Turkmenistan, in central Asia, borders the Caspian Sea between Iran and Kazakhstan. The country was annexed by Russia in 1865 and became a Soviet republic in 1924; it became independent in 1991. The population in 2009 was estimated at 4.9 million, with a median age of 24.4 years, and 28.9 percent aged 14 years and younger. The population growth rate is 1.14 percent, despite a negative migration rate of minus 1.97 per 1,000, due to a high birth rate of 25.1 births per 1,000 and a total fertility rate (an estimate of the number of children per woman) of 2.2. Life expectancy at birth is 64.9 years for males and 71 for females. Eighty-five percent of the population is Turkmen, and 89 percent are Muslim. ...

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