population and settlements

Traditionally, Itelmens occupied most of the peninsula. According to various data provided by the first explorers in the 17th  and 18th centuries the total population of Itelmens was estimated to be as many as 20 000 people. During the centuries of Russian expansion Itelmen population decreased significantly because of violent conflict, economic hardship and disease

                Maps of decline of Itelmen population 1700s - 1900s
                                                    from Orlova "Itelmens, 1999


According to the Russian Whole State Census of 2002 the total population of Itelmens is 3180 people. Most of them live in the southern part of Kamchatka: in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, Elizovo region, Milkovo region, Ust-Bolsheretsk region, Sobolevo region and Ust-Kamchatski region.

As for the Northern part of Kamchatka, Itelmens mainly live on the Western coast by the Okhotsk Sea in the native villages of Kovran, Tigil and Verkhnee-Khairyuzovo. It is in this area where Itelmen culture is maintained the most. 

Tigil settlement is the center of Tigilskii Rayon (Tigil region/district). Most of the few remaining speakers of Itelmen language live there.  

Map of Itelmen villages

Verkhnee-Khairyuzovo is the only remaining village which was established by Itelmens long before Russians came.

Kovran is the center of Itelmen culture. It is the only village where the Itelmen population is the majority.