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The Mongols gained fame in the 13th century when under Genghis KHAN they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and came under Chinese rule. 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 to the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC), which defeated the MPRP in a national election in 1996. Over the next four years, the DUC put forward a number of key reforms to modernize the economy and to democratize the political system. The former Communists were a strong opposition that stalled additional restructuring and made implementation difficult. In 2000, the MPRP won an overwhelming victory in the legislature - with 72 of the 76 seats - and completely reshuffled the government. While it continues many of the reform policies, the MPRP has focused on social welfare and public order priorities.

Insider tip: A comprehensive description of Mongolia can be found in the free ebook "Country Studies - Mongolia".
Geography Mongolia
Northern Asia, between China and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
46 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
total: 1.565 million sq km
water: 9,600 sq km
land: 1,555,400 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Alaska
Land boundaries:
total: 8,162 km
border countries: China 4,677 km, Russia 3,485 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
none (landlocked)
desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)
vast semidesert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Hoh Nuur 518 m
highest point: Nayramadlin Orgil (Huyten Orgil) 4,374 m
Natural resources:
oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, wolfram, fluorspar, gold, silver, iron, phosphate
Land use:
arable land: 0.84%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.16% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
840 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
dust storms, grassland and forest fires, drought, and "zud," which is harsh winter conditions
Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources in some areas; the policies of former Communist regimes promoted rapid urbanization and industrial growth that had negative effects on the environment; the burning of soft coal in power plants and the lack of enforcement of environmental laws severely polluted the air in Ulaanbaatar; deforestation, overgrazing, and the converting of virgin land to agricultural production increased soil erosion from wind and rain; desertification and mining activities 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 Mongolia
2,751,314 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.7% (male 415,735; female 400,560)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 916,445; female 918,235)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 43,205; female 57,134) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 23.9 years
male: 23.6 years
female: 24.3 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.43% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
21.44 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 55.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 58.97 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.17 years
male: 61.97 years
female: 66.48 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.27 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
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)
Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism 96%, Muslim (primarily in the southwest), Shamanism, and Christian 4% (1998)
Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian (1999)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.1%
male: 99.2%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government Mongolia
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Mongolia
local short form: Mongol Uls
former: Outer Mongolia
local long form: none
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
21 provinces (aymguud, singular - aymag) and 1 municipality* (singular - hot); Arhangay, Bayanhongor, Bayan-Olgiy, Bulgan, Darhan Uul, Dornod, Dornogovi, Dundgovi, Dzavhan, Govi-Altay, Govi-Sumber, Hentiy, Hovd, Hovsgol, Omnogovi, Orhon, Ovorhangay, Selenge, Suhbaatar, Tov, Ulaanbaatar*, Uvs
11 July 1921 (from China)
National holiday:
Independence Day/Revolution Day, 11 July (1921)
12 February 1992
Legal system:
blend of Soviet, German, and US systems of law that combines aspects of a parliamentary system with some aspects of a presidential system; constitution ambiguous on judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Natsagiyn BAGABANDI (since 20 June 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Nambaryn ENKHBAYAR (since 26 July 2000)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the State Great Hural in consultation with the president
elections: president nominated by parties in the State Great Hural and elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 20 May 2001 (next to be held in May 2005); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the State Great Hural; election last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held in June 2004)
election results: Natsagiyn BAGABANDI reelected president; percent of vote - Natsagiyn BAGABANDI (MPRP) 58.13%, Radnaasumbereliyn GONCHIGDORJ (DP) 36.58%, Luvsandamba DASHNYAM (CWP) 3.54%, other 1.75%; Nambaryn ENKHBAYAR elected prime minister by a vote in the State Great Hural of 68 to 3
Legislative branch:
unicameral State Great Hural (76 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 2 July 2000 (next to be held June 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - MPRP 72, other 4
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (serves as appeals court for people's and provincial courts but rarely overturns verdicts of lower courts; judges are nominated by the General Council of Courts for approval by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Citizens' Will Party or CWP (also called Civil Will Party or Civil Courage Party) [Sanjaasurengyn OYUN]; Democratic Party or DP [M. ENKHSAIKHAN]; Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party or MPRP [Nambaryn ENKHBAYAR]; Mongolian New Socialist Democratic Party or MNSDP [B. ERDENEBAT]; Mongolian Republican Party or MRP [B. JARGALSAIHAN]
note: the MPRP is the ruling party
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ravdangiyn BOLD
chancery: 2833 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 298-9227
telephone: [1] (202) 333-7117
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela J. SLUTZ
embassy: Micro Region 11, Big Ring Road, C.P.O. 1021, Ulaanbaatar 13
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 300, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [976] (11) 329095
FAX: [976] (11) 320776
Flag description:
three equal, vertical bands of red (hoist side), blue, and red; centered on the hoist-side red band in yellow is the national emblem ("soyombo" - a columnar arrangement of abstract and geometric representation for fire, sun, moon, earth, water, and the yin-yang symbol)
Economy Mongolia
Economy - overview:
Economic activity traditionally has been based on agriculture and breeding of livestock. Mongolia also has extensive mineral deposits; copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and gold account for a large part of industrial production. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990-1991 at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR. Mongolia was driven into deep recession, prolonged by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party's (MPRP) reluctance to undertake serious economic reform. The Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) government embraced free-market economics, eased price controls, liberalized domestic and international trade, and attempted to restructure the banking system and the energy sector. Major domestic privatization programs were undertaken, as well as the fostering of foreign investment through international tender of the oil distribution company, a leading cashmere company, and banks. Reform was held back by the ex-Communist MPRP opposition and by the political instability brought about through four successive governments under the DUC. Economic growth picked up in 1997-1999 after stalling in 1996 due to a series of natural disasters and declines in world prices of copper and cashmere. In August and September 1999, the economy suffered from a temporary Russian ban on exports of oil and oil products, and Mongolia remains vulnerable in this sector. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization (WTrO) in 1997. The international donor community pledged over $300 million per year at the Consultative Group Meeting, held in Ulaanbaatar in June 1999. The MPRP government, elected in July 2000, was anxious to improve the investment climate; it also had to deal with a heavy burden of external debt. Falling prices for Mongolia's mainly primary sector exports, widespread opposition to privatization, and adverse effects of weather on agriculture in early 2000 and 2001 restrained real GDP growth. Despite drought problems in 2002, GDP rose 4.0%, followed by a solid 5.0% increase in 2003. The first applications under the land privatization law have been marked by a number of disputes over particular sites. Russia claims Mongolia owes it $11 billion from the Soviet period; any settlement could substantially increase Mongolia's foreign debt burden.
purchasing power parity - $4.877 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20.6%
industry: 21.4%
services: 58% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
33% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 37% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
1.4 million (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
herding/agriculture 46%, manufacturing 6%, trade 10.3%, public sector 4.7%, other/unemployed 33% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
4.6% (2001)
revenues: $387 million
expenditures: $428 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
construction materials; mining (coal, copper, molybdenum, fluorspar, and gold); oil; food and beverages; processing of animal products
Industrial production growth rate:
4.1% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
2.225 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
2.194 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
25 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
196 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
8,750 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, potatoes, forage crops, sheep, goats, cattle, camels, horses
$524 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
copper, livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, hides, fluorspar, other nonferrous metals
Exports - partners:
China 41.4%, US 31.7%, Russia 9.2%, South Korea 4.2% (2002)
$691 million c.i.f. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, fuels, food products, industrial consumer goods, chemicals, building materials, sugar, tea
Imports - partners:
Russia 34.4%, China 20.1%, South Korea 12.4%, Japan 6.2%, Germany 4.3%, Hong Kong 4.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
$885 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$211.3 million (2000 est.)
togrog/tugrik (MNT)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
togrogs/tugriks per US dollar - 1,171 (2003), 1,110.31 (2002), 1,097.7 (2001), 1,076.67 (2000), 1,021.87 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Mongolia
Telephones - main lines in use:
128,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
216,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: very low density: about 3.5 telephones for each thousand persons
domestic: NA
international: country code - 976; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean Region)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 7, FM 9, shortwave 4 (2001)
155,900 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
9 (plus 18 provincial repeaters and many low power repeaters) (2004)
168,800 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
127 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2001)
Internet users:
50,000 (2002)
Transportation Mongolia
1,815 km
broad gauge: 1,815 km 1.524-m gauge (2002)
total: 49,250 km
paved: 1,724 km
unpaved: 47,526 km (2000)
400 km (1999)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 65 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 339,423 GRT/533,853 DWT
foreign-owned: Belize 1, Cambodia 1, China 4, Cuba 1, Hong Kong 2, Indonesia 1, Japan 1, North Korea 1, Lebanon 1, Malaysia 1, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 5, Moldova 1, Panama 3, Romania 1, Russia 14, Singapore 13, Syria 4, Thailand 1, Turkey 1, Ukraine 1, United States 3, Vietnam 4 (2003 est.)
by type: bulk 4, cargo 53, chemical tanker 1, container 2, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, specialized tanker 1
36 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
under 914 m: 5 (2003 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
over 3,047 m: 2
2 (2003 est.)
Military Mongolia
Military branches:
Mongolian People's Army (comprising Ground Forces, Air Defense Forces), Border Guards, Internal Security Forces, Construction Corps Forces, Civil Defense Authority
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 818,977 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 530,594 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 33,718 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$23.1 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.2% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Mongolia
Disputes - international: