Sixty-seven percent of Ukrainian people (more than 52 million people) live in urban areas. Eastern Ukraine is much more urbanized than the west. Kiev is Ukraine’s largest city, with a population of about 2.6 million people. Women make up 53% of Ukraine’s population. This gender imbalance reflects the large loss of male lives during World War II.
Ukrainians are the largest nationality living in Ukraine, constituting 73% of the population. Russians make up another 21%, and they live primarily in cities and in Eastern Ukraine. The remaining 6% is divided between Jews, Belorussians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, and Poles.
Ukraine has avoided the bitter ethnic conflicts found in Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, although territorial disputes with Russia over Crimea or with Romania or Moldova could spark ethnic tensions.
Another 6,750,000 Ukrainians live in other former republics of Soviet Union, including 4,400,000 in Russia. There are Ukrainians living in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
Ukrainians national clothes
Since 1989 Ukrainian has been the state language. Under Soviet rule, from the 1930s through the 1980s, Soviet government promoted cultural russification in the republic. Ukrainian culture and language were treated as second-class and provincial. Those who spoke Russian and identified with Russian culture gained the best jobs.
Now Ukrainian has regained its social and legal status, and its use in educational, media, and governmental institutions has grown sharply. Ukrainian government has reassured its minorities that their linguistic and cultural rights will be respected.
Most Ukrainians belong to one of several religious denominations: Orthodox Christian, Creek Catholic (Uniate), Protestant (particularly Baptist), or Jewish.
By historic tradition, over 75% of Ukrainians identify with the Orthodox faith that dominates in Eastern Ukraine. The self-governing Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which was legalized only in 1990, competes with the previously state-favored Ukrainian (formerly Russian) Orthodox Church. The latter had been an instrument of cultural russification in Ukraine during Soviet period.
Greek Catholics, or Uniates, are prominent in Western Ukraine. From 1946 to 1990 legally banned Uniates survived as an underground church. Since legalization, Greek Catholics have been reclaiming church buildings confiscated by Soviet state and given over to Russian Orthodox Church. Religious rivalry between Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine has been long standing.
Baptists represent the largest Protestant group in Ukraine, and they tend to live in the cities. The number of Ukrainian Jews, another notable religious denomination in Ukraine, has decreased noticeably in recent decades because of World War II losses and emigration to Israel and United States.
Ukrainian girl traditional costume