South Korea Population 2020 (Live)

51,287,977
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According to current projections, South Korea is expected to hit its peak population of 51.35 million people by 2024. South Korea’s population growth rate has slowed significantly, decreasing from 0.1% to 0.09% from 2019 to 2020.

South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world of 0.92, meaning that, on average, women are having less than one child. Women in South Korea are reluctant to have children because of high education costs and home prices and difficulty returning to work after giving birth.

South Korea’s extremely low fertility rate will result in a rapidly increasing aging population. Almost half of South Korea is expected to be over the age of 65 by 2065. Such a senior population would threaten South Korea’s workforce, economy, and military capabilities.

The current population of South Korea is 51,287,977, based on projections of the latest United Nations data. The UN estimates the July 1, 2020 population at 51,269,185.

South Korea Growth Rate

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South Korea Population 2020 (Live)

Name Population
Seoul10,349,312
Busan3,678,555
Incheon2,628,000
Daegu2,566,540
Daejeon1,475,221
Gwangju1,416,938
Suwon1,242,724
Goyang-si1,073,069
Seongnam-si1,031,935
Ulsan962,865

South Korea Area and Population Density

The land area covers 99,392 square kilometers (or 38,375.46 square miles) and this small area (in combination with staggering population numbers) contributes to the fact that 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.

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 the 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, the 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.

Largest Cities in South Korea

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 southeastern coastal area, which includes Pohang, Pusan, Ulsan, Chinhae, Yeosu, 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.

South Korea Population Density Map

Year Population Growth Rate Density (km²) Population Rank Density Rank
202051,269,1850.09%527.302823
201951,225,3080.10%526.852823
201851,171,7060.15%526.302823
201751,096,4150.22%525.522723
201650,983,4570.32%524.362722
201550,823,0930.51%522.712722
201049,545,6360.34%509.572621
200548,701,0730.55%500.892519
200047,379,2410.91%487.292420
199545,292,5221.08%465.832418
199042,918,4191.01%441.412419
198540,804,4021.41%419.672318
198038,045,6071.46%391.292316
197535,378,6611.90%363.872315
197032,195,6812.19%331.132415
196528,895,5582.67%297.192418
196025,329,5153.32%260.512420
195521,514,5702.29%221.282423
195019,211,3850.00%197.592325

South Korea Population by Year (Historical)

Year Population Growth Rate Density (km²) Population Rank Density Rank
202051,269,1850.09%527.302823
202551,339,3770.03%528.023025
203051,152,046-0.07%526.093126
203550,685,006-0.18%521.293627
204049,783,734-0.36%512.023729
204548,479,724-0.53%498.613932
205046,829,925-0.69%481.644334
205544,856,758-0.86%461.354836
206042,701,600-0.98%439.185239
206540,565,207-1.02%417.215640
207038,545,558-1.02%396.445642
207536,663,305-1.00%377.086145
208034,934,427-0.96%359.306345
208533,354,518-0.92%343.056348
209031,918,148-0.88%328.276451
209530,624,269-0.82%314.976754

South Korea Population by Year (Projections)

South Korea Population Pyramid 2020

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South Korea Median Age

41.8


Total

40.2


Male

43.4


Female

South Korea Population by Age

There are 43,233,342 adults in South Korea.

South Korea Population Pyramid

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 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 Demographics

Korean and English are the only two languages noted as used in South Korea, and in addition, the ethnicity is listed as homogenous - meaning the population is over 99% Korean in ethnic background. The median age in South Korea is approximately 41.8 years of age. Life expectancy is approximately 82.5 years of age. Physician density is at approximately 2.3 per 1,000 individuals residing in the country, and hospital beds are at 11.5 available per 1,000 residents.

Korea Religion, Economy and Politics

Korea isn't a particularly religious nation, with only 44% of the population stating they having a faith. However, they differentiate themselves from many other nations because of how well people of all belief systems coexist peacefully.

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](http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/03/23/Pollution-in-South-Korea-poses-increasing-health-threats/5191427123633/) on increasing urbanization which has an adverse effect upon life expectancy. According to the Ministry of 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 on healthcare was 7.17% of the country's GDP.

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.

About South Korea