Young Pioneer Tours

What is the population of Korea?

Whilst we might be the leading company in offering budget tours to North Korea, we certainly don’t skimp on having the best North Korean tour guides available. As a matter of fact, our guides are veritable fonts of knowledge. But if, for whatever reason, you don’t have an opportunity to visit the DPRK with us, allow us to act as your personal fonts of knowledge on particular subject: the population of the DPRK.

Few would dispute the fact that North Korea is a unique place, and that the answers to many questions people might have about the country are somewhat complicated. This is certainly no different when it comes to the country’s population.

The official population as of 2016 was 26,368,620. The previous census, taken in 2008, put the population at around 24 million.

However, as is always the case with the DPRK, nothing is so straightforward. There are roughly 610,000 ethnic Koreans who live in Japan and belong to the Chongryon organisation. This makes them technically North Korean citizens, and if included as part of the population of the DPRK, takes its numbers up to around 27 million.

The population of Korea: North Koreans rally around portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il

The population of Korea: the Korean Diaspora and the Republic of Korea

There is also the issue of defectors from the country, but this is a thorny issue that we will bypass for the time being.

There are, furthermore, a number of ethnic Koreans in China and Russia. Whilst not technically citizens of North Korea, they are part of the (North) Korean Diaspora, and would add another few million to the count (putting it somewhere in the region of 30 million, were we to count them).

The Republic of Korea, more commonly known as South Korea, has a population of around 52 million. This means that if we combine the population of the entire Korean Peninsula plus the various people of the Korean Diasporas, the total would be around 100 million.

Whether or not the two populations plus overseas citizens should be counted as a whole is not a question for us to answer, but should attempts at reunification ever come to fruition, we’ll have a clearer picture of the situation.

Check out North Korea for yourself on one of our tours!