Middle East :: Armenia
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag of Armenia
Map of Armenia
Introduction ::Armenia
Armenia 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 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, ethnic 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 closed the common border with Armenia in 1994 because of the Armenian separatists' control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, further hampering Armenian economic growth. However, in 2009 senior Armenian leaders began pursuing rapprochement with Turkey, which could result in the border reopening.
Geography ::Armenia
Southwestern Asia, east of Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
40 00 N, 45 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 29,743 sq km
country comparison to the world: 142
land: 28,203 sq km
water: 1,540 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
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Current Weather
highland continental, hot summers, cold winters
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, bauxite
Land use:
arable land: 16.78%
permanent crops: 2.01%
other: 81.21% (2005)
Irrigated land:
2,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
10.5 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.95 cu km/yr (30%/4%/66%)
per capita: 977 cu m/yr (2000)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, 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
People ::Armenia
2,966,802 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.9% (male 283,849/female 246,891)
15-64 years: 71.8% (male 997,015/female 1,133,804)
65 years and over: 10.3% (male 117,456/female 187,787) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 31.9 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 34.7 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.016% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Birth rate:
12.74 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
Death rate:
8.42 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
Net migration rate:
-4.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
urban population: 64% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.133 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 103
male: 24.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.96 years
country comparison to the world: 118
male: 69.33 years
female: 77.07 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.36 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,400 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
noun: Armenian(s)
adjective: Armenian
Ethnic groups:
Armenian 97.9%, Yezidi (Kurd) 1.3%, Russian 0.5%, other 0.3% (2001 census)
Armenian Apostolic 94.7%, other Christian 4%, Yezidi (monotheist with elements of nature worship) 1.3%
Armenian 97.7%, Yezidi 1%, Russian 0.9%, other 0.4% (2001 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.4%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.2% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.2% of GDP (2001)
country comparison to the world: 139
Government ::Armenia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Armenia
conventional short form: Armenia
local long form: Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun
local short form: Hayastan
former: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, Armenian Republic
Government type:
name: Yerevan
geographic coordinates: 40 10 N, 44 30 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
11 provinces (marzer, singular - marz); Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Geghark'unik', Kotayk', Lorri, Shirak, Syunik', Tavush, Vayots' Dzor, Yerevan
21 September 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1991)
adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995; amendments adopted through a nationwide referendum 27 November 2005
Legal system:
based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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
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elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 19 February 2008 (next to be held in 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, 90 members elected by party list and 41 by direct vote; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 12 May 2007 (next to be held in the spring of 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - HHK 33.9%, Prosperous Armenia 15.1%, ARF (Dashnak) 13.2%, Rule of Law 7.1%, Heritage Party 6%, other 24.7%; seats by party - HHK 64, Prosperous Armenia 18, ARF (Dashnak) 16, Rule of Law 9, Heritage Party 7, independent 17
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Court of Cassation (Appeals Court)
Political parties and leaders:
Armenian National Congress or ANC (bloc of independent and opposition parties) [Levon TER-PETROSSIAN]; Armenian National Movement or ANM [Ararat ZURABIAN]; Armenian Revolutionary Federation ("Dashnak" Party) or ARF [Hrant MARKARIAN]; Heritage Party [Raffi HOVHANNISIAN]; People's Party of Armenia [Stepan DEMIRCHIAN]; Prosperous Armenia [Gagik TSARUKIAN]; Republican Party of Armenia or HHK [Serzh SARGSIAN]; Rule of Law Party (Orinats Yerkir) [Artur BAGHDASARIAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Aylentrank (Impeachment Alliance) [Nikol PASHINIAN]; Yerkrapah Union [Manvel GRIGORIAN]
International organization participation:
ACCT (observer), ADB, BSEC, CE, CIS, CSTO, EAEC (observer), EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIF (associate member), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tatoul MARKARIAN
chancery: 2225 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 319-1976
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2982
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marie L. YOVANOVITCH
embassy: 1 American Ave., Yerevan 0082
mailing address: American Embassy Yerevan, US Department of State, 7020 Yerevan Place, Washington, DC 20521-7020
telephone: [374](10) 464-700
FAX: [374](10) 464-742
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, and orange; the color red recalls the blood shed for liberty, blue the Armenian skies as well as hope, and orange the land and the courage of the workers who farm it
Economy ::Armenia
Economy - overview:
After several years of double-digit economic growth, Armenia is facing a severe economic recession with GDP declining at least 15% in 2009, despite large loans from multilateral institutions. Sharp declines in the construction sector and workers' remittances, particularly from Russia, are the main reasons for the downturn. 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. Armenia has managed to reduce poverty, slash inflation, stabilize its currency, and privatize most small- and medium-sized enterprises. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia had made progress in implementing some economic reforms, including privatization, price reforms, and prudent fiscal policies, but geographic isolation, a narrow export base, and pervasive monopolies in important business sectors have made Armenia particularly vulnerable to the sharp deterioration in the global economy and the economic downturn in Russia. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh contributed to a severe economic decline in the early 1990s and Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed. Armenia is particularly dependent on Russian commercial and governmental support and most key Armenian infrastructure is Russian-owned and/or managed, 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 was completed in December 2008 but it is unlikely significant quantities of gas will flow through it until the Yerevan Thermal Power Plant renovation is completed in 2010. 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 have been ineffective and the current economic downturn has led to a sharp drop in tax revenue and forced the government to accept large loan packages from Russia, the IMF, and other international financial institutions. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic reforms in order to regain economic growth and improve economic competitiveness and employment opportunities, especially given its economic isolation from two of its nearest neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$16.18 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$19.03 billion (2008 est.)
$17.82 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.785 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-15% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
6.8% (2008 est.)
13.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$5,900 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
$6,400 (2008 est.)
$6,000 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 22.5%
industry: 43.5%
services: 34.1% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
1.481 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 46.2%
industry: 15.6%
services: 38.2% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
Population below poverty line:
26.5% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 41.3% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 77
44.4 (1996)
Investment (gross fixed):
38.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
revenues: $1.923 billion
expenditures: $2.484 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
9% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
7.25% (2 December 2008)
NA% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key monetary policy instrument of the Armenian National Bank
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17.05% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 28
17.52% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$1.359 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
$1.507 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$950.1 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 119
$765.2 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$1.98 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 100
$1.256 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 111
$176 million (31 December 2008)
$105 million (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
fruit (especially grapes), vegetables; livestock
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:
-12% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Electricity - production:
5.584 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
Electricity - consumption:
4.776 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
Electricity - exports:
451.3 million kWh; note - exports an unknown quantity to Georgia; includes exports to Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
418.7 million kWh; note - imports an unknown quantity from Iran (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
Oil - consumption:
49,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
Oil - imports:
45,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 204
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
Natural gas - consumption:
1.93 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
Natural gas - imports:
1.93 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Current account balance:
-$1.321 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
-$1.355 billion (2008 est.)
$714 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
$1.124 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
pig iron, unwrought copper, nonferrous metals, diamonds, mineral products, foodstuffs, energy
Exports - partners:
Germany 16.47%, Russia 15.45%, US 9.64%, Bulgaria 8.6%, Georgia 7.57%, Netherlands 7.48%, Belgium 6.71%, Canada 4.91% (2009)
$2.72 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
$3.763 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, diamonds
Imports - partners:
Russia 24.02%, China 8.72%, Ukraine 6.15%, Turkey 5.39%, Germany 5.36%, Iran 4.07% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.003 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
$1.407 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$4.47 billion (30 June 2009)
country comparison to the world: 106
$3.449 billion (31 December 2008)
Exchange rates:
drams (AMD) per US dollar - 360.07 (2009), 303.93 (2008), 344.06 (2007), 414.69 (2006), 457.69 (2005)
Communications ::Armenia
Telephones - main lines in use:
650,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 91
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.336 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
Telephone system:
general assessment: telecommunications investments have made major inroads in modernizing and upgrading the outdated telecommunications network inherited from the Soviet era; now 100% privately owned and undergoing modernization and expansion; mobile-cellular services monopoly terminated in late 2004 and a second provider began operations in mid-2005
domestic: reliable modern fixed-line and mobile-cellular services are available across Yerevan in major cities and towns; significant but ever-shrinking gaps remain in mobile-cellular coverage in rural areas
international: country code - 374; Yerevan is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable through Iran; additional international service is available by microwave radio relay and landline connections to the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, through the Moscow international switch, and by satellite to the rest of the world; satellite earth stations - 3 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 9, FM 16, shortwave 1 (2006)
Television broadcast stations:
48 (private television stations alongside 2 public networks; major Russian channels widely available) (2006)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
36,354 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 88
Internet users:
191,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
Transportation ::Armenia
11 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 153
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 10
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
gas 2,233 km (2009)
total: 845 km
country comparison to the world: 99
broad gauge: 845 km 1.520-m gauge (818 km electrified)
note: some lines are out of service (2008)
total: 8,888 km
country comparison to the world: 138
paved: 7,079 km (includes 1,561 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,809 km (2008)
Military ::Armenia
Military branches:
Armenian Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Air Force and Air Defense; "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic": Nagorno-Karabakh Self Defense Force (NKSDF) (2010)
Military service age and obligation:
18-27 years of age for voluntary or compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 809,293
females age 16-49: 862,679 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 644,195
females age 16-49: 724,085 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 24,611
female: 22,682 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
6.5% of GDP (FY01)
country comparison to the world: 8
Transnational Issues ::Armenia
Disputes - international:
Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and since the early 1990s, has militarily occupied 16% of Azerbaijan - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute; over 800,000 mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis were driven from the occupied lands and Armenia; about 230,000 ethnic Armenians were driven from their homes in Azerbaijan into Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh; Azerbaijan seeks transit route through Armenia to connect to Naxcivan exclave; border with Turkey remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy; Armenians continue to emigrate, primarily to Russia, seeking employment
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 113,295 (Azerbaijan)
IDPs: 8,400 (conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, majority have returned home since 1994 ceasefire) (2007)
Illicit drugs:
illicit cultivation of small amount of cannabis for domestic consumption; minor transit point for illicit drugs - mostly opium and hashish - moving from Southwest Asia to Russia and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)