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Turkmenistan's Population Tops 6.7 Million --> Cotton pickers in Turkmenistan (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) March 16, 2006 -- Turkmen authorities say the country's official population is now 6.7 million people, much higher than the best independent estimates, which in July 2005 put the number at about 4.9 million.

Correspondents say it is hard to collect independent population statistics, given the closed nature of the country's political system.

The Turkmen National Institute of State Statistics and Information says just over half the population (53 percent) lives in rural areas.


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