The country has an area of 604,247 square miles (1,564,990 km2) and a population of 3.1 million. Buddhism and the country's traditions are closely tied, and while 26.5 percent of the population are atheists, 59.7 percent of religious Mongolians practice some form of Buddhism. Lamaist Buddhism and within it the Gelugpa school is the traditional and dominant religion.
When socialist controls on religion and on the country's traditions ended in 1990, interest in the practice of Buddhism grew.
Kazakhs, most of whom are Muslim, are the largest ethnic minority, constituting approximately 4 percent of the population nationwide and 85 percent in the western province, Bayan-Ölgii. Kazakhs operate Islamic schools for their children. They sometimes receive financial assistance from religious organizations in Kazakhstan and Turkey.
There is a small number of Christians, including Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, but especially Protestants. In the capital, Ulaanbaatar, approximately 30,000 citizens, or 3 percent of the registered population of the city, practice Christianity.
Many Mongols practice shamanism.The majority of these resides in the countryside. There are also small communities of the Bahá'í Faith and Ananda Marga in Ulaanbaatar.
Missionaries are present in the country.