Fact Checked

What is the Difference Between Inner and Outer Mongolia?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

The terms Inner and Outer Mongolia are sometimes confused, despite the fact that they describe completely different Asian regions. Inner Mongolia refers to the Mongol autonomous region situated inside the People's Republic of China. Known as Öbür Mongghul-un Öbertegen Jasaqu Orun by locals, Inner Mongolia occupies 12 percent of China's total surface. Outer Mongolia, on the other hand, is a term used mostly by foreigners to refer to the sovereign state of Mongolia, which has no relation to China. This country sometimes includes part of the Russian republic of Tannu Uriankhai, but this is under dispute and there is no formal word on whether the area should be mentioned as being part of Mongolia. In Chinese language, the name for Outer Mongolia is Mengguguo, which means "State of Mongolia."

Outer Mongolia has a population of 2,832,224; 94.9 percent of which is Khalkh Mongolian. The rest combines small groups of Turks, Russians, and Chinese. As an interesting fact, Mongolians also make up the majority of residents in Inner Mongolia, where they outnumber Chinese nationals in certain regions. While a third of the population lives in the capital city, Ulaan Baatar, the country is primarily rural and underdeveloped. Life expectancy is still low at 64.9 years. The nomadic lifestyle is prevalent and has contributed to the slow growth of the nation.

Mongolia is bordered by Russia to the north and China to south.
Mongolia is bordered by Russia to the north and China to south.

Inner Mongolia is slightly more developed, with a population of 23,840,000. The economy is based in agriculture, mining and coal production, power generation, and metallurgy. The population is mostly sedentary; even Mongol groups, which would be nomadic in Outer Mongolia, have chosen to settle and engage in local industry and agriculture. This has had a big impact on the educational level of the population, as more children attend regular schools than in Outer Mongolia.

Ulaan Baatar, the country's capital city, is the coldest capital city in the world, with annual average temperatures of 29.7°F (-1.3°C). Despite being the capital, Ulaan Baatar is an underdeveloped city, with some of the major roads still unpaved and an unreliable public transportation system. Outer Mongolia is well-known for its numerous Buddhist monasteries, including the Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery, famous for its colossal statues.

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Discussion Comments


This doesn't sound accurate. Completely different Asian regions would be Vietnam and outer Mongolia, but inner Mongolia and outer Mongolia are in the same region. They have similar weather, and similar plants. @boston, persecuted? The Mongols are infamous for slaughtering the Chinese and Russians. The Han built the Great Wall to keep the Mongols out.


Inner Mongolia is way more developed than Outer. There is one city whose GDP per capita is higher than that of Hong Kong.


Mongolians and other Central Asians became some of the most persecuted ethnic groups under Russian and Chinese rule. Even in Mongolia proper (Outer Mongolia), the level of indirect persecution has been quite high, and has been largely ignored by history and news media.


Nomadic groups such as the Mongols rarely view their country in terms of borders, but rather in terms of an ethnic and religious understanding of "land." Like Native Americans, much of the world does not share the European (feudal) view of land being owned and borders being set in stone. From early times, nomadic Mongols roamed freely across central Asia, conquering and pillaging wherever they saw fit, and only in recent history, with the advent of Western-style domination and Communism, Mongolia and other Central Asian republics began to be seen as nations rather than hordes.

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    • Mongolia is bordered by Russia to the north and China to south.
      By: Ekler
      Mongolia is bordered by Russia to the north and China to south.