Starting just over two decades ago, tens of thousands of citizens started leaving Mongolia amid a wrenching economic transition from a planned-economy to a free market. Now, with the Mongolian economy poised to boom, many émigrés are wrestling with a dilemma – whether or not to abandon the new country for the old?
According to 2010 figures from the National Statistical Office in Ulaanbaatar, over 100,000 Mongolians live abroad. That number’s significance is magnified when considering the country’s overall population is estimated to be 3.17 million.
The most recent US Census figures place the number of Mongolians in the United States at around 15,000, a 300 percent increase from a decade ago. Los Angeles has perhaps the largest Mongolian community in the country, roughly 5,000.
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Liana Aghajanian is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.