North Korea Population and Language

By | July 30, 2020

The population is almost exclusively Koreans, descended from original Mongolian peoples on the peninsula. There is a small Chinese minority. The residents are concentrated in the coastal areas and the plains in the southwest. North Korea is far less populated than South Korea, which has twice the population.

North Korea Population Pyramid 2020

  • COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of North Korea, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.



Koreans, small minority Chinese

North Korea Population and Language


Korean (different from Korean in South Korea)



Russia and China propose sanctions relief

December 18

China and Russia put forward a proposal for a resolution in the UN Security Council to ease sanctions against North Korea. The relief should be made in response to the fact that since 2018, North Korea has not conducted nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. The resolution emphasizes the importance of being accommodative when it comes to easing sanctions for humanitarian reasons and to facilitating living conditions for the population, including, among other things, lifting the export ban on fish and textiles as well as the requirement for North Korean workers to be sent home by December 22 this year.

“Very important test”

December 8

According to the state news agency KCNA, a very important test was carried out at the launch site for satellites. The test will have significance for the country’s strategic position according to a spokesman for the regime. According to analysts, it may be a ground-based test of an engine for an intercontinental ballistic robot or for satellite launch. Recently, Pyongyang has also announced that it is no longer keeping the door open for further talks with the United States on the nuclear weapons program.

Security Council members condemn North Korea’s robot test

December 4th

The six European members of the UN Security Council – France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Estonia – jointly condemn North Korea’s launches of ballistic robots and stressed the importance of maintaining sanctions on the country. Since May, the country has conducted 13 robotic tests in violation of Security Council resolutions. North Korea’s latest test took place on November 28.


Tourism facility financed from South Korea is destroyed

October 23

Kim Jong-Un has ordered the destruction of a tourist resort on Mount Kumgang. The facility was built and funded by South Korean company Hyundai Asan and was a popular destination for South Korean tourists until 2008, when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier when she entered military territory. Together with the industrial zone Kaesong, which is now closed, the tourist facility was one of the main cooperation projects between North and South Korea. The announcement that the facility will be destroyed comes just a day after South Korean President Moon, in a speech in connection with a budget debate in Parliament, highlighted inter-Korean projects and the creation of a “peace economy” as crucial to North Korea’s future.

Robot tests must have been carried out from a submarine

October 8

According to Pyongyang, a robot test was done from a submarine for the first time. The test is conducted only a few days before talks are to be held with the United States on the North Korean nuclear weapons program. According to analysts, North Korea often allows diplomatic initiatives to be followed by various forms of military action.

“Nuclear weapons talks with US aborted”

October 5

The North Korean Embassy in Stockholm, where negotiators from the US and North Korea met for nuclear talks, states that North Korea left the talks because the counterpart “did not bring anything to the negotiating table” but held on to previous positions. On the American side, however, it is said that there have been “good discussions”.


Constitutional change strengthens Kim Jong-Un’s position

August 30th

The Supreme People’s Assembly approves a series of constitutional amendments that further consolidate Kim Jong-Un’s official position in North Korea. A new section of the constitution gives the chairman of the country’s top governing body, the State Business Commission – the post tailored to Kim Jong-Un 2016 – statutory control over state affairs. The President of the Commission now becomes, “the supreme leader of the party, state and military forces in accordance with the unanimous will and desire of the Korean people,” as the chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly puts it.

New tests of short-range robots

August 16th

North Korea once again tests two short-range robots that travel about 20 miles before falling into the Japanese sea. This is the sixth time in a couple of weeks that North Korea is conducting robot tests in protest against the joint US-South Korea military exercises that began in early August. At the same time, North Korea’s peaceful reunification committee rejects South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s attempt to establish new talks between the Korean states on reunification.

Robot testing after military exercises begins in South Korea

August 6th

Just one day after the US and South Korea began annual military exercises, North Korea fires two short-range robots. The test shoots are again done in protest against the military exercises in the neighboring country. In the past, however, North Korea has avoided testing in the course of military exercises.


Short-range robots are tested

July 25

North Korea is testing two short-range robots, out over the sea from the east coast. The test could complicate efforts to speed up negotiations between the United States and North Korea on the North Korean nuclear weapons. It is also perceived as an expression of irritation that the US and South Korea plan to continue joint military exercises (see May 4 and May 9, 2019).


Trump is visiting North Korea

June 30th

Following a G20 summit in Japan, US President Donald Trump makes a planned visit to South Korea. In connection with that, there will also be a seemingly improvised meeting with Kim Jong-Un in the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea. When Trump, along with Kim, crosses the border, he becomes the first sitting President of the United States to enter North Korean soil. The event is getting a lot of attention in North Korean media.

Chinese President visits Kim Jong-Un

June 20

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Kim Jong-Un during a brief visit to Pyongyang. It is the first Chinese state visit to North Korea in 14 years. For its part, Kim Jong-Un has already been to China four times since last year. Assessors believe that the visit is a way for China to show to the outside world and not least the United States, which Beijing has influence over Pyongyang and to reach a solution to the nuclear conflict. For its part, North Korea wants to signal China’s support.


Extreme drought and great food shortages

15th of May

State media reports that the amount of rain and snow that has fallen in 2019 is lower than in almost four decades. Not since 1982 has the country received so little rainfall – just over 54 millimeters between January and May. In April, the United Nations Food Program, WFP, together with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), warned that over 10 million North Koreans needed emergency food assistance after last year’s harvest was the lowest since 2008.

The United States seizes North Korean cargo ship

May 9

The United States disposes of a North Korean cargo ship that has violated UN sanctions on North Korea that prohibits the sale of coal to the outside world. The vessel was first seized in Indonesia in the spring of 2018. The Indonesian authorities have now handed over the vessel to the United States.

More robot tests

May 9

North Korea is testing another two short-range robots – the second test in the course of a week. The trial shootings are perceived by analysts as attempts by North Korea to push to speed up the stranded negotiations with the United States. So far, North Korea is only testing short-range robots, which above all, can be seen as a threat to South Korea. Last year, Kim Jong-Un promised that North Korea would not do any long-range missile testing and nuclear weapons tests. But the promise only applies to the turn of the year.

North Korea fires short-range robots

May 4th

For the first time since autumn 2017, North Korea is conducting a number of tests on short-range robots. It is perceived by observers as a way for Pyongyang to try to push for the US to push forward on nuclear disarmament and peace in the Korean Peninsula and, not least, ease sanctions on North Korea. Since these are short-range robots, the launch does not violate the promises Kim Jong-Un made since the diplomatic talks with South Korea and the United States began not to test nuclear weapons or long-range robots.


Remodeling in the conductor layer

April 11

North Korea’s parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, re-elected Kim Jong-Un as chair of the country’s top decision-making body, the state affairs commission. It is this record that confirms that he is the country’s highest leader. At the same time, the country’s formal head of state since the late 1990s, 91-year-old Kim Yong-Nam, has been replaced by top politician and military officer Choe Ryong-Hae. Also at the Prime Minister’s post there is a shift where Pak Pong-Ju is replaced by Kim Jae-Ryong. The newly elected head of state Choe uses a new title for Kim Jong-Un at the meeting as “the highest representative of the entire Korean people”.


North Korea holds elections

March 10

In the election to the Supreme People’s Assembly, which takes place every five years, 99.99 percent of voters participate. 687 members are appointed to the new assembly and each ballot contains only one candidate’s name. Unlike the 2014 election, when Kim Jong-Un himself was one of the candidates for the Mount Paektu constituency, the North Korean leader does not stand this time. On the other hand, his younger sister and adviser Kim Yo-Jong, who has already appeared in several international contexts, is elected to the National Assembly.

Secret group exclaims North Korean exile government

March 1st

An organization that calls itself the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) declares that it is a provisional exile government for North Korea. The organization became famous in 2017 in connection with the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother Kim Jong-Nam in Malaysia in February 2017. A video was then released with Kim Han-Sol, the son of Kim Jong-Nam. At the same time, the group declared that it would guarantee Kim Han-Sol’s safety. According to some rumors, it is South Korea’s intelligence service that is in fact behind the group.


Summit without agreements with the United States

February 28

The second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un on North Korea’s nuclear weapons does not lead to any new agreements between the countries. The meeting held in Hanoi in Vietnam ends abruptly. The first meeting between the two leaders took place in Singapore in June 2018.