North Korea Population: 25,115,311

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 History
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 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in 2011, KIM Jong Un quickly assumed power and has now taken on most of his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has faced chronic food shortages. In recent years, the North’s domestic agricultural production has increased, but still falls far short of producing sufficient food to provide for its entire population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but has made few other efforts to meet its goal of improving the overall standard of living. 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, 2013, and 2016; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community and have limited the DPRK’s international engagement, particularly economically. The regime abides by a policy calling for the simultaneous development of its nuclear weapons program and its economy.

 Geography
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 larger than Virginia; slightly smaller than Mississippi
Land Boundaries: total: 1,607 km border countries (3): China 1,352 km, South Korea 237 km, Russia 18 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; long, bitter winters
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
Land use: agricultural land: 21.8% arable land 19.5%; permanent crops 1.9%; permanent pasture 0.4% forest: 46%
other: 32.2% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 14,600 sq km (2012)
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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 People
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: 25,115,311 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.97% (male 2,678,638/female 2,588,744)
15-24 years: 15.88% (male 2,009,360/female 1,977,942)
25-54 years: 44.22% (male 5,567,682/female 5,537,077)
55-64 years: 9.19% (male 1,090,739/female 1,218,406)
65 years and over: 9.74% (male 840,003/female 1,606,720) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 44.3%
youth dependency ratio: 30.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 13.8%
potential support ratio: 7.3% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 33.8 years
male: 32.3 years
female: 35.4 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.53% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 14.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 9.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 60.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: PYONGYANG (capital) 2.863 million (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 82 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 22.9 deaths/1,000 live births male: 25.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 70.4 years male: 66.6 years
female: 74.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.96 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 70.6% note: percent of women aged 20-49 (2010)
Hospital bed density: 13.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.7% of population

unimproved:
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 87.9% of population
rural: 72.5% of population
total: 81.9% of population

unimproved:
urban: 12.1% of population
rural: 27.5% of population
total: 18.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 2.5% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 15.2% (2012)
Education expenditures: NA
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2009)
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 Government
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
etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the North Korean name "Choson" means "[land of the] morning calm"
Government type: communist state
Capital: name: Pyongyang
geographic coordinates: 39 01 N, 125 45 E
time difference: UTC+8.5 (13.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: on 15 August 2015, North Korea reverted to UTC+8.5, a time zone that had been observed during pre-colonial times
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 2 municipalities (si, singular and plural) provinces: Chagang, Hambuk (North Hamgyong), Hamnam (South Hamgyong), Hwangbuk (North Hwanghae), Hwangnam (South Hwanghae), Kangwon, P'yongbuk (North Pyongan), P'yongnam (South Pyongan), Ranggang cities: P'yongyang, Rason

note: Rason is sometimes designated as a special city and P'yongyang as a capital city
Independence: 15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holiday: Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
Constitution: previous 1948, 1972; latest adopted 1998 (during KIM Jong Il era); revised 2009, 2012, 2013 (2016)
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)

head of government: Premier PAK Pong Ju (since 2 April 2013); Vice Premiers RI Ju O (since 29 June 2016), RI Ryong Nam (since 29 June 2016), KO In Ho (since 29 June 2016), IM Chol Ung (since 29 May 2014), KIM Tok Hun (since 19 June 2013), KIM Yong Jin (since 6 January 2012), RI Mu Yong (since 31 May 2011), RO Tu Chol (since 3 September 2003)

cabinet: Cabinet or Naegak members appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly except the Minister of People's Armed Forces elections/appointments: chief of state and premier indirectly elected by the Supreme People's Assembly; election last held on 9 March 2014 (next election NA)

election results: KIM Jong Un elected unopposed

note: the Korean Workers' Party continues to list deceased leaders KIM Il Sung and KIM Jong Il as Eternal President and Eternal General Secretary respectively
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the Korean Workers' Party selects all candidates

elections: last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2019)

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 2 "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, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO
National symbol(s): red star, chollima (winged horse); national colors: red, white, blue
National anthem: name: "Aegukka" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: PAK Se Yong/KIM Won Gyun

note: adopted 1947; both North Korea's 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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 Economy
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 outputs 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. The mid 1990s were marked by severe famine and widespread starvation. Significant food aid was provided by the international community through 2009. Since that time, food assistance has declined significantly. In the last few years, domestic corn and rice production has been somewhat better, although domestic production does not fully satisfy demand. A large portion of the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed informal markets to begin selling a wider range of goods. It also implemented changes in the management process of communal farms 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 warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, South Korea’s government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities, with the exception of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. North Korea continued efforts to develop special economic zones and expressed willingness to permit construction of a trilateral gas pipeline that would carry Russian natural gas to South Korea. North Korea is also working with Russia to refurbish North Korea’s dilapidated rail network and jointly rebuilt a link between a North Korean port in the Rason Special Economic Zone and the Russian rail network. The North Korean government continues to stress its goal of improving the overall standard of living, but has taken few steps to make that goal a reality for its populace. In 2013-14, the regime rolled out 20 new economic development zones - now totaling 25 - set up for foreign investors, although the initiative remains in its infancy. Firm political control remains the government’s overriding concern, which likely will inhibit changes to North Korea’s current economic system.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $40 billion (2014 est.) $40 billion (2013 est.) $40 billion (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2014 US dollars; North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown 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 ex
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $28 billion (2013 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2014 est.) 1.1% (2013 est.) 1.3% (2012 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,800 (2014 est.) $1,800 (2013 est.) $1,800 (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2014 US dollars
Gross national saving: NA%
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: NA%
government consumption: NA%
investment in fixed capital: NA%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 5.9%
imports of goods and services: -11.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: NA%
government consumption: NA%
investment in fixed capital: NA%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 5.9%
imports of goods and services: -11.1% (2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses, beef, 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: 0.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 14 million note: estimates vary widely (2014 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 37% industry and
services: 63% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: 25.6% (2013 est.) 25.5% (2012 est.)
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: $4.152 billion (2015 est.) $4.152 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products
Exports - partners: China 75.8% (2015)
Imports: $4.819 billion (2015 est.) $4.819 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain
Imports - partners: China 76.4%, Republic of the Congo 5.5% (2015)
Debt - external: $5 billion (2013 est.)
Exchange rates: North Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (average market rate) 135 (2015 est.) 129.9 (2014 est.) 98.5 (2013 est.) 155.5 (2012 est.)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 17 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 15 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 10 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 47.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 52.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 70,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 11,310 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 17,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 5,678 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 44 million Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 3.24 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (July 2015 est.)
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; Orascom Telecom Holding, an Egyptian company that launched mobile service in late 2008 for the Pyongyang area and made considerable progress in expanding to other par

international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing (2015)
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 (2008)
Internet country code: .kp
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 Transportation
Airports: 82 (2013)
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 7,435 km
standard gauge: 7,435 km 1.435-m gauge (5,400 km electrified)

note: figures are approximate; some narrow-gauge railway also exists (2014)
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: major seaport(s): Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Namp'o, Senbong, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan
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 Military
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)
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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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