevated northwestern plateau zone that is Armenia’s granary; Gugark, high plateaus, ranges, and deep valleys of the northeast, covered with forests, farmlands, and alpine pastures; the Sevan Basin, the hollow containing Lake Sevan, on the shores of which are farmlands, villages, and towns; Vayk, essentially the basin of the Arpa River; and Zangezur (Suny, Dowsett, Howe, & Mints, 2017).
The climate in Armenia is majorly dry and continental, owing to the country’s position in the deep interior of subtropical zone. The country experiences long and hot summers and cold winters. Winter is mostly inclement on the elevated plateaus. Autumn is accompanied with long, mild and sunny weather making it the most preferred season.
The type of economy inherited by Armenia from the Soviet system was absolutely unviable. The small state was coming from an agrarian-industrial economy with developed mechanical engineering, metal working, food-processing industry and chemical technology to neither richness in natural resources nor favorable fertile soils for agricultural activity. It was even more difficult for the landlocked country without oil and gas. Privatization began in 1991 starting with agriculture while industrialization took course in the verge of the twentieth century. Since then, inflation rate decreased as the GDP rose gradually.