announced that GDP grew 2.5% in 1997, giving Kazakhstan what he said was the highest per capita GDP ($1,500) of any former Soviet republic outside the Baltics. Inflation for the year was a lower-than-expected 12%, while average monthly wages rose 27% to $120. Nevertheless, the Institute for the Development of Kazakhstan pointed out that GDP remains some 35% below the 1991 level, life expectancy has fallen by five years, and emigration has lowered the population from 16.9 million in 1994 to 15.8 million.
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