Area: 122,370 sq.km.; the larger part of the Korean peninsula, but climate more rigorous than in the south.
Population: 24,039,193 in 2000; 26,451,118 in 2010; 29,387,635 in 2025
Capital: Pyongyang (3,450,000)
Heavily industrialized, this centralized socialist economy is in freefall due to the heavy costs of militarization, attempts to become a nuclear power and the ending of aid from China and the former USSR. Huge black market. Increasingly severe famine has gripped the country for years, with no end in sight.
Occupied by Japan 1910-45. On Russian insistence, Korea was partitioned after World War II. A Communist regime was installed in 1948. North Korea invaded the South in 1950 and war dragged on until 1953.
The large North Korean armed forces continue to threaten a second invasion. The fortified border between the Koreas is one of the most impenetrable in the world. One of the most repressive regimes in the world, completely dedicated to cultivating their interpretation of Stalinist ideology. Hope for reunification of the Koreas ebbs and flows with political developments – spirits are higher since the 2000 summit.
Non-Religious: 15,460,000 adherents (64.31% of population)
Traditional ethnic: 3,846,000 adherents (16% of population)
Chondogyo: 3,245,000 adherents (13.50% of population)
Buddhist: 1,082,000 adherents (4.50% of population)
Christian: 406,000 adherents (1.69% of population)
Churches: Secret believers (280,000 members)
Catholic Association (27,972 members)
Korean Christian Fed (12,000 members)