Twenty years ago the population of Ulaanbaatar was 400,000 and now it is 1.5 million. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, 27% of the population lived in the capital city and today more than 50% of the population live there.
This influx into the capital was caused not so much from the desertion of an ancient nomadic way of life but a number of bitter winters known as a zud which killed the nomads’ livestock. Over ten years ago there was 30 million livestock in Mongolia but 60% were lost in the winters of 2003 and 2004 and some more recently. The nomads had no choice but to pack up and move to the capital.