North Korea Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Official name of the state, composition of the government

North Korea Basic Information

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Ceremonial Head of State (President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly): Choe Ryong Hae

Prime Minister: Kim Jae Ryong

Vice Prime Ministers: Im Chol Ung, Ri Ju O, Ri Yong Nam, Ko In Ho, Tong Jong Ho, Kim Il Chol, Jon Kwang Ho, Yang Sung Ho

Government Office Minister/Chairman of State Commission/President
Ministry of Armed Forces Kim Jong Gwan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ri Son Gwon
Ministry of State Security Jong Kyong Taek
Ministry of Public Security Kim Jong-ho
State Planning Commission Kim Il Chol
Ministry of Coal Industry Jon Hak Chol
Ministry of Energy Kim Man Soo
Ministry of Nuclear Energy Wang Chang Uk
Ministry of Mining Industry Ryom Chol Su
Ministry of Metallurgical Industry Yo Yong Chol
Ministry of Petroleum Industry Ko Gil Son
Ministry of Engineering Industry Kim Jong Nam
Ministry of Electrical Industry Kim Jae Song
Ministry of Construction and Building Materials Then Hun
Ministry of Railway Transport Jang Hyuk
Ministry of Land and Maritime Transport Kang Jong Gwan
Department of Agriculture Ko In Ho
Ministry of Chemical Industry Kwon Song Ho
Ministry of Light Industry Ri Song Hak
Ministry of External Economic Relations Kim Yong Jae
Ministry of Forestry Han Ryong Guk
Ministry of Fisheries Song Chun Sop
Ministry of Urban Management Kang Yong-soo
Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection Kim Kyong Jun
Ministry of State Building Control Kwon Song Ho
Department of Commerce Kim Kyong Nam
Ministry of Food Supply and Administration Moon Ung Jo
Ministry of Consumer Goods Industry Ri Kang Sun
Ministry of Natural Resources Development Kim Chol Soo
Ministry of (General) Education Kim Sung Doo
Ministry of Higher Education Choe Sang Gon
Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Kim Kwang Chol
Ministry of Finance Ki Kwang Ho
Ministry of Culture Jon Myong Sik
Department of Labor Yun Kang Ho
Ministry of Public Health About Chun Bok
Ministry of Physical Education Kim Il Guk
Ministry of Regional Industry Yo Yong Chol

Demographic trends: Population, average annual increase, demographic composition (including nationalities, religious groups)

Population: 25.132 million (2018, National Bank of Korea estimate), 25.550 million (2018, WB estimate), 211 inhabitants/km 2

Average annual population growth: 0.5% (2018 est.)

Demographic composition: (est. 2016)

  • 0-14 years 20.97% (2,678,638 males / 2,588,744 females)
  • 15-24 years 15.88% (2,009,360 men / 1,977,942 women)
  • 25-54 years 44.22% (5,567,682 men / 5,537,077 women)
  • 55-64 years 9.19% (1,090,739 men / 1,218,406 women)
  • 65 years and over 9.74% (840,003 men / 1,606,720 women)

Nationality composition:

The national composition is extremely homogeneous. Apart from Koreans, only negligible communities of Chinese and ethnic Japanese are present.

Religious composition:

As a result of the socio-political conditions, the population is significantly atheistic, the Buddhist and Confucian traditions survive marginally in the country, as well as a small community of Christians and the church of the “divine path” (Chondogyo); all religious activities are under state control; there are government sponsored religious groups to create the illusion of religious freedom.

Basic macroeconomic indicators for the last 5 years (nominal GDP/cap., development of GDP volume, inflation rate, unemployment rate). Expected development in the territory with an emphasis on the economic sphere.

The DPRK does not publish any macroeconomic statistics. Data without informative value are rarely published, especially the percentage growth of some sectors of the economy, but without absolute values ​​or other comparable bases. Moreover, it is likely that even this data is manipulated. Check recipesinthebox for North Korea defense and foreign policy.

Foreign sources (especially the Bank of Korea) publish estimates, but they often differ significantly. So, for example, the BoK states that the GDP of the DPRK fell by and 4.1% in 2017 and 2018, but other sources, on the contrary, state that the GDP grew during this period. The UN reports that in 2019 the GDP of the DPRK grew by 1.8%, while in the previous two years the BoK also reports a decrease in GDP. According to various estimates, the GDP in absolute terms is around USD 30 billion.

Nominal GDP per capita was estimated by Bloomberg at 1,300 USD in 2016. In the PPP statement, the CIA puts the value at $1,700 for 2015.

Unemployment – The World Bank reports a value of 4.1% for 2014. The amount of inflation is not stated anywhere.

Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
GDP growth (%) -1.2 3.1 -0.9 -0.5 0.8 1.3 1.1 1.0 -1.1 3.9 -3.5 -4.1

Source: Bank of Korea

Development of GDP in the DPRK by sector (estimated year-on-year GDP change in %)
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Agriculture, forestry and fishing -1.0 -2.1 5.3 3.9 1.9 1.2 -0.8 2.5 -1.3
Mining and production -2.3 -0.3 -1.4 1.3 1.5 1.1 -3.1 6.2 -8.5
-extraction -0.9 -0.2 0.9 0.8 2.1 1.6 -2.6 8.4 -11.0
-production -3.0 -0.3 -3.0 1.6 1.1 0.8 -3.4 4.8 -6.9
-light industry -2.1 -1.4 -0.1 4.7 1.4 1.5 -0.8 1.1 0.1
-heavy industry -3.5 0.1 -4.2 0.2 1.0 0.5 -4.6 6,7 -10.4
Electricity, gas and water 0.0 -0.8 -4.7 1.6 2.3 -2.8 -12.7 22.3 -2.9
Construction industry 0.8 0.3 3.9 -1.6 -1.0 1.4 4.8 1.2 -4.4
Services 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.3 1.3 0.8 0.6 0.5
-government sector 0.5 0.2 0.1 -0.2 0.3 1.6 0.8 0.6 0.8
-other -0.8 -0.3 0.6 0.8 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 -0.3
GDP growth -0.9 -0.5 0.8 1.3 1.1 1.0 -1.1 3.9 -3.5

Source: Bank of Korea

The share of individual sectors in the total nominal GDP of the DPRK
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
agriculture, forestry and fishing 23.4 22.4 21.4 21.6 21.7 22.8
mining and manufacturing 35.9 35.7 34.4 32.7 33.2 31.8
-extraction 14.0 13.6 13.1 12.2 12.6 11.7
-production 21.9 22.1 21.3 20.4 20.6 20.1
-light industry 6,7 6.8 6.9 7.0 6.9 6.8
-heavy industry 15.2 15.4 14.4 13.4 13.7 13.3
electricity, gas and water 3.5 4.1 4.3 4.5 5.2 5.0
construction industry 7,8 7,8 8.2 9.0 8.8 8.6
services 29.4 30.0 31.3 32.2 31.1 31.7
-government sector 21.3 21.7 22.7 23.3 22.4 23.2
-other 8.2 8.4 8.6 8,9 8.7 8.4
GDP 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Bank of Korea

On the one hand, the leadership of the DPRK is probably clear that without structural reforms of the economy and massive foreign investments, even in spite of the permanent validity of the main pillar of the official ideology – the Juche policy (self-sufficiency, reliance on one’s own forces and resources), there cannot be a fundamental improvement in the economic situation. On the other hand, he cannot in any case publicly (in front of his home audience) admit this fact. Nevertheless, the current leadership is apparently beginning to realize the need for greater emphasis on economic development. This is evidenced by a certain shift from the policy of songun (prioritization of the military), promoted by Kim Jong-il, to the policy of byeongjin (simultaneous development of military capabilities and the economy) of the new leader, Kim Jong-un. Check equzhou to learn more about North Korea political system.