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Mongolia: Pro-natal Policies
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Population > Pro-natal Policies


A larger population has been a long-standing goal of the government, which provided a series of incentives to encourage large families. A labor shortage has provided the primary overt justification for the policy, and economic aid from the Soviet Union has enabled Mongolia to meet the costs of supporting a large and economically unproductive cohort of children. Because the economy of Mongolia was to a large extent integrated with that of eastern Siberia, where the Soviet Union has suffered endemic labor shortages, encouraging the growth of the Mongolian population and labor force was in the interest of the Soviet Union. Reinforcing the policy may be a desire to ensure the survival of Mongols as an ethnic group and to boost the initially somewhat questionable legitimacy and sovereignty of the Mongolian People's Republic by occupying the land and by ensuring that key institutions and enterprises are staffed by Mongolians rather than by management imported at the behest of the Soviet Union.

The government and the ruling party put no obstacles in the way of early marriages, and engagements and marriages among university students were common. In 1985 there were 6.3 marriages and 0.3 divorces per 1,000 people. A March 1989 Mongolian newspaper reported that every twentieth marriage broke up, that more than 15,000 mothers were receiving alimony from former husbands, and that 45,000 of the 870,000 children aged 15 and younger were illegitimate. When resident Chinese laborers were expelled from Mongolia in the late 1960s as a result of the SinoSoviet conflict, their alleged offenses included the possession and the distribution of contraceptives. Childbearing was promoted as every woman's patriotic obligation, and exhortations to fecundity were backed up by a range of material incentiveslevied on unmarried and childless citizens between the ages of twenty and fifty. Full-time students in secondary schools and colleges were exempted from this tax, as were military conscripts.

The birth needed to bring the current Mongolian population to 2 million was the occasion for national celebration in 1987. The government's Central Statistical Board determined that one of the 260 babies born July 11 (Mongolia's National Day) was the 2 millionth citizen. Twenty-five of the babies were selected as "Two Million Babies." The state awarded each of their families two new residences (probably apartments), the Children's Foundation awarded each a 5,000-tugrik subsidy (industrial wages range from an average of 550 tugriks to a high of 900 tugriks per month), and local governments and the parents' workplaces also gave gifts.

Data as of June 1989

Last Updated: June 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mongolia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 52 of 199


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