Caspian Sea 2011
The Azerbaijan capital Baku is the largest and fastest growing city with a population of over 2 million (The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan 2009). The population has doubled in the last decade and may reach approx- imately 3.3 million by the year 2030 (UNPD 2005). Sumgayit, the third largest city in Azerbaijan, has the highest population density (The State Statis- tical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan). In certain areas, coastal development is accom- panied by very high rates of population growth. The Iranian coastal area, located as a narrow land ribbon between the Elbourz mountain range and the Caspian Sea, has registered a population growth rate of 3,5 per cent per year during the last decade. In addition, this area doubles its ‘normal’ population during summer due to local tourism. This population pressure has resulted in turning the coastal lands close to the shoreline into resi- dential areas (UNDP 2009).
stan, the overall population density is low. How- ever, in the past 30 years the region’s population has increased by approximately 35 per cent (Great Soviet Encyclopedia 2010). The provincial capitals of Aktau and Atyrau accommodate nearly half of the total population in each province. At the same time in the Russian Federation Kalmykia has lost 10 per cent of its population since 1995 (Russian Federal State Statistics Ser- vice 2009). The loss might be explained by climate change resulting in a worsening of living condi- tions and economic migration. The overall population growth of the Caspian littoral states within the next 5 years is predict- ed to be low, with the exception of urban areas such as the city of Baku and its surrounding areas, including Sumgayit. The infant mortal- ity rate is gradually decreasing in all Caspian countries, with an estimated trend to continue for the next 40 years (UNDP 2008).
In the Atyrau and Mangystau oblasts of Kazakh-
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