Just over half of Kazakhstan's people live in cities, mostly in apartments. There is a housing shortage in Kazakhstan and many families live in small spaces. Young married couples sometimes cannot find apartments and live with relatives until they can set up their own home. A family of four might share a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and a living room that is also used for sleeping. Rural people live in brick houses, with electricity but often without running water.
For part of the year, a small number of traditional herders live in large, weather-tight tents made of felt, called yurtas. People enter a yurta through a carved, folding wooden door. Tall poles support the high ceiling, which is open at its peak to let out smoke from the cooking fire. Colourful carpets called tekemets cover the floor and walls. Families can dismantle and pack up the yurta in an hour when it is time to move on to new grazing land.
  Did you know?
The cosy hearth is an honoured place in a herder's yurta. Sitting near the fire is a privilege for guests. A cauldron called a kazan simmers over the fire.
Women in urban areas often work outside the home, and they hold many of the country's senior jobs. Rural women usually work in the home. Farming couples work together and children are expected to do their share. Many families of Kazakh origin have a special bond with their grandmothers. Often the azjhe, as she is known, does the housework and takes care of small children while their parents are working outside the home. Kazakhs feel that the azjhes are the glue that holds their society together.

 According to Kazakh tradition, the youngest son is expected to look after his parents when they grow old. He and his family will live with them or in a nearby house or apartment. Women who marry into a Kazakh family are expected to show special respect for their husband's parents.

  Did you know?
Kazakhs have traditionally been divided into three large clans called zhuszes. They were ruled by leaders called khans. Even today people may ask when meeting someone new: "What zhusz do you belong to?" Many Kazakhs can trace their heritage back seven generations or more.