North Korea Population 2017

25,545,910

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 25.49 million.

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

Famine

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 2018Source: 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
Pyongyang3,222,000
Hamhung559,056
Namp'o455,000
Hungnam346,082
Kaesong338,155
Wonsan329,207
Chongjin327,000
Sariwon310,100
Sinuiju288,112
Haeju222,396
Kanggye-si209,530
Hyesan-si192,680
Songnim152,425
P'yongsong100,000
Hyesan-dong97,794
Yuktae-dong76,427
Hongwon70,923
Najin66,224
Ongjin64,247
Kilju63,652
Chaeryong-up53,330
Anju50,196
Uiju50,081
Hoeryong43,831
Sungho 1-tong39,841
Changyon39,368
Sunan36,671
Hwangju-up35,641
Kyongsong35,604
Aoji-ri34,248
Nanam34,055
Anbyon-up31,845
Kusong30,902
Chongju29,065
Kangdong-up28,922
Sonbong27,331
Iwon-up26,364
Hukkyo-ri25,437
Kosan24,822
Yonan-up22,665
Namyang-dong22,218
Yonggwang-up21,882
Musan-up21,739
Kowon-up21,490
Hoeyang21,111
T'ongch'on-up20,575
Kapsan-up20,406
Anak19,995
Onsong19,806
Kujang-up19,522
Sil-li19,463
Chunghwa19,346
Samho-rodongjagu19,025
Sinmak18,669
Sakchu-up18,001
Ayang-ni16,104
Sinanju15,693
Sinsang-ni14,960
Pukchil-lodongjagu14,129
Hau-ri13,581
Yonggang-up13,440
Pyoksong-up12,937
Koksan12,923
Chasong12,736
Kyongwon12,650
Puryong12,267
Komusan 1-tong12,242
Sungjibaegam11,786
Hoemul-li11,681
Sungam-nodongjagu11,406
Panghyon-dong11,026
Kwaksan10,478
Sangsong-ni9,888
Yongbyon9,584
Yomju-up9,437
Ungsang-nodongjagu8,410

North Korea Population Clock

What is the population of North Korea (as of 12/12/2017)?25,545,910
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2017)25,490,965
Births Per Day963
Deaths Per Day623
Net Migrations Per Day -7
Net Change Per Day 333
Population Change Since January 1st115,218

North Korea Population Indicators

IndicatorValue
Crude Birth Rate 13.842 births/thousand
Crude Death Rate 8.948 deaths/thousand
Crude Net Migration Rate -0.107 people/thousand
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 71.71 years
Male Life Expectancy 68.074 years
Female Life Expectancy 75.108 years
Total Fertility Rate 1.904 children/woman
Net Reproduction Rate 0.892 surviving daughters/woman
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.05 males per female
Infant Mortality Rate 15.075 deaths/1,000 live births
Under Five Mortality 19.945 deaths/thousand
Mean Age at Childbearing 29.023 years
Rate of Natural Increase 4.894
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) Population Rank Growth Rate
201725,490,96548.91%51.09%211520.49%
201525,243,91748.90%51.10%209510.52%
201024,591,59948.86%51.14%204470.57%
200523,904,16748.82%51.18%198470.84%
200022,929,07548.75%51.25%190450.96%
199521,862,29948.75%51.25%181421.50%
199020,293,05448.58%51.42%168411.46%
198518,877,23848.33%51.67%157401.56%
198017,472,14048.04%51.96%145381.43%
197516,274,74047.76%52.24%135362.46%
197014,410,40047.28%52.72%120372.81%
196512,547,52546.67%53.33%104371.89%
196011,424,17646.21%53.79%95362.52%
195510,086,99145.54%54.46%8436-0.89%
195010,549,47246.18%53.82%88340.00%

North Korea Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202025,840,86348.92%51.08%214540.00%
202526,350,87748.91%51.09%219560.39%
203026,743,89548.88%51.12%222580.30%
203526,971,99948.81%51.19%224610.17%
204027,034,52848.70%51.30%224640.05%
204526,967,26548.62%51.38%22465-0.05%
205026,808,68048.60%51.40%22267-0.12%
205526,586,25048.65%51.35%22169-0.17%
206026,321,37648.77%51.23%21870-0.20%
206526,024,36448.90%51.10%21670-0.23%
207025,708,44949.02%50.98%21371-0.24%
207525,375,84749.13%50.87%21171-0.26%
208025,031,51849.24%50.76%20871-0.27%
208524,677,65349.38%50.62%20572-0.28%
209024,317,79249.52%50.48%20272-0.29%
209523,952,02149.65%50.35%19973-0.30%
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects (2017 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.
  2. GeoNames Gazetteer