Vast semi-desert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central
Desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)
Population: 3,226,516 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Khalkha Mongol 90% (official), Turkic, Russian
Buddhist Lamaist 50%, Shamanist and Christian 6%, Muslim 4%, none 40% (2004)
Mongolia's extensive mineral deposits and attendant growth in mining-sector activities have transformed Mongolia's economy, which traditionally has been dependent on herding and agriculture. Mongolia's copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten deposits, among others, have attracted foreign direct investment. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990 and 1991 at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR.
The ger or yurt is the traditional housing of the Mongols. It can be taken apart and carried on horseback, thus being suitable for nomadic life. In agricultural areas, the Mongols usually dwell in one-story houses like the Chinese, within the boundaries of a village. Mongols living in towns and cities have, to a large extent, adopted the Chinese way of life. Horseback riding is the traditional mode of transportation. Recently, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars have become more common
US Military Presence/Support