Large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland, much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea
Dry, semiarid steppe
Population: 9,590,159 (July 2013 est.)
Language: Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 90.3%, Lezgi 2.2%, Russian 1.8%, Armenian 1.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified 1% (1999 census)
Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower
MODERN MUSLIM COUNTRY (:34)
High economic growth during 2006-10 was attributable to large and growing oil and gas exports, but some non-export sectors also featured double-digit growth, including construction, banking, and real estate. In 2012, economic growth picked up to 3.8%. Continued production declines in the oil sector were offset by strong growth in the non-oil sector. However, the non-oil sector growth may be driven primarily by government investment, which may not be sustainable.
The average life expectancy is lower than that in the industrialized nations of the West. However, Azerbaijanis living in the Caucasus mountains are famous for their longevity. Many live to be over one hundred years old. Their diet usually consists of yogurt and vegetables that they grow themselves. Most say they have spent much of their lives involved in hard physical work. Much of the water supply is unsafe due to high levels of chemical and biological pollution.
US Military Presence/Support
The United States supports reforms in Azerbaijan that encourage the development of democracy and democratic institutions. It also assists the country with regional security issues and economic development, especially efforts that promote an open market-style economy.