North Korea Population 2020 (Live)

25,792,496

According to current projections, North Korea’s population will reach its peak in 2037 with a population of 26.87 million people – just over 1 million more people than it has now.

North Korea’s population growth rate has slowed to 0.44% per year. Between 1960 and 1995, the population growth rate was much higher varying between 1.43% and 2.81%. Unsurprisingly, North Korea’s fertility rate has also declined significantly, dropping from 5.12 births per woman in 1960 to 1.91 births per woman in 2020.

North Korea’s lack of population growth will lead to an aging population that will negatively impact its workforce and military power. Unlike other countries will declining populations, like its neighbor to the south, North Korea will not be able to try and bring in immigrants to fix its declining population in the future.

The current population of North Korea is 25,792,496, based on projections of the latest United Nations data. The UN estimates the July 1, 2020 population at 25,778,816.

North Korea Growth Rate

North Korea Population 2020 (Live)

Name Population
Pyongyang3,222,000
Hamhung559,056
Namp'o455,000
Sunch'on437,000
Hungnam346,082
Kaesong338,155
Wonsan329,207
Chongjin327,000
Sariwon310,100
Sinuiju288,112

North Korea Area and Population Density

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

Largest Cities 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 Map

Year Population Growth Rate Density (km²) Population Rank Density Rank
202025,778,8160.44%214.095468
201925,666,1610.46%213.165468
201825,549,6040.47%212.195268
201725,429,8250.48%211.195266
201625,307,6650.49%210.185166
201525,183,8330.51%209.155164
201024,548,8360.53%203.884858
200523,904,1670.84%198.524658
200022,929,0750.96%190.434557
199521,862,2991.50%181.574257
199020,293,0541.46%168.534157
198518,877,2381.56%156.774060
198017,472,1401.43%145.113960
197516,274,7402.46%135.163759
197014,410,4002.81%119.683759
196512,547,5251.89%104.213762
196011,424,1762.52%94.883662
195510,086,991-0.89%83.773665
195010,549,4720.00%87.613458

North Korea Population by Year (Historical)

Year Population Growth Rate Density (km²) Population Rank Density Rank
202025,778,8160.44%214.095468
202526,275,4840.38%218.225671
203026,651,3290.28%221.345971
203526,843,4300.14%222.936171
204026,858,0330.01%223.056473
204526,746,916-0.08%222.136473
205026,561,619-0.14%220.596574
205526,314,042-0.19%218.546877
206026,015,181-0.23%216.057077
206525,673,261-0.26%213.227177
207025,297,149-0.29%210.097281
207524,903,578-0.31%206.827381
208024,506,351-0.32%203.527383
208524,100,769-0.33%200.167484
209023,684,126-0.35%196.707583
209523,246,291-0.37%193.067584

North Korea Population by Year (Projections)

North Korea Population Pyramid 2020

North Korea Median Age

34


Total

32.5


Male

35.6


Female

North Korea Population by Age

There are 19,400,804 adults in North Korea.

North Korea Population Pyramid

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.

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 Religion, Economy and Politics

Amongst many other areas, it is difficult to find official information about religions practiced in North Korea. The country is officially an atheist nation, but it has also been reported that roughly 16% of the country practice Korean Shamanism, 14% practice Chondoism, 4.5% are Buddhist, and 1.5% are Christian.

The North Korean economy is a centrally planned system, meaning that production, investment, and allocation of goods all follow an economy-wide plan, and the market allocation schemes are limited. The economy has been modernized somewhat in recent years, but not by much. The main economic sectors in North Korea are manufacturing, energy, construction, banking, and agriculture.

The North Korean political system is based on the philosophy of Juche created by Kin II-sung, which states that the combination of self-reliance and a strong independent nation can create true socialism. The constitution guarantees its citizens basic human rights, but whether or not this is actively practiced is questionable.

North Korea Population History

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.

About North Korea