Ukraine: basic facts


Ukraine at a Glance

Ukraine:basic facts


  • 1917: the collapse of Tsarist Russia brings about a short-lived period of Ukrainian independence (1917-1920).
  • 1920: Ukraine becomes a part of the USSR and suffers from two politically generated famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over eight million people die.
  • 1939-1945:  In World War II some seven to eight million Ukrainians lost their lives.
  • 1991: independence for Ukraine at the time of the break up of the USSR.
  • Today: the legacy of state control largely remains, and efforts to reform the economy, make progress with privatisation and enhance civil liberties have been moderate.


  • Ukraine is a lower middle income country with GNI per capita of US$ 3,500. An estimated 69% of Ukrainians live in urban areas as of 2013. Population is over 45 mln. 78 per cent of the population is Ukrainian.
  • After a sharp fall for about ten years after the independence, the rapid economic growth was observed in Ukraine from 2000 till 2008. However, Ukraine was thereafter greatly affected by the economic crisis in 2008 and living standards continued to fall. Ukraine’s economy remains vulnerable and unemployment rate is estimated at 8.6%.
  • The GDP in Ukraine was worth 176.3 billion US dollars in 2012, according to a report published by the World Bank. In 2010 some  improvement of the situation with relative poverty was observed: the level of poverty has decreased by 2.3 percentage points – from 26.4% to 24.1%; the level of extreme poverty also decreased by 2,2 % (from 13.0% to 11.2%).  This improvement of poverty indicators in 2010 occurred due to the reduction of poverty levels among pensioners, whereas working individuals almost did not feel any positive changes or the situation is even worsened.


  • Head of State: President Viktor Yanukovich
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
  • Cabinet of Ministers proposed by the President and approved by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament).
  • Unicameral Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) (450 seats elected by proportional system)
  • Ukraine has 24 provinces (oblasts) and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol.

Policies on women and children

Ukraine has made a number of commitments to improve the wellbeing of children - particularly by signing and ratifying:

  • The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991
  • The Optional Protocol to the UN CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in 2003,
  • The UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2003
  • The Optional Protocol to the UN CRC on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in 2004
  • The UN Convention against Trans-national Organized Crime in February 2004

Ukraine was one of the countries that initiated the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) in 2001. In 2002 Ukraine endorsed the UN Special Session on Children’s Outcome Document entitled A World Fit for Children.

As of September 2013, the Government of Ukraine has not yet passed a law on universal salt iodisation to prevent iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) that puts at risk 80 per cent of all newborns. However, the Bill on Universal Salt Iodization has been registered in the Parliament and IDD draft legislation is under development in the Cabinet of Ministers.

The Government of Ukraine has signed - but not ratified - the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. According to UNICEF study.  baby food manufacturers market their products in 65 per cent of all medical institutions in Ukraine.

The adoption of the National Plan of Action (NPA) for Children (2010-2016) as a law in 2009 marked progress towards developing a strategic and comprehensive legal framework for implementation of child rights. The NPA pays particular attention to equity and protection of the most disadvantaged children and contains provisions for equitable access to quality health care and education regardless of children’s social and economic status. 





Key statistics

Population (2013) 45,6 mln
Population under 18 years of age (2013) 7,971,000
Life expectancy at birth 2012 71
GNI per capita (US $, 2012) 3,500
Under-five mortality rate (U5MR) (for every 1,000 live births, 2012)
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2012)
Annual no. of births (thousands, 2011) 494,000 
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births, 2011) 13.04 
Gross primary school enrolment (%, 2007-2009) 89
Estimated prevalence of HIV/AIDS among adults (age 15-49) (%, 2013) 0.66 
Rate of transmission of HIV  from mother to child (2010)  4.9  
Number of children living with HIV (confirmed diagnosis) (2013) 2,929
Number of children in residential institutions (2012) 94,705 


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