Trans Eurasia travel

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Where they live

The largest cities are very predictable to find—just look for water. Tbilisi, the capital city, is located to the east of the Likhi mountains. It has more than 1.2 million people and lies in the Kura River Valley. Kutaisi, the next largest city, is across the mountains to the west. It has 240,000 people and lies at the junction of the Enguri and Rioni Rivers. Batumi, with 136,000 people, lies on the Black Sea coast in the southern half of the country within just a few miles of several smaller coastal towns. About 60 percent of the population—and nearly all ethnic Georgians—live in towns and cities. One-third of the people living in towns and cities live in Tbilisi.

Virtually every citizen can read and write at least one language, even if it is not the official language of the country. More than half of the population has finished secondary school, and about 15 percent of the population has gone on to school beyond high school. In fact, during the time of Soviet rule, the country boasted the highest average level of education in the Soviet Union. It also had the highest number of medical doctors.

The biggest factor affecting the Georgian population today is aging. Since 1991, people have not been able to afford large families, so there are not as many young people being born as there are people reaching retirement age. About 13 percent of the population is over 65, but that number is expected to rise into the middle of the century. That fact, in turn, will put more pressure on the remaining citizens to supply social services and goods for the aging population.