Koreans are primarily one ethnic family and speak one language. Sharing distinct physical characteristics, they are believed to be descendants of several Mongol tribes that migrated onto the Korean Peninsula from Central Asia
As of the end of 2005, Korea's total population was estimated at 48,294,000 with a density of 474 people per square kilometer. The population of North Korea is estimated to be 22,928,040.
Korea saw its population grow by an annual rate of 3 percent during the 1960s, but growth slowed to 2 percent over the next decade. In 2005, the rate stood at 0.44 percent and is expected to further decline to 0.01 percent by 2020.
A notable trend in Korea's demographics is that it is growing older with each passing year. Statistics show that 6.9 percent of the total population of Korea was 65 years or older in 1999, and 9.1 percent was in 2005.
In the 1960s, Korea's population distribution formed a pyramid shape, with a high birth rate and relatively short life expectancy. However, age-group distribution is now shaped more like a bell because of the low birth rate and extended life expectancy. Youths (15 and younger) will make up a decreasing portion of the total, while senior citizens (65 and older) will account for some 15.7 percent of the total by the year 2020.
The nation's rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in the 1960s and 1970s has been accompanied by continuing migration of rural residents into the cities, particularly Seoul, resulting in heavily populated metropolitan areas. However, in recent years, an increasing number of Seoulites have begun moving to suburban areas.
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 82% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. The capital city, Seoul, had a population of 9,935,000 in that year. Other large urban areas were Pusan, 4,239,000; Taegu, 2,559,000; Inch'on, 2,837,000; Kwangju, 1,665,000; Taejon, 1,431,000; Pun'chon, 1,264,000; Suwon, 1,268,000; and Ulsan, 967,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000– 2005 was 1.4%.
48,846,823 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure :
0-14 years : 18.9% (male 4,844,083/female 4,368,139)
15-64 years : 71.9% (male 17,886,148/female 17,250,862)
65 years and over : 9.2% (male 1,818,677/female 2,678,914) (2006 est.)
Median age :
total : 35.2 years
male : 34.2 years
female : 36.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate :
0.42% (2006 est.)
Birth rate :
10 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate :
5.85 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate :
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
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