North Korea Population 2017

25,412,532

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 2017Source: John Pavelka

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.

About North Korea

Official NameDemocratic People's Republic of Korea
Languages SpokenKorean
BordersCHN, KOR, RUS
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude40127
Currencies UsedKPW

North Korea Population Density

Name Population
Ungsang-nodongjagu8,410
Yomju-up9,437
Yongbyon9,584
Sangsong-ni9,888
Kwaksan10,478
Panghyon-dong11,026
Sungam-nodongjagu11,406
Hoemul-li11,681
Sungjibaegam11,786
Komusan 1-tong12,242
Puryong12,267
Kyongwon12,650
Chasong12,736
Koksan12,923
Pyoksong-up12,937
Yonggang-up13,440
Hau-ri13,581
Pukchil-lodongjagu14,129
Sinsang-ni14,960
Sinanju15,693
Ayang-ni16,104
Sakchu-up18,001
Sinmak18,669
Samho-rodongjagu19,025
Chunghwa19,346
Sil-li19,463
Kujang-up19,522
Onsong19,806
Anak19,995
Kapsan-up20,406
T'ongch'on-up20,575
Hoeyang21,111
Kowon-up21,490
Musan-up21,739
Yonggwang-up21,882
Namyang-dong22,218
Yonan-up22,665
Kosan24,822
Hukkyo-ri25,437
Iwon-up26,364
Sonbong27,331
Kangdong-up28,922
Chongju29,065
Kusong30,902
Anbyon-up31,845
Nanam34,055
Aoji-ri34,248
Kyongsong35,604
Hwangju-up35,641
Sunan36,671
Changyon39,368
Sungho 1-tong39,841
Hoeryong43,831
Uiju50,081
Anju50,196
Chaeryong-up53,330
Kilju63,652
Ongjin64,247
Najin66,224
Hongwon70,923
Yuktae-dong76,427
Hyesan-dong97,794
P'yongsong100,000
Songnim152,425
Hyesan-si192,680
Kanggye-si209,530
Haeju222,396
Sinuiju288,112
Sariwon310,100
Chongjin327,000
Wonsan329,207
Kaesong338,155
Hungnam346,082
Namp'o455,000
Hamhung559,056
Pyongyang3,222,000

North Korea Population Clock

What is the population of North Korea (as of 10/16/2017)?25,412,532
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2017)25,405,296
Births Per Day198
Deaths Per Day131
Net Migrations Per Day
Net Change Per Day 67
Population Change Since January 1st19,363

North Korea Population Indicators

IndicatorValue
Crude Birth Rate 14.243 births/thousand
Crude Death Rate 9.409 deaths/thousand
Crude Net Migration Rate 0 people/thousand
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 70.99 years
Male Life Expectancy 67.38 years
Female Life Expectancy 74.427 years
Total Fertility Rate 1.944 children/woman
Net Reproduction Rate 0.908 surviving daughters/woman
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.05 males per female
Infant Mortality Rate 19.486 deaths/1,000 live births
Under Five Mortality 24.385 deaths/thousand
Mean Age at Childbearing 28.923 years
Rate of Natural Increase 4.77
Death Before 40 Probability (Total) 6.295%
Death Before 40 Probability (Male) 7.287%
Death Before 40 Probability (Female) 5.254%
Death Before 60 Probability (Total) 15.757%
Death Before 60 Probability (Male) 19.242%
Death Before 60 Probability (Female) 12.186%
Median Age (Total) 33.8 years
Median Age (Female) 35.4 years
Median Age (Male) 32.3 years

North Korea Population History

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Growth Rate
201725,405,29648.91%51.09%2110.48%
201525,155,31748.90%51.10%2090.50%
201024,500,50648.85%51.15%2030.53%
200523,813,32448.81%51.19%1980.66%
200022,840,21848.74%51.26%1900.89%
199521,763,67048.74%51.26%1811.16%
199020,194,35448.57%51.43%1681.55%
198518,778,10148.32%51.68%1561.48%
198017,372,16748.03%51.97%1441.44%
197516,274,74047.76%52.24%1351.61%
197014,410,40047.28%52.72%1202.75%
196512,547,52446.67%53.33%1042.50%
196011,424,17946.21%53.79%952.09%
195510,086,99345.54%54.46%841.95%
195010,549,46946.18%53.82%88-2.89%

North Korea Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Growth Rate
202025,762,60348.94%51.06%2140.44%
202526,292,31948.97%51.03%2180.35%
203026,701,03248.96%51.04%2220.23%
203526,943,18048.89%51.11%2240.11%
204027,030,21448.78%51.22%2240.01%
204527,006,89448.72%51.28%224-0.05%
205026,907,10248.74%51.26%223-0.10%
205526,755,65948.84%51.16%222-0.13%
206026,581,71148.99%51.01%221-0.14%
206526,394,69849.12%50.88%219-0.14%
207026,204,60149.23%50.77%218-0.15%
207526,001,26249.36%50.64%216-0.16%
208025,783,20249.52%50.48%214-0.17%
208525,558,75349.69%50.31%212-0.18%
209025,332,55249.86%50.14%210-0.18%
209525,094,50750.00%50.00%208-0.20%
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations