Although most people probably think of Mongolia as being inhabited by a single ethnic group - the Mongols - this is wrong. There are actually quite a few. As I note on the background page, there are over 20 different groups of Mongols. Nineteen of these, and one non-Mongol group (the Kazakhs) live in Mongolia itself (according to Rinchen's 1979 atlas.) While peaceful, these ethnic differences sometimes matter in Mongolia when it comes to politics. I'll discuss that at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

Somewhat oddly, the 2000 census doesn't list give a full list of the different ethnic groups in Mongolia. Or at least the principal collection of statistics doesn't. It's possible one of the ancillary publications does, but I don't have access to them at the moment. So here is the information as provided in the main results of the 2000 census (pp. 50-51 in the Mongolian version.)

Scroll down past the table of populations to see the full listing of ethnic groups as given in B. Rinchen's 1979 Ethnographic and linguistic atlas of the Mongolian People's Republic, map 23. Click here (or to the left) to see a map of the locations of the different ethnic groups.

It's also worth noting that there was a reported drop of almost 20,000 in the Kazakh population between 1989 and 2000. In the early 1990s, a large number of Kazakhs took advantage of new-found freedoms to try life in Kazakhstan. There was also a reported drop of over 48,000 foreigners. This would have been the thousands of Soviet and Eastern European citizens who had been living and working in Mongolia, and returned to their homelands with the collapse of the socialist bloc.

Ethnic group Population,
thousands
Percentage of
total population
Mongolian citizens (all) 2365.4 99.7
Halh () 1934.7 81.5
Kazakh ( / ) 103.0 4.3
Dörvöd (ĺ) 66.7 2.8
Bayaad () 50.8 2.1
Buriad () 40.6 1.7
Dariganga () 31.9 1.3
Zahchin () 29.8 1.3
Urianhai () 25.2 1.1
Others 82.6 3.5
Foreigners 8.1 0.3
Total 2373.5 100.0

The full list

These are given in no particular order, except as given by Rinchen.

Back to the top