Mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River
Warm, dry summers and autumns; relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall
Population: 2,091,719 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Macedonian (official) 66.5%, Albanian (official) 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Roma 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8% (2002 census)
Macedonian Orthodox 64.7%, Muslim 33.3%, other Christian 0.37%, other and unspecified 1.63% (2002 census)
Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made significant progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment but has lagged the Balkan region in attracting foreign investment. Unemployment has remained consistently high at more than 30% since 2008, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be between 20% and 45% of GDP that is not captured by official statistics.
Consumer goods—most of them imported from Germany—are readily available in Macedonia. Automobiles, TVs, VCRs, refrigerators, washers, and dryers may be found in almost every household. Housing is no longer the major problem it was under communism. It is no longer difficult to find an apartment or a condominium. Many families have even built houses in the country or in villages near resort areas.
US Military Presence/Support