Mongolia, situated 1580 meters above sea level,
is a landlocked country with a vast territory
of 1.57 million sq.km., jammed in between Russia
from the North and China from the South.
The population of Mongolia is 2.3 million.
The structure of the population is composed
of young people and the percentage of its economically
active part is still quite high.
The way of life, traditional culture and customs
are suited to the specific living features of
a nomadic culture and civilization.
The basic economic activity of the Mongolia
is traditional animal husbandry based on pasture.
Mongolia has over 29 million head of livestock.
By virtue of its state structure, Mongolia
is a unitary state and its territory is administratively
divided into a capital and 21 aimags or provinces.
The capital city is Ulaanbaatar. There are over
635 thousand inhabitants, which represents one
quarter of the entire population. Each aimag
has been subdivided into districts known as
somons. Each somon consists of several villages
known as a bag. The urban sector of the country
consists of the four cities and the aimag centers
and by 1996 around 54% of the total population
was living in these areas. While the urban population
is sedentary, the rural population is mainly
nomadic depending on livestock farming, such
as cattle, horse, camel, sheep and goat.
For the last 70 years Mongolia followed a
centrally planned economy of Soviet model. Since
the 1950s industrialization was accelerated
and a sedentarized population was promoted in
the industrialized area. During this time we
achieved a high standard of living, as their
basic needs, housing, food, clothing, education,
health, sanitation and employment were provided.
Unemployment and poverty non-existed. By 1989,
towards the end of the central planning, the
literacy rate of the population reached 97%.
Since 1990, Mongolia is in a process of socio-economic
transition, as it shifted drastically to a market
economy in a Western type of parliamentary government
from a centrally economy. The country has a
multiparty system and parliamentary power.
The transition was not an easy process for
the Mongolians, as they experience severe economic
hardships during the process. Once the Soviet
assistance withdrew in 1990, the Mongolian economy
collapsed, until it slowly recovered in 1995.
Although the economy shows signs of recovery,
still the poverty and unemployment, which were
unknown earlier, remain at a high level. Nearly
one fifth of the population lives below the
poverty line and 8.5% of the labour force is
unemployed. The economic shocks, deprived many
women of their employmennt, increasing dissolution
of families and bringing more hardships, specially
on women and children. The number of street
shildren as well as the rate of crimes increased.
The cost of living and inflation increased dropping
the quality of life. The economic hardships
on the population increased as the Government
was not in a position to maintain the social
service network which supported the population
during the time of the previous regime.
UN agensies and other foreign donor communities
have launched several development projects to
assist Government to recover from the economic
shocks ans to facilitate the infrastructural
adjustments suited to a market economy. UNFPA
assistance centered around population development
integrating with the socio-economic development
planning of the country. Under the present crisis
situation of the country, the poverty alleviation
programme occupies a prominent place.
2. Population data sources
Mongolia has a long tradition of conducting
Statistical data collection, particularly
on population and livestock were well known
in Mongolia as early as thirteenth century primarily
for taxation purposes. In 1918 were conducted
population and livestock censuses, and in 1922
the arable land area was registered in all local
administrative units. Since 1924, when the National
Statistical Office of Mongolia was established
Mongolia has developed a good population data
collection system and infrastructure. Population
data sources include the population censuses
which have been taken regularly since 1935,
civil registration system,, which have been
existing since 1951, population register which
was completed in 1988, and household surveys,
which have been conducting since 1966.
The National Statistical Office of Mongolia
conducted 7 population censuses. The population
census conducted in 1963 was used primitive
computer machine to process the results. The
last population and housing census was conducted
The last three censuses were conducted in
10 years intervals according to the UN recommendations.
The population census content of 1969,1979
and 1989 were similar with those of the member
countries of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
Especially, the program of 1989 population census
was very much similar with the programs of the
former Soviet Union population census content
which conducted in 1989. In addition the population
related part of the questionare for 1979 and
1989 population and housing census were almost
similar with each other.
The last census gives benchmark data on population,
its structure, the changes of living conditions
for the last 10 years of socialism. In 1989
accounted 2044.0 thousand population. The average
annual population growth rate was about 1.5
percent. At the end of 1996 the total population
Mongolia was equal to 2353.5 thousand.
Two types of survey were conducted simultaneously
with 1989 population and housing census.
Population census has been recognized in Mongolia
as a gigantic administrative and statistical exercise
in planning, designing and implementing data collection
once in 10 years, to get a view of the population
with their demographic,social, cultural and economic
- The sample survey on
reproductivity. It was conducted among 65
thousand women of the age of 15-49. The results
of this survey are a benchmark information
- The other survey was
conducted among all 27 thousand economically
active population that was not employed. The
questionnaire of this survey was distributed
to each of them. The processinng of the survey
materials, analysis and conclusions were made
by NSOM. Later, the government established
a working group on "The efficient use of labor
resources". This group took several measures
to improve the use of labor resources at the
national level and local level as well.
One data course is a civil registration system.
It is has been existing since 1951, and providing
a data on population dynamics.
The smallest administrative unit is a "Bag"
and there is no registration office at this
level. The events are registered at the next
higher administrative level, namely "Somon"
registration office, which is located in the
"Somon" level administrative office (or Somon's
governor's office). The vital events are reporting
for alive births, deaths, marriages, divorces,
adoptions, illegal births, etc.
Vital statistics are compiled at the Somon
level statistics section and then sent quarterly
to the Aimag level statistics division (located
in the Governor's office). The Aimag statistics
office compiled all somons (or districts in
the case of a city) vital statistics and transmitted
them to the National Statistical Office in Ulaanbaatar.
At this stage the transmission is done through
computers using modem communication.
It must also be noted that the health department
compile a health statistics that include vital
events occurred in the hospitals.
Although all vital events like birth and death
used to take place in the hospitals, the situation
has changed after 1989, with occasional births
and deaths occurring at homes. The statistics
transmite from one administrative health department
to a higher one, and finally to the Ministry
of Health, where they are compiling, processing,
tabulating and producing for publication.
The NSOM carry out annually a census of the
population beyond retirement age, orphans, and
single women with children under 16 and mentally
retarded children. Since all the data collected
through civil registration system, a few statisticians
handle annual short census and special census
of aged population, handicapped children and
Thus due to lack of institutional capability
this vast amount of information is not used
3. Current situation of
preparation for the 2000 census, and its constraints
population of Mongolia was 2 million 353 thousand.
Population density of Mongolia is 1.5 persons
per 1 square km.
In 1989 the government adopted a new political
system and opened itself to a market economic
system. The political and economic transformation
from a centrally planned economy to a market
economy is continuing to challenge the Government
capability in the collection, processing, analyzing
and dissemination of various statistics, particularly,
the statistics on population.
Today the Mongolian political and economic
situation is changed totally compare with the
time of the previous censuses.
Mongolia has passed through several complicated
stages of demographic trends during 20-th century.
At the beginning of the century the fertility
was not high, mortality especially, infant mortality
was very high (half of newborn babies were dying),
as a result population growth rate was stagnant.
Then since 1960s fertility had been increased
sharply, same time mortality had declined, consequently,
for more than 20 years annual average growth
rate of population was round 2.9 percent. But
starting from 1990s fertility have been declining,
mortality remained at same level and as a result
annual average population growth rate for last
2-3 years was 1.5 percent. So the forthcominfg
census will be the first Population and Housing
census when Mongolian society is in the way
a market economy.
The need of conducting census in 2000 year:
- to have a benchmark data
- to evaluate demographic
- to evaluate the impact
of the changes after 1989
The new population policy was developed and
adopted by the Parliament in 1996. According
to the Population policy "The objectives of
population policy are to keep annual average
population growth rate not less than 1.8 percent,
decrease infant mortality rate and child mortality
under age of 5 by one third and maternal mortality
by half compared with 1990s level for the period
2010-2015. The population and housing census
would be most useful benchmark data for evaluation
of population policy implementation.
For the last 10 years there have been a lot
of changes in the life of population. These
changes cannot shown by statistics of annually
or quarterly information and also through sample
Therefore, it is essential to show these changes
through statistics that would be collected from
population and housing census. The changes can
occur in the population structure, population
distribution, employment, social structure of
population and etc.
We have been planning to conduct the forthcoming
census as a special census using traditional
methodologies of previous censuses, adopting
international standard methodologies of census
taking and reflecting the national features
of Mongolia. In order to determine the pattern
of economic development in the coming 10 years
it is important to make some changes in the
census taking activities and adopt new activities
- Determine social groups
and classes of population of Mongolia. In
my opinion this would be one of the changes
that would take place in other former socialist
countries as well. Any country is used to
classify its population into groups considering
their economic and employment status, income,
but not considering their political status.
But we need to know how we can determine the
social groups for census, what kind of questions
do we need to ask, and how to process the
result. Therefore we need to learn experiences
from other countries and to conduct special
training on this issue.
- Classify employed population
of Mongolia by their occupation, kind of work
and status of employment and unifies it with
international classifications developed by
UN organizations. The NSOM has developed and
adopted Standard Industrial Classification
of all economic activities unifyed with International
Standard Industrial Classification of All
Economic activities. Similarly, the government
of Mongolia is responsible to develop own
occupational and employment classifications
in cooperation with International Labour Organization.
- The questions of household
income and expenditure, and other questions
of economic characteristics were not asked
in the previous censuses. In the forthcoming
census we are planning to include this kind
of questions and we think it would be most
useful. Unfortunately, we have lack of experience
of asking such questions in the census and
processing the results.
- Also the questions on
poverty, unemployment, vulnerable groups,
such as homeless population, orphans, single
parent children, female headed household,
street children and elderly people without
any income would be asked in the coming census.
- We are planning to conduct
a reproductive health survey simultaneously
with the census in order to evaluate the current
reproductive health situation, to evaluate
implementation of population policy, further
to improve population policy and to use them
in economic analysis. It is essential to conduct
this survey using internationally excepted
standard programme. It has been planned to
conduct this survey with UNFPA financial and
- Another problem that has
to be given an attention is data processing
of census and survey materials. We used electronic
machine to process 1989 population and housing
census. Now all these equipment are out of
use. Currently we have been planning to use
microcomputers to process the census and survey
- The dissemination of the
results of 1989 population and housing census
was delayed because of shortage of funding.
Therefore, we have concern about publication
and dissemination of 2000 Population and housing
and iclude it in the palnning programme of
census taking from the very beginning.
As you know the coming population and housing
census is going to be conducted in an entirely
different situation from the previous censuses.
As a result of political and economic changes
that had taken place in Mongolia, over the last
several years the administrative division of
Mongolia is changed. It is challenging to do
many things to prepare for the census, especially
for creation of enumeration areas. Apart from
these we need to make classification of administrative
division of Mongolia and to approve it by government.
Another important point that has to be taken
into consideration for preparation of population
and housing census is most of administrative
posts at local units are changed as a result
of the 1996 summer election. We are concerned
about this because many of these people have
not got any experience of census conducting.
More than 30 percent of people that were involved
in conducting 1989 census were involved a second
time and had an experience of census taking.
It made a favorable effect for 1989 census conducting.
We understand the importance of conducting
2000 population and housing census and it is
essential for further to develop Mongolia as
a market oriented country.
4. Legal framework
The 2000 census will be the first to be conducted
under the authority of the "Law on Statistics"
passed by the State Great Hural in June 1997
and the Government order "About population and
housing census". These law and order stipulate
the coverage, the topics and the enumeration
procedures of the Census. The 2000 Census will
be conducted as 0:00 a.m. of January 5, 2000
in accordance with the Government order. In
the new democratic environment that works for
the humans right it is necessary to legitimate
enumeration activities, like participation of
individuals in population and housing census,
responsibility to answer the questions and to
give a right for the enumerators to be entered
into the household etc.
Therefore we made some changes in the law
on statistics. This law reflects all the changes
in terms of the management of the NSOM and the
system of statistical information etc.
Law on Statistics of Mongolia, which was newly
adopted in 1997, says that population and housing
census has to be taken once in 10 years.
The Law on Statistics authorizes statistical
activities including such activities as the
keeping of accounts, the collection of data,
data processing, summary and transmission of
data, the conduct of surveys and censuses, the
tabulation of results, the publication of reports,
the provision of reliable data and the creation
of database, and their storage.
According to this Law, official population
and social statistics are included the following
- The composition of population
including age, gender, fertility, mortality
rates and rates of natural increase
- Economically active population
- Households and household
income, expenditures and consumption
- Indicators of living standards
- Pension and social welfare
The 2000 census will therefore provide essential
demographic and economic data for planning,
monitoring, and evaluating population, social
and economic projects and programs to all potential
development partners in Mongolia. It will also
provide useful inputs to other population and
social related projects.
The Law on Statistics and the Government order
will give credibility to the NSOM carrying out
a population census, to ensure that all members
of the public will participate in the census,
to maintain the confidentiality of the information
at all stages of the census operation. The Census
has cover the entire territory of Mongolia.
5. The 2000 Population
and Housing Census planning and design
There is a need to consider the new situation
that has come up recently for the preparation
and planning forthcoming census. It will influence
directly for the success, quality and results
of census taking. In the new environment the
detailed plans of each step and activity of
the census conducting would be preliminary circumstances
for successful census taking. The planning and
preparation for the forthcoming census needs
much more time than that we have expected. According
to the recommendations of UN agencies it is
necessary to start preparation and planning
for population census three years apart the
time of actual enumeration, it is quite practical.
There are several questions to be emphasized
and to be solved for the forthcoming census
planning in Mongolia.
The first one is the legal basis for conducting
population and housing census.
The second one is to make some changes in
the several classifications, which are going
to be used in population and housing census.
There have been taking several changes in the
Mongolian territorial and administrative classification
since last population and housing census. The
concept of cities has been changed. According
to it several cities were abolished and same
time new cities established.
The another important question is confidentiality
of individual information that collected from
the census. There is a need to give more attention
to this question in the new environment. Therefore
the question of confidentiality is provided
in the law on individual confidentiality as
well as on statistics and it is necessary to
organize all activities providing attention
of confidentiality in the each step of census
When we are planning for the next census there
is a need to develop detailed plann for each
step of census taking such as design census
questionnaires, developing a methodology how
to comprise whole population in the census,
estimation of finance and budget for census
taking, establish enumeration unit, identify
method of enumeration, choose enumerators and
supervisors and train them, develop map, control
census taking process, fulfill the questioners
as much as right and complete, process census
data, develop census output tables, conduct
pilot census and publicity of census taking.
The 2000 Census will conducted under the direction
of the NSOM. NSOM will responsible for planning,
preparation of documents, and supervision of
the local operations. This will involve the
establishment of the "Census Bureau" within
the NSOM, which in turn would set up "Census
commissions" at different levels of aimags,
somons and bags. The "Census Bureau" will be
responsible for recruiting staff, drawing up
of work plan and budget, procurement of equipment
and vehicle, etc.
Based on the order about 2000 population and
housing census the Mongolian government is stating:
- Establish a population
census commission at aimag, capital city,
somon, district level and develop a work plan
of census taking in accordance with principles
and instructions provided from NSOM, control
over the activities of population and housing
- Establish a temporary division
from December 1999 for 3 months to distribute,
receive, control, combine and transfer census
materials and produce preliminary results
Governors of all administrative units are
changed because of changes in administrative
units, management law, and last election. Local
governors usually manage the main activities
of population and housing census. Therefore
special statements were given to the governors
of Uaanbaatar and aimags. Necessary statements
are given to ministries and departments in order
to use international standard classifications
in the census, to count whole population (soldiers,
prisoners, Mongolians who are living in other
countries) and because of special requirements
to be involved in census operation.
Since all the indicators and terms have not
been practiced before, we are facing many problems.
Therefore greater emphasis has been placed to
the staff training and interpretation of statistics.
The census results should fulfill the society's
demand for information to some extent. In order
to meet the user's demand we will organize seminars
and workshops for all producers and users of
population statistics and will reflect user's
and demographer's suggestions and comments in
the census questionnaire.
Although the NSOM took the previous censuses,
there is a lack of experienced staff versed
in today's concepts, definitions and procedures
of census taking as well as in the knowledge
and skill of the latest data processing technology
and techniques. The political and economic transformation
from a model of a centrally planned economy
to a market economy is continuing to challenge
to Governments capability in the collection,
processing, analysis and dissemination of various
statistics. Reliable information on whether
the censuses prior to that of 1979 were tabulated
and analyzed or not was vague. With regard to
the 1979 census, under a project funded by the
UNFPA, MON/79/PO3 the results of the census
were tabulated and disseminated. Such results
were published in 1983.
However, information on the 1989 census data
and its analysis were made by the NSOM, but
were more or less superficial in nature.
There was no analytical work done by other
Mongolia is preparing to conducting a population
and housing census in January 2000. In the census
we would include not only questions which we
used to ask but also the questions which could
help to evaluate the issues which were raised
in the ICPD (International Conference on Population
and Development), 1994, Cairo. Here we would
collect benchmark and rich information on population
growth, its structure, gender concerns, population
distribution, migration and urbanization. At
the same time, we would conduct several surveys
either in combination with the population and
housing census or separately on reproductive
health, sexually transmitted diseases, child
and maternal mortality, health, education, food
and nutrition and environment. The information
and analysis taken from the census would be
the main data source to unify population policies
with economic development program.
The technical strength of the national staff
will be enhanced through international long
term and short-term training, participation
in local and international seminars and workshops,
meetings and conferences. The demographic laboratory
will be continued to be furnished with books,
journals and other published materials. Microcomputers
related equipment, supplies and software would
also be provided to raise the efficiency of
the staff members.
An international resident technical adviser
will be fielded for four years to guide and
assist the work of the demographic laboratory
and to provide 'on the job' training to the
staff members. A UN data processing specialist
will also be fielded for a period of two years
to review and redesign all questionnaires related
to population and demographic data collection.
He will provide regular and "on the job" training
to the national staff in modern techniques and
procedure of data processing.
6. Analysis and dissemination
of census data.
The population census is widely regarded as
an important and major source of data for fundamental
and effective development planning, policy formulation
and action program. The census is an important
source of data on the size, distribution and
composition of the population of a country and
for its geographic, administrative units and
social groups. The population and housing censuses
together with other sources of data, such as
vital registration and household surveys constitute
an integrated system of statistics in modern
Right after the 1989 Population and housing
census the demographic laboratory was established
at the State Statistical Office with 4-5 officers
in order to maintain permanent demographic analyses.
The UNFPA has been providing support in order
to improve the physical and professional capacity
of the demographic laboratory, of the NSOM.
On the basis of the 1989 population and housing
census data the projection of Mongolian population
up to 2019 was developed. During the last 4
years several country level papers and monographs
has prepared by this demographic laboratory.
- Fertility decline in
Mongolia: Trends, policies and explanations
- Projections of the
national population by age group and sex,
- Population handbook
- Urbanization and urban
population distribution in Mongolia
- Demographic Analysis
of Mortality: Evaluation of Data, Construction
of life tables and explanations
- Women and children
We have to be well prepared in advance to
make advanced demographic analysis based on
2000 Population and Housing census results.
For the intercensus period we have not been
able to calculate demographic indicators at
the province level. The results from the previous
censuses show that there was a difficulty to
make analysis at the province level because
the indicators were already compiled up to country
One of the major factors for promoting population
census data utilization is effective communication
of the producers of statistics with existing
and potential users at all stages of the census,
such as in the planning and steering committees,
in designing the questionnaire and in planning
the content and format of tabulations.
Since 1990 many political and economic changes
have been taken place in Mongolia. They are
following by the transitional period from a
centrally planned economy to a market oriented
one. We are facing a number of economic difficulties.
Also there is luck of financial resources for
2000 Population and Housing census conducting
Compare to our previous experience forthcoming
census will be carried out in the new and more
difficult conditions. Also there is a need to
change an overall census planning process and
questionnaire design. Our pervious censuses
were based on indicators; terms and classifications
adopted by the CMEA countries.
Now in order to provide comparability with
other countries we have to follow the international
standard indicators, methodology and classifications.
Due to the economic difficulties the living
standard of population has been decreasing steadily.
Great emphasis was given to the new social issues
such as poverty and unemployment.
In this regard we are planning to include
in our questionnaire the indicators on income
source, income size, employment status, specific
questions for population do not engaged in any
Beside the above mentioned questions that
we are planning include in the questionnaire
we are planning to conduct a sample survey among
women on their reproductive behavior. After
data collection special attention will be given
to the process of data dissemination and research
study of its results. We are designing 2000
census format of tabulation in such way that
will provide more opportunity for the spatial
To conclude there will be improvement of the
overall quality of census conducting with special
attention to data dissemination and research
analysis of results.
NB. The original paper
has two annexes that are not available in this