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Mongolia at a Glance

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Capital:

Ulaanbaatar

Land:

604,250 square miles (1,565,000 square kilometers)

Currency (code):

togrog/tugrik (MNT)

Exchange rates:

togrogs/tugriks per US dollar - 1,170 (2007), 1,179.6 (2006), 1,205 (2005), 1,185.3 (2004), 1,146.5 (2003)

Population:

2,951,786 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 28.7% (male 432,309/female 415,382)
  • 15-64 years: 67.4% (male 994,186/female 995,986)
  • 65 years and over: 3.9% (male 49,517/female 64,406) (2007 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.486% (2007 est.)

Religions:

Buddhist Lamaist 50%, Shamanist and Christian 6%, Muslim 4%, none 40% (2004)

Climate:

Summer (June–August) can be warm, and temperatures often reach above 70°F (21°C). Winds sweep the arid south and east in springtime. Mongolia is called the Land of Blue Sky because it averages 257 cloudless days a year. Winters are very cold (usually below freezing). When blizzards send enough snow to cover the grass, livestock cannot graze and therefore die. This winter weather, called zud, has been severe in recent years

Language:

The majority of people speak the Khalkha Mongol dialect. Adult Mongols speak at least some Russian, and many Russian words have been incorporated into the Mongolian language. English is spreading rapidly, and many official signs are written only in the traditional script and English.

General Attitudes:

The people of Mongolia are proud of their history, especially the era when their empire stretched across much of Asia and Europe. As pastoral nomads, Mongolians have always regarded themselves as freer than settled nations. This way of life has given them a love of the environment and wildlife. Elk foraging for winter food are allowed to wander freely on city streets. Unfortunately, urban sanitation systems are underdeveloped and cities are increasingly polluted. Life in rural areas is dramatically different than in the city. Rural Mongolians appreciate wide-open spaces and feel a oneness with nature. A fast-running horse is prized everywhere. Voting is so important that rural residents will ride for hours on a horse just to reach a polling station.

Mongolians sometimes struggle to adapt to their society’s new challenges. Because conformity was fostered under communism, older people are not used to personal initiative, risk taking, and entrepreneurship. Mongolian egalitarianism emphasizes shared values and common goals. Younger members of society are enthusiastic about change and Western values. Yet, even as some Mongolians are adapting successfully, many others feel unable to cope with rapid change. They favor a balance between the market-oriented system and a government that cares for the people. National unity is undermined by growing differences between rural and urban areas and a widening gap between the rich and poor.

Greetings:

A handshake is the most common greeting in urban areas. A standard greeting in formal situations or among strangers is Ta sain baina uu? (How do you do?). Acquaintances prefer more casual greetings such as Sain uu (Hello) or Sonin yu baina? (What’s new?). In rural areas, Mongolians exchange their pipes or snuff as a greeting and ask questions about how fat the livestock are, how favorable the particular season is, and so forth.

Mongolian names consist of a patronymic and a given name. All people are called by their given names. The patronymic is rarely used in ordinary speech and never used alone. Its purpose is to distinguish between people who might have the same name. It is the possessive form of the person’s father’s name. For example, a person named Hashbatyn Hulan is called Hulan and the father is known as Hashbat. A title often follows the given name. It is used to recognize a person’s rank, seniority (in age or status), or profession. For example, a respected teacher might be addressed as Batbayar bagsh. The term guai is added when addressing an elder (male or female) or someone of higher status, so an honored elder would be addressed as Sumiya guai (Mr.). Sometimes a person with a close relationship to an older person will call that person “uncle” or “aunt,” even though they are not related.

Labor force:

1.042 million (2006)

Labor force - by occupation:

  • agriculture: 39.9%
  • industry: 11.7%
  • services: 49.4% (2006)

Unemployment rate:

3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

15.1% (2007)

Natural resources:

oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold, silver, iron

Exports:

$1.889 billion f.o.b. (2007)

Exports - commodities:

copper, apparel, livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, hides, fluorspar, other nonferrous metals

Exports - partners:

China 71.7%, Canada 11.7%, US 7.3% (2006)

Imports:

$2.117 billion c.i.f. (2007)

Imports – commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuel, cars, food products, industrial consumer goods, chemicals, building materials, sugar, tea

Imports - partners:

Russia 29.7%, China 29.4%, Japan 11.9% (2006)

 

References:

Mongolia.” CultureGrams World Edition. 2008. ProQuest. <http://online.culturegrams.com>.

Mongolia.” THE WORLD FACTBOOK. 2008. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. <https://www.cia.gov>.

Mongolia.” Factsheet. May, 2007. Economist Intelligence Unit. <http://www.economist.com>

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