The five provinces of Turkmenistan coincide with economic and ecological zones, and also with the main Turkmen tribal groups.
- Akhal Province is in the south of the country. It includes the capital and the western section of the Kara Kum Canal, and has more industry and better infrastructure than any other province. Fertile valleys in the southern part of the province give way to semi-desert pasture further north. Most inhabitants belong to the Teke tribal group.
- Mary Province is in the southeast. It includes the fertile areas along the eastern section of the Kara Kum Canal. Most inhabitants belong to the Teke tribal group.
- Lebap Province is in the northeast, around Chardzhou. The lands along the Amu Darya River are fertile. The main tribal group is Ersari. It is here that the Uzbek minority lives.
- Tashauz Province is in the north of the country, around Tashauz. It includes fertile lands along the Amu Darya River. Most inhabitants belong to the Yomud tribal group.
- Balkan Province is situated in the west of Turkmenistan, along the Caspian Sea coast. It is mostly desert, inhabited mainly by herders of the Yomud tribal group. The Kazakh minority lives in the north of the province.