Research Achievement Report

Project name:     Threats and opportunities presented by the modern rural-urban migration in Mongolia

Research year:    2011

Researcher:         BATTUMUR Bulgantamir, 81125107

Affiliation:           Graduate School of Media and Governance, HC Program, EI Special Course,

Year of study:      M1


1.       Research background

Mongolia is experiencing domestic migration. The observed trend is that nomadic livestock herders are moving to urban areas in general, and especially to Ulaanbaatar. In 10 years from 2000 to 2010, while the total national population was increasing at an average rate of 1.5 percent per year, the population of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, has been increasing at 3.9 percent annually, and the rural population has been declining at -0.1 percent annually.

In 2010, the traditional livestock husbandry sector of Mongolia employed 40% of the population, produced 30% of agricultural gross production, and accounted for 20% of the countryfs exports. Large scale inflow of herders into urban areas in search of wage employment means that the livelihood of herders, who comprise a big social class in Mongolia, has become vulnerable and unacceptable. Besides the livelihood issues of herders, this phenomenon is impacting the outputs of the national livestock sector, national food security, and pressing the urban carrying capacity to the limits.

2.       Research purpose and expected outputs

The purpose of the fieldwork is to clarify the reasons and realities that are making the nomadic livestock herders abandon their traditional livelihood and dare the uncertainty of unfamiliar urban lifestyle. Finding out these reasons would shed light on ways to support the livelihood of herders, and help in deliberating appropriate policies to advance the efficiency and outputs of the livestock sector and ensure food security of the country.

The ultimate output of the research would be deep understanding of herdersf livelihood conditions, and the environmental and social pressures that trigger their decision to move. Knowing what leads to herdersf decision to move would help control future level of migration and scope of activities in the animal husbandry sector.

3.       Field research targets and methods

With the above purpose in mind, I have conducted my first field research in Tsetserleg – a town of 20,000 and capital of Arhangai province, and Tovshruuleh soum – a rural pastureland area in the same area. Tovshruuleh soum is experiencing intensive outmigration of the population and, anecdotally, severe climate change.

In total, I interviewed 35 households that can be categorized as follows:

·         In Tsetserleg town, the targets of my study were the households that immigrated into the town within the past 10 years.

·         In Tovshruuleh soum, I interviewed herder households to learn the realities that are driving people out of that area.

I conducted my fieldwork using the snowball sampling method. (gIn sociology and statistics research, snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where existing study subject recruit future subjects from among their acquaintances. Thus the sample group appears to grow like a rolling snowballh[1]).

Although my research was largely qualitative, I tried to facilitate the analysis of the data as much as possible through introducing quantitative methodologies and balancing structured interviews with open-ended ones.

4.       Major findings

The causes of migration were determined to be the climate change and natural disasters going on in the sending area, livelihood and market needs of the households, demographic aspects of the households such as having school age children or elderly in the household, and social aspects such as having or not having a social network of relatives and friends to support in the sending or receiving areas. The initial and intuitive findings and conclusions of the previous fieldwork are as follows:

a.       All herder households interviewed had lost about 70% of their livestock during the severe winter disaster of 2010.

b.      The main gexternalh reasons for migration:

      Severe climate (climate change)

      Inadequate access to markets to gcash-inh from livestock products.

c.       There are the householdfs ginternalh characteristics and vulnerabilities that make some households move and some stay.

      Number of livestock

      Availability of regular cash income / pensioner

      Presence of school age children who are soon to become college student

      Family network in the sending area and receiving area

      Education level and age

d.      However, the general trend is that every household wants their children to become geducated and urbanh.

e.      The following strategies would improve herdersf livelihood and the countryfs livestock sector in general:

·      Efficiently linking herders to the external markets to increase their regular cash income;

·      Adapt the current traditional pasturalist livelihood to climate change by intensifying it and making it more granch-likeh.

5.       Plan for completing the research

To check the accuracy of and render academic validity to the initial findings, hypotheses, and conclusions drawn from the first field research, I am planning to conduct the second field research in summer 2012. In the process, the initial findings will gain more accuracy and academic significance.

I am planning to pinpoint the factors that are making nomadic livestock herding mode of livelihood infeasible in the research target areas. More specifically, the following 2 main findings of the previous field research will be studied in more detail with better sampling and survey methodologies.

a.       Task 1 for the next fieldwork: Rank the influence of the following internal factors on the decision to move by representing the gminimum requirementsh for staying in a gnumerich form.

The following ginternalh characteristics and vulnerabilities of a household have been found to influence the householdfs decision to move or stay.

·      Having less than a certain gfloorh number of livestock required for livelihood;

·      Having cash income that is less than the gminimumh cash income required for livelihood;

·      Having 1-2 or more college students in the household;

·      Absence of family network in the homeland (relatives moving away) ;

·      Having certain education and being young also makes herders more mobile.

b.      Task 2 for the next fieldwork: Find out the following:

·      Factors that are separating herders from the markets;

·      Factors that are making livestock vulnerable to the current changing climate;

·      Some methods that herders may already know for the solution of these issues.