Republic of Korea


Republic of Korea
This map is an approximation of actual country borders.

The population of the Republic of Korea, as of 2010, was 48 874 530, with a population density of 489 persons per square kilometre. The Republic saw its population grow by an annual rate of 3% during the 1960s, but growth slowed to 2% over the next decade. In 2010, the rate stood at 0.26% and it is expected to decline further, to 0.02%, by 2020.

A notable trend in the population structure is that it is getting increasingly older. In 2010, it was estimated that 12.9% of the total population was 65 years or older, while those aged 15 to 64 years of age accounted for 70.9%. In the 1960s, the country's population distribution formed a pyramid shape, with a high fertility rate and relatively short life expectancy. However, age-group distribution is now shaped more like a bell because of the low fertility rate and extended life expectancy. Youths (15 and younger) will make up a decreasing portion of the total by 2020, while senior citizens (65 and older) will account for some 15.6% of the total.

In recent years, a low fertility rate has emerged as a serious social challenge. The total fertility rate dropped from 4.53 in the 1970s to 1.22 in 2010, among the lowest in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD). The Government is working to tackle the issue by establishing comprehensive plans to create family-friendly workplace environments and to bolster child care policies.

The Republic of Korea joined WHO on 17 August 1949. It was covered by the WHO Representative Office in Taipei, China (Taiwan) from 1959 to 1 January 1965, when the WHO Representative Office in Seoul, Republic of Korea was established.

The WHO Country Liaison Office was established in 1962, became a Representative Office in 1965, and changed back to a Country Liaison Office in 1999. Since 17 January 2004, the Office has been maintained by an administrative assistant, and all major communications have been handled by the Western Pacific Regional Office under the Office of the Director, Programme Management.

All communications about the WHO programme of collaboration with Republic of Korea should be directed to Director, Programme Management, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.

WHO Country Office

Office address:

Director, Programme Management
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific
United Nations Avenue P.O. Box 2932, 1000 Manila, the Philippines

Telephone number:

(632) 5288 001
(632) 3031 000

Fax number:

(632) 5260 279

Office hours:




Ministry of Health and Welfare


Hyundai Bldg., 75 Yulgong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Telephone number:
(822) 2023-7223 to 7233

Fax number:

(822) 2023-7234



Additional information

Maternal & Infant Mortality Survey Report in 2007-2008, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea



Population (in thousands) ( 2010 ) 48874.5
Population aged 5-14 years (%) ( 2010 ) 11.67
Life expectancy at birth (years) ( 2009 ) 80.55
Under-five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) ( 2009 ) 4.47
Total health expenditure as % of GDP ( 2009 ) 6.92
General government health expenditure as % of total government expenditure ( 2009 ) 12.17
Human development index ( 2010 ) 0.877
Per capita GDP at current market prices (US$) ( 2009 ) 17086.3
Population below national poverty line (%) not available
Literacy rate among adults aged >= 15 years (%) ( 2001 ) 97.9
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) ( 2008 ) 12.4
Proportion of the population using improved drinking water source ( 2008 ) 98
Population using improved sanitation facilities (%) ( 2008 ) 100