South Korea Population 2017

51,067,022

South Korea is officially known as The Republic of Korea and is located in the southern part of the Korea peninsula, which neighbors China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. The land area covers 99,392 square kilometers and has a population of 50.98 million in 2017. The largest city and capital is Seoul, which has a population of just under 10 million. Under its current constitution, the state is also referred to as the sixth Republic of South Korea. The country had its first election at 1948 and operates under a powerful presidential system.

South Korea is known as for its population density, which is more than 10 times the global average. Due to rapid migration as a result of the quick economic expansion from the 1970s, South Korea is now Asia's fifth 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 growing rapidly, and today it’s the most homogeneous society in the world with 99% of residents being of Korean ethnicity. The birth rate of South Koreans is no longer the lowest in the world, but a low birth rate and aging population continues to lead to concerns regarding the future population.

South Korea Population History

Since 2009, South Korea has improved its record for having the world's lowest birthrate. However, the birthrate still remains low and if this continues, the population is expected to decrease by 13% to 42.3 million in 2050 and extinction by 2750 is a possibility. The country's birthrate is currently 1.19 children per mother, one of the lowest in the world that is only larger than birthrates in Taiwan, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy from 2013 WHO data is 81.6 years, which is 16th 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 of diseases in South Korea and is responsible for 81% of deaths. Approximately 19.9% of all adults in the country smoke, leading to health problems and death. South Korea also has the 2nd highest suicide rate in the world, although government efforts have led to recent declines. South Korea had the best rate of influenza vaccination in Asia with 311 people vaccinated per 1000. In 2013, the government's expenditure for healthcare was 7.17% of the country's GDP.

Demographics

South Korea is one of the planet’s most densely populated countries with a density of 503 people per square kilometer, or 1,302 people per square mile. Nearly 70% of South Korea's land area is mostly uninhabitable due to it being mountainous and the population is established in lowland areas, contributing to a density that is higher than average. In 1975, an estimate was made that South Korea's population density in its cities, each containing at least 50,000 people, was nearly 4,000 on average. 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 estimated around 17,000 average persons in 1988, an increase of over 3000 when compared with 1980's population density of nearly 14,000 people every square kilometer. The current density of Seoul is almost twice that of New York City. The density of Busan, 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 government's Economic Planning Board believes the population density will be 530 people for every square kilometer. The population is expected to stabilize by 2023, according to the census. 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.

Currently, the aging population and the low birthrate of the country leaves future growth unknown. Recent studies indicate that the population could drop by 40 million to just 10 million by the year 2136, a widespread problem that also plagues other Asian countries including Japan.

South Korea Population in 2018Source: travel oriented

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

South 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.

About South Korea

Official NameRepublic of Korea
Languages SpokenKorean
BordersPRK
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude37127.5
Currencies UsedKRW

South Korea Population Density

Name Population
Seoul10,349,312
Busan3,678,555
Incheon2,628,000
Daegu2,566,540
Daejeon1,475,221
Gwangju1,416,938
Suwon-si1,242,724
Goyang-si1,073,069
Seongnam-si1,031,935
Ulsan962,865
Bucheon-si850,731
Jeonju711,424
Ansan-si650,728
Cheongju-si634,596
Anyang-si634,367
Changwon550,000
Pohang500,000
Uijeongbu-si479,141
Hwaseong-si476,297
Jeju-si408,364
Cheonan365,114
Kwangmyong357,545
Kimhae356,242
Chinju307,242
Yeosu295,538
Gumi291,006
Iksan283,501
Moppo268,402
Kunsan243,406
Wonju243,387
Suncheon230,796
Chuncheon209,746
Icheon-si196,230
Guri-si195,236
Kang-neung180,611
Yangju179,923
Osan158,978
Seogwipo155,691
Kyonju155,237
Gimcheon150,000
Hanam134,902
Gyeongsan-si129,903
Andong129,319
Hwado106,358
Tonghae101,128
Asan97,749
Wabu96,775
Namyangju90,798
Kwangyang89,281
Hongsung89,174
Sokcho89,047
Eisen84,625
Wanju84,009
Yangp'yong83,367
Ungsang83,360
Sinhyeon82,560
Kwangju81,780
Mungyeong81,525
Naeso80,987
Muan75,718
Hongch'on75,251
Changnyeong74,668
Suisan74,208
Koch'ang72,996
Gongju72,435
Kyosai72,124
Yangsan71,936
Anseong69,255
Hwawon64,718
Pubal63,026
Kosong62,446
Taisen-ri62,039
Chinch'on60,964
Hwasun59,914
Nangen58,057
Okcheon56,634
Eisen56,006
Sangju55,640
Gapyeong55,415
Sinan53,150
Miryang53,103
T'aebaek48,962
Kimje44,894
Koesan44,461
Nonsan43,845
Munsan43,208
Gijang43,064
Naju42,459
Santyoku42,145
Enjitsu40,852
Hayang40,423
Yesan39,409
Imsil37,514
Yeoju37,490
Heung-hai36,080
Kunwi34,293
Tangjin32,778
Fuyo32,642
Cheongsong gun31,313
Jinan-gun31,273
Kurye30,000
Waegwan29,691
Seonghwan29,239
Goseong26,704
Changsu26,463
Ganghwa-gun25,535
Neietsu25,413
Kinzan25,243
Yonmu25,015
Yong-dong24,154
Yanggu24,027
Haenam23,928
Hwacheon23,822
Gaigeturi23,717
Taesal-li23,149
Puan22,267
Jenzan20,673
Reiko19,909
Beolgyo19,842
Sintansin15,000
Songgangdong10,000

South Korea Population Clock

What is the population of South Korea (as of 12/12/2017)?51,067,022
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2017)50,982,212
Births Per Day1,237
Deaths Per Day829
Net Migrations Per Day 106
Net Change Per Day 514
Population Change Since January 1st177,844

South Korea Population Indicators

IndicatorValue
Crude Birth Rate 8.882 births/thousand
Crude Death Rate 5.95 deaths/thousand
Crude Net Migration Rate 0.763 people/thousand
Life Expectancy (Both Sexes) 82.206 years
Male Life Expectancy 79.038 years
Female Life Expectancy 85.166 years
Total Fertility Rate 1.305 children/woman
Net Reproduction Rate 0.625 surviving daughters/woman
Sex Ratio At Birth 1.07 males per female
Infant Mortality Rate 2.478 deaths/1,000 live births
Under Five Mortality 3.114 deaths/thousand
Mean Age at Childbearing 32.084 years
Rate of Natural Increase 2.932
Median Age (Total) 41.2 years
Median Age (Female) 42.8 years
Median Age (Male) 39.7 years

South Korea Population History

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
201750,982,21250.04%49.96%509270.38%
201550,593,66250.06%49.94%505270.42%
201049,552,85550.11%49.89%494260.34%
200548,708,49750.17%49.83%486250.55%
200047,386,31250.17%49.83%473240.91%
199545,298,61150.19%49.81%452241.08%
199042,923,13150.13%49.87%428241.02%
198540,808,56950.09%49.91%407231.41%
198038,050,42450.11%49.89%380231.46%
197535,386,50750.14%49.86%353231.90%
197032,209,31450.22%49.78%321242.19%
196528,907,07150.34%49.66%288242.67%
196025,340,91850.33%49.67%253243.31%
195521,531,33149.91%50.09%215242.31%
195019,211,38549.81%50.19%192230.00%

South Korea Population Projections

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
202051,506,97550.01%49.99%514280.00%
202552,219,34049.96%50.04%521290.28%
203052,701,81749.88%50.12%526320.18%
203552,805,84649.77%50.23%527320.04%
204052,409,40849.62%50.38%52337-0.15%
204551,586,18449.47%50.53%51538-0.32%
205050,456,83249.34%50.66%50441-0.44%
205549,131,72149.26%50.74%49043-0.53%
206047,720,97149.25%50.75%47647-0.58%
206546,314,89149.28%50.72%46250-0.60%
207044,924,62449.33%50.67%44853-0.61%
207543,565,65349.37%50.63%43554-0.61%
208042,294,44349.40%50.60%42257-0.59%
208541,145,39549.41%50.59%41158-0.55%
209040,174,64549.43%50.57%40161-0.48%
209539,356,81649.50%50.50%39362-0.41%
Data Sources
  1. World Population Prospects (2017 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.
  2. GeoNames Gazetteer