Mongolia Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mongolia > Map Economy History

Facts About Mongolia

Background: Long a province of China, Mongolia won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. A communist regime was installed in 1924. During the early 1990s, the ex-communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) gradually yielded its monopoly on power. In 1996, the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) defeated the MPRP in a national election. Over the next four years the Coalition implemented a number of key reforms to modernize the economy and institutionalize democratic reforms. However, the former communists were a strong opposition that stalled additional reforms and made implementation difficult. In 2000, the MPRP won 72 of the 76 seats in Parliament and completely reshuffled the government. While it continues many of the reform policies, the MPRP is focusing on social welfare and public order priorities.
Government type: republic
Capital: Ulaanbaatar
Currency: 1 tughrik (Tug) = 100 mongos

Geography of Mongolia

Location: Northern Asia, between China and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 105 00 E
Area:
total: 1.565 million sq km
land: 1.565 million sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 8,114 km
border countries: China 4,673 km, Russia 3,441 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)
Terrain: vast semidesert and desert plains; mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Hoh Nuur 518 m
highest point: Tavan Bogd Uul 4,374 m
Natural resources: oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, wolfram, fluorspar, gold
Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 80%
forests and woodland: 9%
other: 10% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 800 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: dust storms can occur in the spring; grassland fires
Environment - current issues: limited natural fresh water resources in some areas; policies of the former communist regime promoting rapid urbanization and industrial growth have raised concerns about their negative effects on the environment; the burning of soft coal in power plants and the lack of enforcement of environmental laws have severely polluted the air in Ulaanbaatar; deforestation, overgrazing, the converting of virgin land to agricultural production have increased soil erosion from wind and rain; desertification and mining activities have also had a deleterious effect on the environment.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location between China and Russia

People of Mongolia

Life in sparsely populated Mongolia has become more urbanized. Nearly half of the people live in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and in other provincial centers. Seminomadic life still predominates in the countryside, but settled agricultural communities are becoming more common. Mongolia's birth rate is estimated at 1.4% (2000 census). About two-thirds of the total population are under age 30, 36% of whom are under 14.

Ethnic Mongols account for about 85% of the population and consist of Khalkha and other groups, all distinguished primarily by dialects of the Mongol language. Mongol is an Altaic language--from the Altaic Mountains of Central Asia, a language family comprising the Turkic, Tungusic, and Mongolic subfamilies--and is related to Turkic (Uzbek, Turkish, and Kazakh), Korean, and, possibly, Japanese. The Khalkha make up 90% of the ethnic Mongol population. The remaining 10% include Durbet Mongols and others in the north and Dariganga Mongols in the east. Turkic speakers (Kazakhs, Turvins, and Khotans) constitute 7% of Mongolia's population, and the rest are Tungusic-speakers, Chinese, and Russians. Most Russians left the country following the withdrawal of economic aid and collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism was the predominant religion. However, it was suppressed under the communist regime until 1990, with only one showcase monastery allowed to remain. Since 1990, as liberalization began, Buddhism has enjoyed a resurgence. About 4 million Mongols live outside Mongolia; about 3.4 million live in China, mainly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and some 500,000 live in Russia, primarily in Buryatia and Kalmykia.

Population: 2,791,272 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  32.99%
15-64 years:  63.13%
65 years and over:  3.88%
Population growth rate: 1.47% 
Birth rate: 21.8 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.1 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 53.5 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  64.26 years
male:  62.14 years
female:  66.5 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.39 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Mongolian(s)
adjective: Mongolian
Ethnic groups: Mongol (predominantly Khalkha) 85%, Turkic (of which Kazakh is the largest group) 7%, Tungusic 4.6%, other (including Chinese and Russian) 3.4% (1998)
Religions: Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism 96%, Muslim (primarily in the southwest), Shamanism, and Christian 4% (1998)
Languages: Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian (1999)
Literacy:
definition:  age 15 and over can read and write
total population:  97%
male:  98%
female:  97.5% (2000)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mongolia > Map Economy History