North Korea Population: 24,720,407


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An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to KIM Jong Un and KIM has now assumed many his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but then sought to roll back the scale of economic reforms in 2005 and 2009. North Korea's history of regional military provocations; proliferation of military-related items; long-range missile development; WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, and 2013; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.

Strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
Location: Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
Geographic coordinates: 40 00 N, 127 00 E
Area: total: 120,538 sq km
land: 120,408 sq km
water: 130 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Mississippi
Land Boundaries: total: 1,671.5 km
border countries: China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 17.5 km
Coastline: 2,495 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm note: military boundary line 50 nm in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and aircraft without permission are banned
Climate: temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west, discontinuous in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m
Natural resources: coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 19.08%
permanent crops: 1.7%
other: 79.22% (2011)
Irrigated land: 14,600 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall volcanism: Changbaishan (elev. 2,744 m) (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu or P'aektu-san), on the Chinese border, is considered historically active
Current Environment Issues: water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
International Environment Agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
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Nationality: noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups: racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
Languages: Korean
Religions: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)

note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom
Population: 24,720,407 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.7% (male 2,726,275/female 2,650,143)
15-24 years: 16.4% (male 2,059,388/female 2,005,987)
25-54 years: 43.8% (male 5,411,221/female 5,415,744)
55-64 years: 8.5% (male 988,922/female 1,108,156)
65 years and over: 9.5% (male 798,363/female 1,556,208) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 45.2 %
youth dependency ratio: 31.5 %
elderly dependency ratio: 13.7 %
potential support ratio: 7.3 (2013)
Median age: total: 33.2 years
male: 31.6 years
female: 34.8 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.53% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 14.49 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 9.15 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 60.3% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.63% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: PYONGYANG (capital) 2.843 million (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 81 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 25.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 28.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 22.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.51 years
male: 65.65 years
female: 73.55 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.99 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 68.6% (2002)
Health expenditures: 2% of GDP (2009)
Physicians density: 3.29 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
Hospital bed density: 13.2 beds/1,000 population (2002)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 97% of population
total: 98% of population

urban: 1% of population
rural: 3% of population
total: 2% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 86% of population
rural: 71% of population
total: 80% of population

urban: 14% of population
rural: 29% of population
total: 20% of population (2010 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 3.9% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 20.6% (2004)
Education expenditures: NA
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2008 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
conventional short form: North Korea
local long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk
local short form: Choson
abbreviation: DPRK
Government type: Communist state one-man dictatorship
Capital: name: Pyongyang
geographic coordinates: 39 01 N, 125 45 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 2 municipalities (si, singular and plural) provinces: Chagang-do (Chagang), Hamgyong-bukto (North Hamgyong), Hamgyong-namdo (South Hamgyong), Hwanghae-bukto (North Hwanghae), Hwanghae-namdo (South Hwanghae), Kangwon-do (Kangwon), P'yongan-bukto (North P'yongan), P'yongan-namdo (South P'yongan), Yanggang-do (Yanggang) municipalities: Nason-si, P'yongyang-si (Pyongyang)
Independence: 15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holiday: Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
Constitution: adopted 1948; revised several times
Legal system: civil law system based on the Prussian model; system influenced by Japanese traditions and Communist legal theory
Suffrage: 17 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: KIM Jong Un (since 17 December 2011); note - the rubberstamp Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) reelected KIM Yong Nam in 2009 president of its Presidium with responsibility of representing state and receiving diplomatic credentials

head of government: Premier PAK Pong-ju (since 2 April 2013); Vice Premiers: HAN Kwang Bok (since 7 June 2010), JO Pyong Ju (since 7 June 2010), JON Ha Chol (since 7 June 2010), KANG Nung Su (since 7 June 2010), KANG Sok Ju (since 23 September 2010), KIM In Sik (since 13 April 2012), KIM Rak Hui (since 7 June 2010), KIM Yong Jin (since 6 January 2012), PAK Su Gil (since 18 September 2009), RI Chol Man (since 13 April 2012), RI Mu Yong (since 31 May 2011), RI Sung Ho (since 13 April 2012), RO Tu Chol (since 3 September 2003)

cabinet: Naegak (cabinet) members, except for Minister of People's Armed Forces, are appointed by SPA (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: last election held in April 2012; date of next election NA

election results: KIM Jong Un elected unopposed
Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 8 March 2009 (next to be held in March 2014)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; ruling party approves a list of candidates who are elected without opposition; a token number of seats are reserved for minor parties
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Central Court (consists of the chief justice and two "People's Assessors" and for some cases, 3 judges) judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Supreme People's Assembly for 5-year terms

subordinate courts: provincial, municipal, military, special courts; people' courts (lowest level)
Political parties and leaders: major party: Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Jong Un] minor parties: Chondoist Chongu Party [RYU Mi Yong] (under KWP control) Social Democratic Party [KIM Yong Dae] (under KWP control)
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ARF, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO
National symbol(s): red star
National anthem: name: "Aegukka" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: PAK Se Yong/KIM Won Gyun

note: adopted 1947; both North Korea and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics; the North Korean anthem is also known as "Ach'imun pinnara" (Let Morning Shine)
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: none; note - Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power
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North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel. Large-scale international food aid deliveries as well as aid from China has allowed the people of North Korea to escape widespread starvation since famine threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed private "farmers' markets" to begin selling a wider range of goods. It also permitted some private farming - on an experimental basis - in an effort to boost agricultural output. In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. A concurrent crackdown on markets and foreign currency use yielded severe shortages and inflation, forcing Pyongyang to ease the restrictions by February 2010. In response to the sinking of the South Korean destroyer Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea's government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities, with the exception of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. In 2012, KIM Jong Un's first year of leadership, the North displayed increased focus on the economy by renewing its commitment to special economic zones with China, negotiating a new payment structure to settle its $11 billion Soviet-era debt to Russia, and purportedly proposing new agricultural and industrial policies to boost domestic production. The North Korean government often highlights its goal of becoming a "strong and prosperous" nation and attracting foreign investment, a key factor for improving the overall standard of living. Nevertheless, firm political control remains the government's overriding concern, which likely will inhibit fundamental reforms of North Korea's current economic system.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $40 billion (2011 est.) $40 billion (2010 est.) $40 billion (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars; North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown here are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates for North Korea that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2011 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the results were rounded to the nearest $10 billion.
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $28 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.8% (2011 est.) -0.5% (2010 est.) -0.9% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,800 (2011 est.) $1,800 (2010 est.) $1,900 (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs
Industries: military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Labor force: 12.2 million note: estimates vary widely (2009 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 35% industry and
services: 65% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $3.2 billion
expenditures: $3.3 billion (2007 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 11.4% of GDP note: excludes earnings from state-operated enterprises (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Exports: $4.707 billion (2011) $3.704 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products
Exports - partners: China 67.2%, South Korea 19.4%, India 3.6% (2011 est.)
Imports: $4.33 billion (2011 est.) $2.934 billion (2010 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain
Imports - partners: China 61.6%, South Korea 20%, European Union 4% (2011 est.)
Debt - external: $12.5 billion (2001 est.)
Exchange rates: North Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (market rate) 155.5 (2012 est.) 156.1 (2011 est.) 145 (2010 est.) 3,630 (December 2008) 140 (2007)
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Electricity - production: 20.45 billion kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 71
Electricity - consumption: 17.12 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 9.5 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 47.4% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 52.6% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 8,432 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 9,133 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 15,070 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 7,967 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 63.69 million Mt (2010 est.)
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Telephones in use: 1.18 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 71
Cellular Phones in use: 1 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system; nationwide fiber-optic network; mobile-cellular service expanding beyond Pyongyang

domestic: fiber-optic links installed down to the county level; telephone directories unavailable; GSM mobile-cellular service initiated in 2002 but suspended in 2004; Orascom Telecom Holding, an Egyptian company, launched W-CDMA mobile service on 15 December 2008 for the Pyongyang area, has expanded service to several large cities and now has a 1-million-person subscriber base

international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing (2011)
Broadcast media: no independent media; radios and TVs are pre-tuned to government stations; 4 government-owned TV stations; the Korean Workers' Party owns and operates the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and the state-run Voice of Korea operates an external broadcast service; the government prohibits listening to and jams foreign broadcasts (2008)
Internet country code: .kp
Internet hosts: 8 (2012)
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Airports: 82 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 67
Airports (paved runways): total 39
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 43

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 8 (2013)
Heliports: 23 (2013)
Pipelines: oil 6 km (2013)
Railways: total 5,242 km
standard gauge: 5,242 km 1.435-m gauge (3,500 km electrified) (2009)
Roadways: total 25,554 km
paved: 724 km
unpaved: 24,830 km (2006)
Waterways: 2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 158

by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 131, carrier 1, chemical tanker 1, container 4, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 2

foreign-owned: 13 (Belgium 1, China 3, Nigeria 1, Singapore 1, South Korea 1, Syria 4, UAE 2)

registered in other countries: 6 (Mongolia 1, Sierra Leone 2, unknown 3) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Namp'o, Senbong, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan
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Military branches: North Korean People's Army: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force; civil security forces (2005)
Military service age and obligation: 18 is presumed to be the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 16-17 is the presumed legal minimum age for voluntary service (2012)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 6,515,279
females age 16-49: 6,418,693 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 4,836,567
females age 16-49: 5,230,137 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 207,737
female: 204,553 (2010 est.)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: risking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression; North Korea and China dispute the sovereignty of certain islands in Yalu and Tumen rivers; Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents in the Yellow Sea with South Korea which claims the Northern Limiting Line as a maritime boundary; North Korea supports South Korea in rejecting Japan's claim to Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima)
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: undetermined (periodic flooding and famine during mid-1990s) (2007)
Illicit drugs: for years, from the 1970s into the 2000s, citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK), many of them diplomatic employees of the government, were apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics, including two in Turkey in December 2004; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine, including an attempt by the North Korean merchant ship Pong Su to deliver 150 kg of heroin to Australia in April 2003
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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