Kazakhstan, is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of northern and central Eurasia. A small portion of its territory west of the Ural River is located in eastern-most Europe. It has borders with Russia, the People's Republic of China, and the Central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and has a coastline on the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan was a republic of the former Soviet Union and is now a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
It is the ninth-largest country in the world by area, but it is only 62nd country in population, with approximately 6 persons per km² (15 per sq. mi.). Population in 2006 is estimated at 15,300,000, down from 16,464,464 in 1989  due to the emigration of ethnic Russians and Volga Germans. Much of the country's land consists of semi-desert (steppe) terrain.