Facts & Figures
President: Moon Jae-in (2017)
Prime Minister: Lee Nak-yeon (2017)
Land area: 37,421 sq mi (96,920 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 49,039,986 (growth rate: 0.16%); birth rate: 8.26/1000; infant mortality rate: 3.93/1000; life expectancy: 79.8
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Seoul, 9.736 million
Other large cities: Busan (Pusan) 3.372 million; Incheon (Inch'on) 2.622 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.447 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.538 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.503 million (2011).
Monetary unit: won
National name: Taehan Min'guk
Languages: Korean, English widely taught
Ethnicity/race: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions: Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24%, Roman Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3% (2010 survey)
National Holiday: Liberation Day, August 15
Literacy rate: 98% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $1.666 trillion; per capita $33,200. Real growth rate: 2.8%. Inflation: 1.1%. Unemployment: 3.2%. Arable land: 14.93%. Agriculture: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish. Labor force: 25.86 million; agriculture 6.9%, industry 23.6%, services 69.4%. Industries: electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel. Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential. Exports: $557.3 billion (2013 est.): semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals. Imports: $516.6 billion (2013 est.): machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics. Major trading partners: China, U.S., Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar (2012).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 30.1 million (2012); mobile cellular: 53.625 million (2012). Broadcast media: multiple national TV networks with 2 of the 3 largest networks publicly operated; the largest privately-owned network, Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), has ties with other commercial TV networks; cable and satellite TV subscription services available; publicly-operated radio broadcast networks and many privately-owned radio broadcasting networks, each with multiple affiliates, and independent local stations (2010). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 315,697 (2012). Internet users: 39.4 million (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 3,381 km (2008). Highways: total: 104,983 km; paved: 83,199 km (including 3,779 km of expressways); unpaved: 21,784 km (2009 est). Waterways: 1,600 km; use restricted to small native craft. Ports and harbors: Incheon, Pohang, Busan, Ulsan, Yeosu. Airports: 111 (2013).
International disputes: Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limit Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundary; South Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954.