Republic of Korea Population 2015

South Korea is officially known as The Republic of Korea and is located in the southern part of Korea peninsula, which neighbors China to west, Japan to east, and North Korea in north. Covering the land area of 99,392km (square) and has population of 49.3 million (a slight decrease from 2013’s estimate of 50 million) with the capital (largest city) of Seoul and has population of 9.8 million. Under its current constitution, the state is also referred as sixth Republic of South Korea. The country had its first election at 1948 and operates under a powerful presidential system.

South Korea Population 2014

South Korea is known as for its population density, which is more than 10 times the global average. Due to rapid migration from country side as a result of the quick economic expansion from 1970s, South Korea is now Asia fourth largest economy and one of the world’s 15 largest economies. The population is shaped by international migration; after World War II, about four million people reached South Korea. This trend of net entry reversed over the next 40 years of immigration .The percentage of foreign nationals are also rapidly and today it’s the most homogeneous society in the world with more than 99%. The birth rate of South Koreans had increased by 5.7% in 2010 and Korea no longer has the world’s lowest birth rate.

South Korea Population History

South Korea, since 2009, is improving from the record of the world’s lowest birthrate, which still remains low and if this continues, the population is expected to be decreased by 13% to 42.3 million in 2050. It had increased by 5.7% in 2010. According to the 2011 report, South Korea has a fertility rate of 1.23 children per women, which is higher than those of Taiwan (1.15) and Japan (1.21).

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy in 2008 was 79.10 years, which is 34th in the world. Although there has been a significant increase in life expectancy since 1950, South Korea still faces numerous problems in relation to healthcare. One of the major issues it faces is the impact of the environmental pollution on increasing urbanization which has an adverse effect upon life expectancy. According to the Ministry of the Health and Welfare, chronic disease accounts for the majority diseases in South Korea which covers around 24%. Approximately 33% of all adults smoke. The HIV rate of the prevalence at the end of 2003 was less than 0.1%. In 2001, central government expenditure upon health care accounted for about 6% of (GDP).The nation’s suicide rate was 26 per 100,000 in 2008. South Korea had the best rate of influenza vaccination in Asia with 311 people vaccinated per 1000.


South Korea is one of the planet’s most densely populated countries; it had 400 people every square km. back in 1989, a figure which is more than sixteen times the average population density of the United States of America during the same period. Since nearly 70% of South Korea's land area is mostly uninhabitable due to it being mountainous and the population is established in lowland areas, the real population densities were more than the average. Back in 1975, an estimate was made that South Korea's population density in its cities, each containing at least 50,000 people, was nearly 4000 average people. As a result of continued following of the practice to migrate to urban areas, the figure was much higher in the 1980s.

Seoul’s population density was put at around 17,000 average persons in 1988, an increase of over 3000, if compared with 1980s population density of nearly 14,000 people every square kilometer. The density of Pusan, the second largest city in the country, was just over 8,500 persons for every square kilometer in 1988 while this figure stood at a little over 7,000 people back in 1980.

The governments’ Economic Planning Board believes the population density will be 530 people for every kilometer squared. The population is expected to stabilize by 2023, according to the Consensus. The largest cities, according to statistics taken in 1895, were Busan (3.5 million inhabitants), Seoul (9.6 million), Daegu (2.03 million), Gwangju (0.9 million), Incheon (1.4 million) and Daejeon (0.86 million). Statistics taken by the government show that Seoul’s population passed the 10 million mark near the end of 1988. Meanwhile, average growth rate of its annual population in the 1980s was greater than 3%. Most of the growth was as a result of migration with natural increase playing a smaller role in this change. Surveys taken show that seeking a new job or a job transfer were the major reasons that new immigrants gave for moving. Many immigrants also cited education and convenience as factors in moving to the capital.

The population of Seoul made up 23.8% of South Korea’s population in 1985. However, there has been greater growth in the provincial cities as compared to the capital, especially in the south eastern coastal area, which includes Pohang, Pusan, Ulsan, Chinhae, Yosu, and Masan. Figures from the census show that the population of Ulsan increased eighteen times, with an increase of 521,300 inhabitants from 1960 to 1985. In contrast, Kwangju’s population did not even increase three times from 1960 to 1985.

Rapid urban growth has resulted in various problems for South Korea. High-rise apartments were constructed in order to help alleviate housing shortages. But it also caused severe hardship on the thousands of people who were forced to relocate from their old neighborhoods since they were unable to afford the rents in the new buildings. In the late 1980s, squatter areas which contained one-story shacks still existed in different parts of Seoul. Housing for most of the population, bar the wealthiest, was generally cramped. The concentration of factories in urban areas and the use of coal for heating during the severe winter months resulted in dangerous levels of air and water pollution, issues that still remain today.

Population Data via United Nations WPP

Republic of Korea Population Growth

South Korea is facing a low birth rate and a rapidly aging population. By 2018, 14%of its population will be over 65, making it officially an aged society. This makes a problem for new recruitments and shall result in low productivity.

Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects - Global demographic estimates and projections by the United Nations
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