North Korea Population 2016

[[getCurrentPopulation()]]

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, we estimate the population to be approximately 25,028,853.

Depending on the figure chosen, North Korea is either the 48th, 49th, or 50th largest country in the world.

Famine

Estimates vary wildly as to how many citizens were lost as a result of the North Korean famine of the 1990’s. It is claimed that up to 3.5 million people may have died while others suggest that the final death toll may have been nearer 800,000.

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.

What is the largest city 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).

North Korea Population Density

North Korea has a surface area of 120,540 square kilometres. This equates to 46,258 square miles and makes it the 98th largest country on earth in terms of land mass alone. For every square kilometre 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.

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 Population in 2016 Source: John Pavelka

North Korea Population Clock

What is the population of North Korea (as of [[date]])? [[getCurrentPopulation()]]
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2016) [[getLastEstimate()]]
Births Per Day 991
Deaths Per Day 658
Net Migrations Per Day
Net Change Per Day 333
Population Change Since January 1st [[getPopChangeThisYear()]]
  • Net [[getIncreaseOrDecrease()]] of 1 person every [[getDurationPerPerson()]]

  • Population estimated based on interpolation of World Population Prospects data.

North Korea Population Indicators

Indicator Value World Ranking
Crude Birth Rate 14.213 births/thousand 125th
Crude Death Rate 9.443 deaths/thousand 50th
Crude Net Migration Rate 0 people/thousand 66th
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 71.09 years 116th
Life Expectancy (Male) 67.48 years 122nd
Life Expectancy (Female) 74.54 years 117th
Total Fertility Rate 1.936 children/woman 122nd
Net Reproduction Rate 0.908 surviving daughters/woman 126th
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.05 males per female 85th
Infant Mortality Rate 19.372 deaths/1,000 live births 79th
Under Five Mortality 24.178 deaths/thousand 79th
Mean Age at Childbearing 28.923 years 101st

North Korea Population Density

Population Data via United Nations WPP (2015 Revision, Medium Variant)

North Korea Population Growth

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.

North Korea Population History

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Density Rank Growth Rate World Rank
2016 25,281,327 48.9% 51.1% 209 46 0.49% 51
2015 25,155,317 48.9% 51.1% 208 45 0.5% 50
2010 24,500,506 48.9% 51.1% 203 40 0.53% 47
2005 23,813,324 48.8% 51.2% 197 40 0.66% 47
2000 22,840,217 48.7% 51.3% 189 39 0.89% 45
1995 21,763,670 48.7% 51.3% 180 39 1.16% 42
1990 20,194,354 48.6% 51.4% 167 40 1.55% 41
1985 18,778,101 48.3% 51.7% 155 41 1.48% 40
1980 17,372,167 48% 52% 144 42 1.44% 38
1975 16,274,740 47.8% 52.2% 135 43 1.61% 36
1970 14,410,400 47.3% 52.7% 119 44 2.75% 37
1965 12,547,524 46.7% 53.3% 104 45 2.5% 36
1960 11,424,178 46.2% 53.8% 94 46 2.09% 35
1955 10,086,993 45.5% 54.5% 83 47 1.95% 36
1950 10,549,469 46.2% 53.8% 87 42 -2.89% 34

North Korea Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Density Rank Growth Rate World Rank
2020 25,762,603 48.9% 51.1% 213 50 0.44% 53
2025 26,292,319 49% 51% 218 52 0.35% 56
2030 26,701,032 49% 51% 221 52 0.23% 59
2035 26,943,180 48.9% 51.1% 223 52 0.11% 61
2040 27,030,214 48.8% 51.2% 224 53 0.01% 63
2045 27,006,894 48.7% 51.3% 224 53 -0.05% 64
2050 26,907,102 48.7% 51.3% 223 53 -0.1% 68
2055 26,755,659 48.8% 51.2% 222 55 -0.13% 69
2060 26,581,711 49% 51% 220 58 -0.14% 69
2065 26,394,697 49.1% 50.9% 219 58 -0.14% 70
2070 26,204,601 49.2% 50.8% 217 63 -0.15% 70
2075 26,001,262 49.4% 50.6% 215 62 -0.16% 70
2080 25,783,202 49.5% 50.5% 214 62 -0.17% 69
2085 25,558,752 49.7% 50.3% 212 62 -0.18% 70
2090 25,332,552 49.9% 50.1% 210 62 -0.18% 71
2095 25,094,507 50% 50% 208 62 -0.2% 71
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations