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South Korea Population

South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, borders North Korea to the north, The Korean peninsula is surrounded by the West Sea/Yellow Sea, the South Sea/East China Sea and the East Sea, Sea of Japan. South Korea population in 2021 is estimated to be 51.47 million. South Korea is a developed country and is ranked as the Asian top seventh country on the Human Development Index. In 2020, the population aged 65 and over accounted for 15.7% (8.125 million) of the total population. Korea is projected to become a super-aged society in 2025, when the elderly population reaches 20.3% of the total population. Almost entire population is ethnically Korean and speak Korean language and the Korean script is known as Hangul. The Capital of South Korea is Seoul and the majority of the people live in the province surrounding Seoul in the north west of the country. Other populated cities are Busan(4.5 million), Incheon(2.8 million) and Daegu(2.3 million). Incheon is bordering the capital city Seoul, which is under Seoul Capital Area region. Busan is a large port city in the southern part of the country. Jeju island, or Jeju-do in Korean, is the country's largest island and one of the most popular Korean holiday destinations. Coal, graphite and lead are among the main natural resources of South Korea. Many Korean dishes are based on rice, vegetable and meat based. Kimchi is the traditional dish made with fermented cabbage, leafy greens and chillis. Soups are popular and other dishes include Dak Galbi, Bulgogi, Jajangmyeong and Bibimpap. Sesame seeds, chillis are the most common ingredients in Korean dishes. Koreans mainly eat with chopsticks and spoons for soups.

Birth Rate5.3Infant Mortality3.2 Fertility Rate0.84Death Rate5.9Life Expectancy86/F80/M

South Korea Population Indicators
Birth rate is 5.3 births/1000 people in 2020. Infant Mortality is 3.2/1000 live births in 2020. Fertility rate is 0.84 births per woman in 2020. Death rate is 5.9 deaths/1000 people in 2020. Life expectancy for male is 80, and for female is 86.


Religions in South Korea

Many Koreans practise Confucianism which is an old tradition in many Asian countries. Confucianists follow the teachings of Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius who told his pupils to lead a simple life, do good and respect each other.


Languages in South Korea

Korean is the official language, also called Hangul. The Korean alphabet has 24 letters, The language is similar to Japanese and Mandarin, Hangul is written and read from top to bottom and from left to right. South Korea and North Korea speak the similar language, the slighter difference is their accent and some dialects.

South Korea is divided into 9 provinces: North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, North Gyeongsang, South Gyeongsang, North Jeolla, South Jeolla, and Jeju.


Population Projection

YearPopulation (Million)
202051 269
202151 517
202251 842
202352 214
202452 591
202552 941
203054 266
203555 078
204055 206
204554 773
205053 917
205553 008
206052 499
Source: UN Population Projections

According to Kostat, Register based Census, As of November 1st, 2019, the population of South Korea was 51.78 million persons, which increased by 150 thousand persons (0.3%) from 2018. The youth population aged 0-14 and the working age population aged 15-64 recorded a year-on-year decrease. In the meantime, the elderly population aged 65 or more recorded a year-on-year increase. Compared to the year 2018, Sejong city showed the highest population growth rate, which was followed by Gyeonggi and Jeju. The foreign nationals in South Korea amounted to 1.78 million persons, which occupied 3.4% of the total population. This figure rose by 130 thousand persons (7.7%) compared to 2018.

In 2019, the total number of households are 20.89 million, increasing by 390 thousand households (1.9%) from 2018. As for general households by type of living quarters, apartments and detached houses occupied 51.1% and 31.0%, respectively. In 2019, 1-person and 2-person households occupied 58.1% of the total households, up 1.5% from 56.5% in 2018. The multi-cultural households amounted to 350 thousand households, which took up 1.7% of the general households. The multi-cultural household members are 1.06 million persons, which accounted for 2.1% of the total population.

As on 2019, Both incoming migration and outgoing migration of Koreans recorded a year-on-year decrease. Incoming migration of foreigners dropped by 11.5%, while their outgoing migration rose by 16.6%. Compared to 2018, incoming migration of Chinese and Thai nationals showed a decrease. Whereas, incoming migration of Uzbekistan and Vietnamese nationals marked an increase. Vietnamese nationals recorded the highest positive net migration, which was followed by Thailand and the United States. Thailand marked a year-on-year drop in positive net migration.

According to Birth and Death Stastistics, In 2020, the number of live births was 272.4 thousand persons, which is dropped by 30.3 thousand persons (-10.0%) from 2019. The total fertility rate (the number of births that a woman would have if she experienced the current age specific birth rates throughout her childbearing years) marked 0.84 in 2020, which dropped by 0.08 from 2019. The crude birth rate (the number of live births per 1,000 population) stood at 5.3 in 2020, dropping by 0.6 from 2019. The fertility rate of women aged 30~34 showed the highest figure of 79.0 persons per 1,000 women, which was followed by those aged 35~39 (42.3 persons) and those aged 25~29 (30.6 persons). The fertility rate of women aged 30~34 showed the highest year-on-year decrease (-7.2 persons), which was followed by those aged 25~29 (-5.1 persons). The average age of mothers giving birth to a child was 33.1 years in 2020, up 0.1 year from 2019. Compared to 2019, the average age of mothers giving birth to the first child, the second child and the third child rose by 0.1 year. The live births of the first child occupied 56.6% of the total live births in 2020, up 0.9% from 2019. The live births of the second child occupied 35.1% in 2020. Compared to 2019, the number of live births happening within 2 years marriage and 2 years ~ less than 5 years marriage dropped by 11 thousand persons (-11.1%) and 13 thousand persons (-10.5%), respectively. The number of live births happening decreased by 6 thousand persons(-8.2%).

In 2020, the number of deaths was 305.1 thousand persons, which grew by 10 thousand persons (3.4%) from 2019. The crude death rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 population) rose by 0.2 person (3.4%) to 5.9 persons in 2020. The number of deaths of people aged 90 or more showed the highest year-on-year increase rate of 8.9%, which was followed by those aged 80~89 (6.4%) and those aged 20~29 (5.7%).

In 2019, the number of marriages was 239.2 thousand, which decreased by 7.2% (-18.5 thousand) from 2018. The crude marriage rate stood at 4.7 in 2019, which dropped 0.3 from 2018(the number of marriages per 1,000 people). Compared to 2018, the marriages of males aged 30 to 34 showed the highest decrease. The marriages of females aged 25 to 29 showed the highest decrease. The marriage of males aged 30 to 34 dropped by 9.6 thousand (-10.4%) from 2018. The marriage of females aged 25 to 29 dropped by 8.8 thousand (-9.7%) from 2018. As for the marriage rate by age, males aged 30 to 34 showed the highest figure of 51.1 marriages per 1,000 people. Females aged 25 to 29 showed the highest figure of 50.4 marriages per 1,000 people. In 2019, the number of divorces was 110.8 thousand, which increased by 2.0% (2.1 thousand) from 2018. The crude divorce rate stood at 2.2 in 2019, which rose by 0.1 from 2018. As for the divorce rate by age, males aged 45 to 49 showed the highest figure of 8.6 divorces per 1,000 people. Females aged 40 to 44 showed the highest figure of 9.0 divorces per 1,000 people. The duration of 20 years or more of marriage before getting divorced occupied the highest share at 34.7% of the total divorces, which was followed by the duration of 4 years or less (21.0%). The average duration of marriage before getting divorced recorded 16.0 years, rising by 0.3 year from 2018. The number of marriages with foreign spouses increased by 4.2% from 2018. The number of divorces with foreign spouses decreased by 3.4% from 2018. The number of marriages with foreign spouses increased by 0.9 thousand (4.2%) to 23.6 thousand in 2019. The number of divorces with foreign spouses decreased by 0.2 thousand (3.4%) to 6.9 thousand in 2019.

In 2020, 58.8% of Koreans were satisfied with their overall family relationship, rising by 2.2% from 2018, Compared with 2018, the satisfaction with children, parents and spouse's parents showed an increase. Whereas, the satisfaction with spouse showed a decrease. In 2020, 62.5% of people thought a couple should equally share housework. This percentage went up by 3.4% from 2018. In the meantime, only 20% of married couples equally shared housework in reality. In 2020, 61.6% of Koreans thought that family members, government and society should make efforts together to take care of dependent parents, which rose by 13.3% from 2018. As for support for dependent parents, the percentages of By family members (22.0%), By dependent parents themselves (12.9%) and By government and community (3.5%) showed a decrease from 2018. In 2020, 59.7% of people thought a couple might live together without getting married legally, rising by 3.3% from 2018. In 2020, 30.7% of people thought that to it was acceptable to have a child without getting married, rising by 0.4% from 2018. This percentage showed a steadily increasing trend from 2012.

In 2020, 59.3% of middle and high school students were satisfied with their school life, which went up by 1.3% from 2018. The highest share of middle and high school students (79.6%) studied to prepare for their future. This percentage was followed by To avoid shame in doing poorly at school (31.0%), To have fun studying (20.8%) and To avoid punishments or reprimands for not studying (15.9%). In 2020, 64.1% of households responded that educational expenditures of their children were burdensome, falling by 0.3% from 2018. The highest share of households (67.2%) responded that expenditures (off-school private education, boarding, etc.) other than schooling were the greatest burden.

In 2020, 31.8% of Koreans thought that the Korean society was safe in general. This percentage rose by 11.3% from 2018. A relatively high percentage of Koreans thought that Food security, National security, Food safety and Natural disaster were safe. Whereas, a relatively high percentage of Koreans thought that Leakage of personal information, Novel disease and Information security were unsafe. In 2020, Emergence of unknown diseases(32.8%) was the biggest threat to the public safety, which was followed by Economic risks (14.9%), Crime (13.2%) and National security issues (11.3%). In particular, the share of Koreans considering Emergence of unknown diseases as the biggest threat sharply increased by 22.9% from 2.9% in 2018 to 32.8% in 2020. 33.5% of Koreans felt unsafe when walking alone at night. In particular, 49.8% of females felt unsafe when walking alone at night. Among people feeling unsafe when walking alone, the largest share of them (44.0%) felt unsafe due to Media coverage of crimes and accidents. This percentage was followed by Deserted neighborhood area (25.4%) and Lack in safety amenities such as street lights and CCTV cameras (20.1%). Compared with 2018, Koreans showed a great improvement in compliance with public order. In the meantime, people thought that Adhering to driving rules and Using designated areas for smoking should be improved.

The highest share of Koreans thought that Green space (58.7%) was the best among several conditions of the surrounding environment. This share was followed by Light pollution (45.3%), Air (38.2%) and Water (37.7%). All these shares showed an increase from 2018. In 2020, 41.7% of Koreans thought that environmental conditions got better compared with 5 years ago, rising by 16.3%p from 2018. In 2020, 46.0% of Koreans thought that environmental conditions would get better 5 years later, rising by 18.0% from 2018. The largest share of Koreans (72.9%) felt worried about fine dust, which was followed by radiation (47.9%), toxic substances (46.0%) and climate change (45.4%).

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