Size: Total 1,565,000 square kilometers.
Topography: Mountains and rolling plateaus; vast
semidesert and desert plains, 90 percent pasture or desert
wasteland, less than 1 percent arable, 8 to 10 percent forested;
mountains in north, west and southwest; Gobi, a vast desert in
southeast; Selenge river system in north.
Climate: Desert; high, cold, dry, continental climate;
sharp seasonal fluctuations and variation; little precipitation;
great diurnal temperature changes.
Population: 2,125,463 in July 1989; in 1989, birth rate
35.1 per 1,000; death rate 7.6 per 1,000. Approximately 51
percent live in urban areas; nearly 25 percent in Ulaanbaatar in
1986. In 1987 population density per square kilometer 1.36; sex
ratio 50.1 percent male, 49.9 percent female as of 1986.
Ethnic Groups: Nearly 90 percent Mongol. Rest Kazakh
(5.3 percent), Chinese (2 percent), Russian (2 percent);
Tuvins (see Glossary),
Uzbeks (see Glossary),
Uighurs (see Glossary),
and others (1.5 percent).
Languages: Khalkha Mongol (official language), 90
percent; minor languages include Turkic, Chinese, Russian, and
Religion: Predominantly Yellow Sect of Tibetan Buddhism
(Lamaism); about 4 percent Muslim (primarily in southwest), some
shamanism. Limited religious activity although freedom of
religion guaranteed in 1960 Constitution.
Health: Life expectancy in 1989 sixty-three for males,
sixty-seven for females. Infant mortality 49 to 53 per 1,000; 112
hospitals in 1986 with a ratio of 110 hospital beds and 24.8
doctors per 10,000 population. Overall free medical care; medical
specialists and facilities concentrated in urban areas; close
cooperation with Soviet Union in medical research and training.
Education: Four years compulsory elementary school
overall and four years compulsory secondary school in all but
most remote areas; two-year noncompulsory general secondary.
Higher education: one university, seven other institutes of
higher learning. In 1985 primary and secondary education: 28
specialized secondary schools, 40 vocational schools, 900 general
education schools enrolling 435,900 students; many Mongolian
students at universities and technical schools in the Soviet
Union and East European countries--approximately 11,000 studied
abroad in 1986-87. In the late 1980s, educational reform plans
announced for 11-year system of general education with
traditional emphasis. In 1985 national literacy rate estimated at
80 percent; 100 percent claimed by government.
Media: Thirty-five newspapers and thirty-eight
magazines published in 1986.
Data as of June 1989