Ukraine: basic facts


Ukraine at a glance

Ukraine: basic facts

Population (2016):

44.624 million [Source]

Life expectancy at birth (2015):

71 years [Source]



  • 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.


  • Chief of state: President Petro Poroshenko (since 7 June 2014)
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman (since 14 April 2016)
  • Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko (since 2 December 2014)
  • Cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, approved by the Verkhovna Rada
  • Elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 25 May 2014 (next to be held in 2019); prime minister nominated by the president, confirmed by the Verkhovna Rada
  • Legislative Branch:
  • unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada (450 seats; 225 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 225 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
  • Judicial Branch:
  • Highest court(s): Supreme Court of Ukraine or SCU (consists of 95 judges organized into civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative chambers, and a military panel); Constitutional Court (consists of 18 justices)
  • judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the Supreme Council of Justice or SCJ (a 20-member independent body of judicial officials and other appointees) and appointed by presidential decree; judges initially appointed for 5 years and, if approved by the SCJ, serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 6 each by the president, by the SCU, and by the Verkhovna Rada; justices appointed for 9-year non-renewable terms subordinate courts: specialized high courts; Courts of Cassation; Courts of Appeal; regional, district, city, and town courts 


Ukraine is a lower middle income country with GNI per capita of US$ 2,620. An estimated 69% of Ukrainians live in urban areas as of 2015. Population is approximately 45 mln. 78 per cent of the population is Ukrainian.

“The economy contracted by almost 10 percent in 2015 due to unprecedented shocks from the conflict in the East and lower global commodity prices, as well as considerable fiscal and external adjustment. Initial signs of stabilization emerged in the fourth quarter.

A gradual economic recovery by 1 percent in 2016 and 2 percent in 2017 is projected, contingent on reform progress and no further escalation of the conflict. Reforms on multiple fronts are crucial to achieve sustainable recovery and growth. The current political uncertainty poses a serious risk to continued reforms and economic recovery in Ukraine. The general government deficit, including Naftogaz, was reduced to 2 percent of GDP in 2015; however, the fiscal outlook remains challenging. Poverty is estimated to have increased in 2015 and is projected to remain elevated through 2018 in light of the gradual recovery of economic activity, real wages, and jobs.” [Source]

Politics 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.

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 (2016)
44.6 mln

Population under 18 years of age (2013) 7,971,000

Life expectancy at birth 2015 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, 2010-2015) 9

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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