South Korea Country Facts

South Korea occupies the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The only national border is with its northern neighbor, North Korea. South Korea borders the Yellow Sea to the west, East China to the south, and the Japanese Sea to the east.

Near the west coast and in the southeast, the landscape is flat, but is almost everywhere with hills. Most of the population of South Korea also lives here. The rest of the country is mountainous, except for a narrow strip on the east coast and in small valley bottoms, there are no lowlands. The mountains and hills of the plains are mostly forested.

In South Korea, nature is closely linked to culture. One example is Soraksan, a picturesque mountain range with rugged rocks in the northeast of South Korea. Here, paved paths lead through the Sorak Mountains past Buddhist temples through beautiful mountain forests with magnolias. In Seoul, the capital of South Korea, the royal palace and the imposing east gate are located between the concrete castles of the megacity.

In South Korea, people live tightly packed. The country has a very high population density. An average of 494 people live in one square kilometer. The population of South Korea is 48.6 million. Over 80 percent of the population live in cities. The population increases about 0.25 percent per year.

The above-average life expectancy of South Koreans is 72 years for men and around 79.5 years for women. The average age is also quite high. Due to the low birth rates, South Korea is aging. Male descendants are preferred here, as in numerous Asian cultures. Although the picture is changing slowly, men still definitely have more influence. The proportion of men in the total population is also above average.

South Korea Country Facts

Area: 99,720 km² (land: 96,920 km², water: 2,800 km²)

Population: 48.8 million people (July 2011, COUNTRYAAH.COM). With the exception of 20,000 Chinese, only Koreans.

Population density: 489 people per sq. Km

Population growth: 0.23% per year (2011, CIA).

Capital: Seoul (10.4 million inhabitants, 2006)

Highest point: Halla-san, 1,950 m

Lowest point: Japanese Sea, 0 m

Form of government: South Korea has been a presidential republic since 1948, the constitution dates from the same year. The National Assembly ( Kuk Hoe ) is made up of 299 members. The head of state is directly elected every 5 years. In 1991 South and North Korea agreed a non-aggression pact in Seoul, and since 2000 there has been a rapprochement policy between the two countries. South Korea has been independent of Japan since August 15, 1945.

Administrative division: 9 provinces (do) ​​Cheju-do, Cholla-bukto (North Cholla), Cholla-namdo (South Cholla), Ch’ungch’ong-bukto (North Ch’ungch’ong), Ch’ungch’ong-namdo (South Ch’ungch’ong), Kangwon-do, Kyonggi-do, Kyongsang-bukto (North Kyongsang) and Kyongsang-namdo (South Kyongsang).
7 independent cities (gwangyoksi): Inch’on-gwangyoksi (Inch’on), Kwangju-gwangyoksi (Kwangju), Pusan-gwangyoksi (Pusan), Taegu-gwangyoksi (Taegu), Taejon-gwangyoksi (Taejonang) and Ulsan Ulsan)
a special city (teukbyeolsi): Soul-t’ukpyolsi (Seoul)

Head of government: Prime Minister Chung Hong Won, since 26 February 2013

Head of state: President Park Geun Hye, since February 25, 2013

Language: Korean, English is taught at schools. English and Japanese are common in business circles.

Religion: no religion 49.3%, Christians 26.3% (Protestants 19.7%, Catholics 6.6%), Buddhists 23.2%, others or unknown 1.3% (1995 census).

Local time: CET + 8 h.
In South Korea there is no changeover between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is +8 h in winter and +7 h in summer.

International dialing code: +82


Mains voltage: 220 V, 60 Hz. Two-pin plugs are used in South Korea.


The East Asian Republic of Korea is generally called South Korea in the German-speaking region. It covers the south of the Korean peninsula and the offshore islands and has only one, 243 km long land border: to the northern neighbor of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( North Korea ). Both states were founded in the Cold War in 1948, and the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 solidified the division until today.

Of the 98,489 sq km of land, only 290 sq km are covered by water; there are no larger lakes in South Korea.

There is sea access in the west to the Yellow Sea, in the south to the East China Sea and in the east to the Japanese Sea, the coastline is 2,413 km long.

Above all, the southern coast, richly structured by bays and peninsulas, is preceded by numerous medium-sized and partly uninhabited islands. Among other things, the largest island with 1,845.6 sq km is located about 150 km in the south of the south-west coast: Jejudo. The highest mountain in South Korea, the 1,950 m high Hallasan, rises on Jejudo.

On the western coast of South Korea is the world’s second largest Wadden Sea, the Saemangeum. Only a few rocks or small islands rise from the sea off the often steep and low-bay east coast.

Most of South Korea (about 70%) is covered by forested mountains. The mountains have a steep relief, but do not reach the 2,000 meter mark. The highest peaks on the South Korean mainland are the 1,915 m high Jirisan in the south and the 1,708 m high Seoraksan in the northeast.

There are five major mountains in South Korea, the largest of which is the Taebaek. It stretches from the southeast of North Korea and runs along the east coast of South Korea. The second largest mountain range branches off from Taebaek to south-west and runs through central South Korea. The other mountains are Gwangju, Noryang and Charyeong. The most important watershed in South Korea is called Baekdudaegan and runs from North Korea via the Seoraksan to the Jirisan.

About a third of the country consists of fertile plains with hills, where the majority of the population lives. Except for a narrow strip on the eastern coast of a few smaller valley bottoms, there are no lowlands in South Korea.

There are four major rivers in South Korea. The longest river at 525 km Nakdonggang rises in Taebaeksan and, in contrast to most South Korean rivers, flows south to the Japanese Sea. Most rivers have their sources in the eastern mountains and flow west or south into the Yellow Sea. The second longest river in the country is the 514 km long Hangang, which also originates in Taebaeksan. The route is 401 km long, the Seomjingang 212 km.

Population in South Korea

This map of the population distribution in South Korea was created by the Worldmapper team. Densely populated areas appear bloated, the area of ​​sparsely populated areas is reduced. The shape of the grid has been preserved; an underlying map with the original geographical extent helps interpret the map. The distorted map should help to present abstract statistical information clearly.

South Korea Population by Year (Historical)