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In 2013, the total population was estimated at 2.839 million, of which 50.45 percent were women. Of the total population, 29.6 percent lived in rural areas (2). In 2012, agricultural land made 73 percent of the total land (2).

In 2013, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was USD   11.5 billion, while the per capita GDP was USD 4056.4, with an annual average growth rate of 10 percent (2). In 2012, agriculture contributed to 16.5 percent of the GDP (2), the industry accounted for 33.3 percent and services accounted for 50.3 percent of the GDP (2). The contribution of the mining sector to the GDP stands at 20%. In 2013, the population density was estimated at 1.8 people per square kilometre (2).

With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.698 in 2013, the country ranks 103 out of 187 countries measured (4). In 2012, 27.4 percent of the total population lived below the USD 1.25 per day poverty line, with 35.5 percent of this total living in rural areas (5). Data from 2013 indicates that 22.4 percent of the population was undernourished (5). In 2012, life expectancy at birth was estimated to be 71.4 years for women and 63.5 years for men (2). In 2010 the literacy rate was 98.25 percent with a slightly higher rate for women – 98.3 percent for women against 98.2 percent for men (2). 

In 2010, the agricultural share of the economically active population was estimated at 17.9 percent (6). The female share of the economically active population in agriculture was 47.9 percent (6).

In the early nineties, at the fall of the Soviet Union, Mongolia faced unprecedented social changes. The transition from socialism to a market economy resulted in hyperinflation, soaring unemployment and food rationing. With the disappearance of aid from the Soviet Union and Comecon countries, Mongolia had to turn to international agents (the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank) for loans and financial aid. These donor agencies conditioned aid on implementation of a package of reform to introduce a market economy. Reforms included – among other things – price liberalisation, privatisation of state properties, reduction and eventual elimination of state subsidies and expenditure, currency convertibility, and importantly, de-collectivisation of agricultural collectives and state farms (8).

Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces, the “aimag”, which are themselves sub-divided into 329 districts, the “soum”. The capital Ulaanbaatar is administrated separately with a provincial status. 

Mongolia's harsh climate makes it unsuited to most cultivation. The agriculture sector therefore remains heavily focused on nomadic animal husbandry with 75% of the land allocated to pasture. Mongolia produces corn, wheat, barley, and potatoes. Animals raised commercially include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, camels, and pigs. Herding is done primarily for meat and dairy products but goats are also raised to produce cashmere. The mining sector is growing rapidly, with licenses for mining and mineral exploration covering 43% of Mongolia‘s territory.  The growth of mining is responsible for an increasing number of conflicts over land and water resources, water pollution, and land degradation (18).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography