South Korea Population

Population now

51,731,339
  • World: 28th
  • Asia: 13th
Male:25,895,802(50.06 %)
Female:25,835,537(49.94 %)
Births in 2020:449,847
Deaths in 2020:408,075

Life expectancy & Rates (2020)

Male:80.12 years
Female:86.11 years
Total:83.04 years
Median Age:42.73 years
Birth Rate:7.00
Death Rate:6.35
Growth Rate:0.10 %
Fertility Rate:1.08

Population Data Graphs

  • Total population
  • Birth & Death rate
  • Life expectancy
  • Median Age
  • Population structure (mid 2020)
  • Urbanization

South Korea Population Review

South Korea is a highly developed East Asian country with the 12th largest GDP in the world. It has just over 51 million citizens and boasts some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world and the world’s most dense high-speed railway network. Considered one of the most innovative countries in the world, South Korea is surrounded by the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, and the East China Sea and shares a land border with North Korea.

The country’s population has boomed since the 1960s, almost doubling in size from just over 25 million to almost 52 million. The population is predicted to continue rising for a few more years but—by 2034—the population will start to dip down again. By 2050, the population is predicted to be down to 50 million. Like most developed nations, South Korea’s birth rate is dropping and its current fertility of 1.08 is not enough to replenish its current population.

A lean population

While many countries in the world are struggling with obesity and weight related health issues like diabetes and heart disease, South Koreans are rarely overweight. In fact, South Korea has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the world. Only 3.2% of South Korea’s population is overweight, which ties with Japan for the lowest percentage in the world. In contrast, almost 14.7% of the population in neighboring China is overweight.

Focused on looks

As a whole, South Koreans are quite focused on their looks and are a vain culture. The country is one of the largest markets for plastic surgery in the world and its estimated that up to 30% of South Korean women have had plastic surgery. In comparison, only 7% of women in the United States have received plastic surgery. In 2011 alone, a report estimated that 650,000 procedures were performed, with 50,000 foreign patients coming to the country for medical tourism. It is not uncommon for high school students to receive cosmetic surgery as a graduation present and competition is fierce amongst the country’s clinics—of which there are 600 in Seoul alone.

A falling marriage rate

Getting married in South Korea is a massive undertaking. Familial pressure and tradition expect lavish ceremonies and receptions that most young South Koreans cannot afford. The average wedding in South Korea costs around US$200,000, about nine times what someone in their 20s makes in the country. For these reasons, marriage rates in South Korea have fallen to their lowest on record. In 1996, 9.6 people per 1,000 were married and 430,000 couples got married that year. In 2018, the country’s marriage rate was 5 per 1,000 people and around 250,000 couples got married—less than half of what was recorded in 1996.

The world’s smallest families

South Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world. With women only having an average of 1.08 children each compared to the world average of 2.5, the country’s population is nose-diving. Without migration, the country’s population will soon start dropping and becoming overwhelmingly elderly. An aging population can spell disaster for a country’s economic health as it loses its young workforce and taxpayers and requires more costly care for older members of the population.

Highest life expectancy

South Korea’s life expectancy has rapidly improved and is now one of the highest in the world. In the 1960s, the country’s average life expectancy was just 55 years old. As the country has industrialized, the life expectancy has continued to improve and is now at 83 years old—with predictions that it could go above 90 in the next 40 years. In contrast, the global average is 72 years.

Review Updated: April 30, 2020

South Korea Population History

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YearTotalMaleFemaleSex RatioGrowth rateBirth rateDeath rateFerti­lity rate
Life exp., total
Life expectancy
Life exp., maleLife exp., femaleMedian AgeUrbani­zation
Density, people / km2
Density, people/km2
196025M13M12M1.012.35%42.2812.626.1055.4251.5259.5117.6327.71%253.98
196126M13M13M1.022.37%41.0112.165.9356.0152.1560.0717.4328.53%261.63
196227M13M13M1.022.37%39.5811.765.7456.5152.6960.5317.3529.46%269.22
196327M14M14M1.022.34%38.0711.405.5356.9753.1860.9617.3630.41%276.83
196428M14M14M1.012.31%36.5511.045.3357.4453.6861.3917.3831.37%284.16
196529M14M14M1.012.29%35.1210.665.1357.9754.2461.8817.4132.35%291.48
196629M15M15M1.012.29%33.8210.274.9458.5854.8862.4517.5233.35%298.90
196730M15M15M1.012.31%32.659.864.7759.2455.5863.0917.6034.97%305.96
196831M16M15M1.012.34%31.609.454.6259.9456.3163.7617.7036.85%313.14
196932M16M16M1.012.38%30.659.064.4760.6857.0664.4817.8238.76%320.31
197032M16M16M1.012.90%31.208.004.5362.1658.7065.8017.9840.70%327.38
197133M17M16M1.013.33%31.207.204.5462.6159.1066.3018.1342.26%333.90
197234M17M17M1.013.51%28.406.304.1263.0159.4066.8018.2843.69%340.23
197334M17M17M1.012.63%28.307.804.0763.4159.7067.3018.4445.13%346.30
197435M17M17M1.012.69%26.607.203.7763.8060.0067.8018.6546.58%352.28
197535M18M18M1.012.22%24.807.703.4364.1560.3068.2018.9248.03%358.25
197636M18M18M1.012.00%22.207.403.0064.5060.6068.6019.2849.72%364.02
197736M18M18M1.012.34%22.706.802.9964.9060.9069.1019.7551.48%369.74
197837M19M18M11.99%20.306.802.6465.2061.1069.5020.2453.23%375.40
197938M19M19M12.59%23.006.402.9065.5561.4069.9020.7054.98%381.14
198038M19M19M12.10%22.607.302.8266.0561.9070.4021.1156.72%387.12
198139M19M19M12.67%22.406.102.5766.5562.4070.9021.5658.41%393.21
198239M20M20M12.48%21.606.202.3967.1062.9071.5021.9760.06%399.33
198340M20M20M12.02%19.306.402.0667.5563.4071.9022.3861.69%405.26
198440M20M20M11.83%16.705.901.7468.2064.0072.6022.8363.30%410.30
198541M20M20M11.73%16.105.901.6668.8064.6073.2023.3364.88%414.36
198641M21M21M11.66%15.405.801.5869.4565.3073.8023.7766.68%418.50
198742M21M21M11.54%15.005.901.5370.0065.9074.3024.3068.56%422.64
198842M21M21M11.70%15.105.601.5570.5566.5074.8024.8770.39%426.80
198942M21M21M11.70%15.105.601.5671.0567.0075.3025.4372.15%431.04
199043M21M21M1.011.71%15.205.601.5771.6067.5075.9025.9573.84%435.31
199143M22M22M1.011.93%16.405.601.7172.0567.9076.4026.5274.97%439.64
199244M22M22M1.012.09%16.705.401.7672.5068.4076.8026.9975.82%444.23
199344M22M22M1.012.08%16.005.201.6573.0068.9077.3027.4076.65%448.77
199445M22M22M1.011.96%16.005.401.6673.4069.3077.7027.8377.45%453.31
199545M23M22M1.011.96%15.705.301.6373.7069.7077.9028.3278.24%457.89
199646M23M23M1.011.88%15.005.201.5774.1570.2078.3028.7278.66%462.27
199746M23M23M1.011.77%14.405.201.5274.6070.7078.7029.2178.91%466.63
199846M23M23M1.011.62%13.605.201.4575.0071.2079.0029.7779.15%470.01
199947M23M23M1.011.50%13.005.201.4175.4171.8079.2030.3379.38%473.36
200047M24M23M1.011.56%13.305.201.4775.9172.3079.7030.8779.62%477.34
200147M24M24M1.011.32%11.605.001.3076.4172.9080.1031.4879.94%481.01
200248M24M24M1.011.00%10.205.101.1776.7773.4080.3032.0680.30%483.80
200348M24M24M1.011.00%10.205.101.1877.2173.8080.8032.6380.65%486.32
200448M24M24M1.010.96%9.805.001.1577.6774.3081.2033.2081.00%488.25
200548M24M24M1.010.78%8.905.001.0878.1774.9081.6033.8081.35%489.28
200648M24M24M1.010.84%9.205.001.1278.6775.4082.1034.4581.53%491.86
200749M24M24M1.011.00%10.005.001.2579.1275.9082.5035.0981.63%494.35
200849M25M24M1.010.88%9.405.001.1979.5276.2083.0035.7281.73%498.12
200949M25M25M10.80%9.005.001.1579.9776.7083.4036.3481.84%500.69
201050M25M25M10.84%9.405.101.2380.1276.8083.6036.9681.94%503.19
201150M25M25M10.84%9.405.101.2480.5777.3084.0037.5081.92%507.07
201250M25M25M10.81%9.605.301.3080.8277.6084.2038.0781.85%509.75
201350M25M25M10.62%8.605.301.1981.2778.1084.6038.6681.78%512.07
201451M25M25M10.62%8.605.301.2181.7278.6085.0039.2481.71%515.30
201551M26M25M10.59%8.605.401.2482.0279.0085.2039.7881.63%518.02
201651M26M26M10.44%7.905.501.1782.2879.3085.4040.3481.56%520.08
201751M26M26M10.25%7.005.601.0582.6379.7085.7040.9181.50%521.55
201852M26M26M10.10%6.405.800.9882.6379.7085.7041.5181.46%524.03
201952M26M26M10.10%6.405.800.9882.6379.7085.7042.1281.43%525.07
202052M26M26M10.10%7.006.351.0883.0480.1286.1142.7381.41%525.25

South Korea Population Projections

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YearTotalMaleFemaleSex RatioGrowth rateBirth rateDeath rateFerti­lity rate
Life exp., total
Life expectancy
Life exp., maleLife exp., femaleMedian AgeUrbani­zation
Density, people / km2
Density, people/km2
202152M26M26M10.06%6.936.561.0883.1880.2786.2443.3581.41%525.36
202252M26M26M10.01%6.866.771.0883.3280.4186.3743.9181.43%525.39
202352M26M26M1-0.03%6.796.981.0883.4680.5686.5144.4381.46%525.35
202452M26M26M1-0.07%6.727.191.0883.6080.7086.6444.9681.50%525.22
202552M26M26M1-0.10%6.657.401.0883.7480.8586.7745.5281.56%525.01
202652M26M26M1-0.13%6.667.621.0983.8881.0086.9146.0481.63%524.71
202752M26M26M1-0.15%6.677.851.1084.0281.1487.0446.5681.71%524.32
202852M26M26M1-0.17%6.688.071.1184.1781.2987.1847.0981.81%523.83
202952M26M26M1-0.19%6.698.301.1284.3181.4387.3147.5981.92%523.29
203051M26M26M1-0.21%6.708.521.1384.4581.5887.4548.1082.05%522.67
203151M26M26M1-0.24%6.678.771.1584.5881.7287.5848.5782.19%521.94
203251M26M26M1-0.26%6.649.031.1784.7281.8587.7149.0782.34%521.09
203351M26M26M1-0.29%6.609.281.1884.8581.9987.8549.5482.51%520.08
203451M25M26M1-0.31%6.579.541.2084.9982.1287.9849.9882.68%518.88
203551M25M26M0.99-0.33%6.549.791.2285.1282.2688.1150.4282.87%517.46
203651M25M25M0.99-0.36%6.4810.091.2385.2582.3988.2450.7983.07%515.81
203751M25M25M0.99-0.38%6.4110.391.2585.3882.5288.3751.1683.29%513.90
203850M25M25M0.99-0.41%6.3510.681.2685.5182.6688.4951.5583.51%511.76
203950M25M25M0.99-0.43%6.2810.981.2885.6482.7988.6251.9783.74%509.37
204050M25M25M0.99-0.45%6.2211.281.2985.7782.9288.7552.3983.98%506.79
204150M25M25M0.99-0.46%6.2211.611.3085.9083.0588.8852.7484.23%504.02
204249M25M25M0.99-0.48%6.2211.951.3286.0383.1889.0153.0584.49%501.10
204349M24M25M0.99-0.49%6.2112.281.3386.1583.3189.1353.3384.75%498.03
204449M24M25M0.98-0.51%6.2112.621.3586.2883.4489.2653.6185.00%494.83
204548M24M24M0.98-0.52%6.2112.951.3686.4183.5789.3953.9285.25%491.52
204648M24M24M0.98-0.53%6.2113.291.3786.5383.7089.5154.2185.49%488.10
204748M24M24M0.98-0.54%6.2113.631.3886.6683.8289.6454.5385.74%484.59
204847M23M24M0.98-0.56%6.2013.961.3986.7883.9589.7654.8685.98%480.96
204947M23M24M0.98-0.57%6.2014.301.4086.9184.0789.8955.1786.21%477.23
205047M23M24M0.98-0.58%6.2014.641.4187.0384.2090.0155.4886.44%473.32

Highest City Populations in South Korea

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RankCityPopulation, Urban AreaPopulation, City
1Seoul9,963,2429,963,000
2Busan3,464,7583,465,000
3Incheon2,805,3632,628,000
4Daegu2,196,5762,199,000
5Daejon1,566,9691,475,221
6Gwangju1,522,72781,780
7Suwon1,316,3321,242,724
8Yongin1,088,090-
9Goyang1,072,6351,069,000
10Changwon1,055,515550,000
11Seongnam943,515944,000
12Ulsan910,000910,000
13Bucheon831,273832,000
14Ansan761,485650,728
15Cheongju717,969634,596
16Cheonan682,424365,114
17Jeonju663,000663,000
18Anyang567,031568,000
19Siheung440,485-
20Uijeongbu424,000424,000
21Gumi387,969291,006
22Pohang359,485359,000
23Gwangmyeong346,242-
24Jeju343,242343,000
25Gimhae314,242314,000

Map of South Korea

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