|The history of the population of Ukraine's territory dates back many centuries. The middle Dnieper area (the present Kyiv and Cherkasy regions) was the center of the first state of the Eastern Slavs. In the northern part and Polis-sia Chernihiv, Lviv and Lutsk grew and prospered. These regions belonged to the most densely settled territories from the times of Kyiv Rus until the 19th century. An intensive settlement of the south regions began in the second half of the 19th century in connection with the rapid growth in farming and especially the development of the mining industry in Donbas and the Dnieper area.
Before World War One poverty and national oppression forced the poor to move to Siberia, Central Asia and the Far East. From the Western Ukraine the landless poor emigrated to Canada, the USA, Brazil and Argentina.
Under Soviet rule great changes in Ukraine's population occurred. Apart from war which claimed millions of lives, there were also the famines of 1921, 1933 and 1947 in which over 10 million Ukrainians perished. During World War Two a large number of Ukrainians departed from Ukraine for political reasons.
Today the average population density-is 82 people per square kilometer. The Southeastern industrialized regions are the most densely populated.
Like most countries, Ukraine has many nationalities within its borders. Three quarters of population is Ukrainian. In folk culture and lifestyle there are certain regional differences. About 20% of population is Russian. Other nationalities comprise 6%.
There are many Ukrainians living outside Ukraine. All told, there should be a total of some million Ukrainians in the former Soviet Union. Overseas Ukrainians are found mostly in the USA (over a million) and Canada (over half a million), ihere are some 600,000 Ukrainians scattered throughout Europe (Poland, France, England), South America (Argentina, Brazil) and Australia.
Most of the overseas Ukrainians no longer speak Ukrainian, but they still worship in their own churches and are aware of their origin. There are numerous Ukrainian institutions and organizations in the US, Canada, and other countries. The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians own their own homes. In general they have a good reputation. They are believed to be thrifty, enterprising, hardworking and conscientious. They are also quick to attain a decent standard of living.
Most of Ukraine's population is urban. Close to 70 % of people live in cities and towns. Rural populace is spread unevenly. It is the greatest in the forest-steppe provinces of the Right-Bank and the Western parts.
Ukraine has over 400 cities and 900 city-like townships. The largest city is its capital, Kyiv. It has close to 2.5 million residents. The second largest city is Kharkiv, with over 1.5 million residents. Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa each have over 1 million people. The most urbanized region is Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
Villages vary greatly according to the region. In Polissia they are small, the houses mostly wooden. In the forest-steppe region the villages are large and picturesque and the houses are usually built of stone and brick. In the steppe, villages are sparse, large in size, with population of 10-12 thousand. Most of houses are of abode or brick. In the mountainous Carpathians villages are tiny. Houses are wooden.
The face of the Ukrainian village has changed greatly. The whitewashed clay and thatch cottages of the past have given way to homes of brick roofed with tile or sheet iron. However, the tidy orchards for which Ukraine is famous still remain.