North Korea Population 2019

25,715,301

Trustworthy data about North Korean demographics is hard to come by. The most recent data comes from a census conducted by the North Korean Government in 2008. The results, released in 2011, claimed that the population of North Korea stood at exactly 25 million.

Although the number is clearly rounded, it is roughly borne out by other estimates - for example, the United Nations Department of Education and Social Affairs estimate from 2010 of 24,346,229 and the CIA Factbook’s estimate that the population of North Korea in 2012 was 24,589,122. Today, the UN estimates the population to be approximately 25.67 million, which ranks it 54th in the world.

North Korea Area and Population Density

North Korea has a surface area of 120,540 square kilometers. This equates to 46,258 square miles and makes it the 98th largest country on earth in terms of landmass alone. For every square kilometer of land, there is an average of 208 people – that figure converts to 541 people per square mile. In total, North Korea is the 63rd most densely populated country in the world.

Most North Koreans live in in the south and west of the country, which is largely made up of lowlands. The north of the country, near the border with China, is more mountainous and far less densely populated.

Largest Cities in North Korea

The largest city in North Korea is Pyongyang, the country's capital city. At the time of the 2008 census it had 3,255,288 residents, making it the only city in North Korea with a population of more than one million people.

Pyongyang is the third largest city in North and South Korea combined, far below the population of Seoul (over 9 million) and slightly smaller than Busan (3.6 million). It is the 61st largest city in the world and the 34th largest city in Asia.

North Korea's second city is Hamhung (768,551 people) and its third city is Chongjin (627,000 people).

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North Korean Demographics

There is very little ethnic diversity within North Korea and this is arguably the most homogenous country on earth. There are a few small clusters of Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, Vietnamese and European communities here but the political atmosphere in the country isn’t one that lends itself to mass immigration.

North Korea Religion, Economy and Politics

Amongst many other areas, it is difficult to find official information about religions practiced in North Korea. The country is officially an atheist nation, but it has also been reported that roughly 16% of the country practice Korean Shamanism, 14% practice Chondoism, 4.5% are Buddhist, and 1.5% are Christian.

The North Korean economy is a centrally planned system, meaning that production, investment, and allocation of goods all follow an economy-wide plan, and the market allocation schemes are limited. The economy has been modernized somewhat in recent years, but not by much. The main economic sectors in North Korea are manufacturing, energy, construction, banking, and agriculture.

The North Korean political system is based on the philosophy of Juche created by Kin II-sung, which states that the combination of self-reliance and a strong independent nation can create true socialism. The constitution guarantees its citizens basic human rights, but whether or not this is actively practiced is questionable.

North Korea Population History

The famine itself arose out of the collapse of the Soviet Union when North Korea’s economy started to suffer severe problems. Widespread storms and flooding across the country also provided a strong catalyst but whatever the final death toll may have been, it is clear that the famine had a marked effect on the population of North Korea.

North Korea Population Growth

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The rate of growth used to be significantly more substantial, but North Korea has been growing at a consistently slow, yet steady pace since the 1980s. The growth rate has stayed below 1% annually but is still always increasing.

North Korea Population Projections

North Korea's slow decline in its rate of population growth is expected to continue in the years to come until it eventually comes to a standstill, then begins to slowly decline. The current rate of 0.46% is projected to get down to 0, by 2042, and to be decreasing at -0.12% annually by 2050. The population is forecast to be 25,840,863 by 2020, 26,743,895 by 2030 and 27,034,528 by 2040.

Components of Population Change

One birth every 1 minutes
One death every 2 minutes
One net migrant every 103 minutes
Net gain of one person every 5 minutes

North Korea Population in 2018Source: By John Pavelka [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

North Korea Population Pyramid 2019

North Korea Population by Age

There are 19,400,804 adults in North Korea.

Census Years

Year Date
20182018
200815 October 2008
199331 December 1993

The famine of the 1990’s is likely to have had a severe bearing on life expectancy in the country - not so much because of deaths at the time but because of the effect of malnutrition that follows people through the rest of their lives. In 2009, the CIA World Factbook claimed that the national average stood at 63.8 years which, in global terms is pretty poor – roughly comparable to former Soviet countries in Central Asia such as Turkmenistan (also fabled for its repressive government) and Kazakhstan.

Add in an infant mortality rate that is 12.5 times higher than that of its neighbour South Korea and the overall picture is actually pretty grim. The Government is certainly conscious that North Korea is outmatched by the population of South Korea, its southern neighbour and great rival, and has launched a number of drives to boost the total population. So far those drives have had limited effect – the current growth rate according to US estimates is around 0.5% per annum, which makes North Korea one of the slowest growing countries in the world.

Official NameDemocratic People's Republic of Korea
Languages SpokenKorean
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude40.00, 127.00
Currencies UsedKorea (North) Won
DemonymNorth Korean
BordersChina
South Korea
Russia
Name Population Location
Pyongyang3,222,000Map
Hamhung559,056Map
Namp'o455,000Map
Sunch'on437,000Map
Hungnam346,082Map
Kaesong338,155Map
Wonsan329,207Map
Chongjin327,000Map
Sariwon310,100Map
Sinuiju288,112Map
Haeju222,396Map
Kanggye209,530Map
Hyesan192,680Map
Songnim152,425Map
Manp'o116,760Map
P'yongsong100,000Map
Hyesan-dong97,794Map
Yuktae-dong76,427Map
Hongwon70,923Map
Rajin66,224Map

North Korea Population Clock

The population of North Korea (as of 12/4/2019)?25,715,301
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2019)25,666,161
Births Per Day971
Deaths Per Day642
Net Migrations Per Day-14
Net Change Per Day315
Population Change Since January 1st106,155

North Korea Population Estimator

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Estimate as of December 4th 2019 is: 25,714,309

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
201925,666,16148.91%51.09%212.93540.46%
201825,549,60448.91%51.09%211.96520.47%
201725,429,82548.90%51.10%210.97520.48%
201625,307,66548.90%51.10%209.96510.49%
201525,183,83348.90%51.10%208.93510.51%
201024,548,83648.86%51.14%203.66480.53%
200523,904,16748.82%51.18%198.31460.84%
200022,929,07548.75%51.25%190.22450.96%
199521,862,29948.75%51.25%181.37421.50%
199020,293,05448.58%51.42%168.35411.46%
198518,877,23848.33%51.67%156.61401.56%
198017,472,14048.04%51.96%144.95391.43%
197516,274,74047.76%52.24%135.02372.46%
197014,410,40047.28%52.72%119.55372.81%
196512,547,52546.67%53.33%104.10371.89%
196011,424,17646.21%53.79%94.78362.52%
195510,086,99145.54%54.46%83.6836-0.89%
195010,549,47246.18%53.82%87.52340.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202025,778,81648.91%51.09%213.86540.00%
202526,275,48448.92%51.08%217.99560.38%
203026,651,32948.91%51.09%221.10590.28%
203526,843,43048.84%51.16%222.70610.14%
204026,858,03348.75%51.25%222.82640.01%
204526,746,91648.67%51.33%221.9064-0.08%
205026,561,61948.67%51.33%220.3665-0.14%
205526,314,04248.73%51.27%218.3068-0.19%
206026,015,18148.86%51.14%215.8370-0.23%
206525,673,26148.98%51.02%212.9971-0.26%
207025,297,14949.10%50.90%209.8772-0.29%
207524,903,57849.20%50.80%206.6073-0.31%
208024,506,35149.32%50.68%203.3173-0.32%
208524,100,76949.45%50.55%199.9474-0.33%
209023,684,12649.59%50.41%196.4975-0.35%
209523,246,29149.71%50.29%192.8575-0.37%
  1. Central Intelligence Agency
  2. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 1993 and 2008 censuses, and with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration.

  3. GeoNames Gazetteer