Korea, North

Facts & Figures

Map of Korea, North
  • Head of State: Kim Jong-un (2011)

    Prime Minister: Choe Yong-rim (2010)

    Land area: 46,490 sq mi (120,409 sq km); total area: 46,540 sq mi (120,540 sq km)

    Population (2012 est.): 24,589,122 (growth rate: 0.535%); birth rate: 14.51/1000; infant mortality rate: 26.21/1000; life expectancy: 69.2

    Capital and largest city (2003): Pyongyang, 3,222,000 (metro. area), 2,767,900

    Monetary unit: won

    National name: Choson Minjujuui Inmin Konghwaguk

    Current government officials

    Language: Korean

    Ethnicity/race: racially homogeneous; small Chinese community, a few ethnic Japanese

    Religions: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)

    National Holiday: Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, September 9

    Literacy rate: 99% (1991 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $40 billion note: North Korea does not publish any reliable National Income Accounts data; the datum shown here is derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates for North Korea that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2007 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the result was rounded to the nearest $10 billion; per capita $1,800. Real growth rate: 4%. Inflation: n.a. Unemployment: n.a. Arable land: 22.4% (2005). Agriculture: rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs. Labor force: 12.2 million; agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%. Industries: military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism. Natural resources: coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower. Exports: $2.557 billion (2010 est.): minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, fishery products. Imports: $3.529 billion (2010 est.): petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment; textiles, grain. Major trading partners: China, South Korea, Bangladesh, Russia (2010).

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 1.18 million (2008); mobile cellular: n.a. Broadcast media: no independent media; radios and TVs are pre-tuned to government stations; 4 government-owned TV stations; the Korean Workers' Party owns and operates the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and the state-run Voice of Korea operates an external broadcast service; the government prohibits listening to and jams foreign broadcasts (2008). Internet hosts: 7 (2010). Internet users: n.a.

    Transportation: Railways: total: 5,242 km (2009). Roadways: total: 25,554 km; paved: 724 km; unpaved: 24,830 km (2006). Waterways: 2,250 km; mostly navigable by small craft only. Ports and harbors: Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Kimch'aek, Kosong, Najin, Namp'o, Sinuiju, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Ungsang, Wonsan. Airports: 81 (2012).

    International disputes: risking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression; North Korea and China dispute the sovereignty of certain islands in Yalu and Tumen rivers; Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents in the Yellow Sea with South Korea which claims the Northern Limiting Line as a maritime boundary; North Korea supports South Korea in rejecting Japan's claim to Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima).

    Major sources and definitions

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