Economic statistics

The DPRK ceased publishing economic performance statistics (Net Material Product-NMP tables) in 1967.  Since then, the DPRK has released economic data only on rare occasions.  Aside from the lack of availability, there are numerous other problems with using the DPRK’s economic data to obtain credible insight into the North Korean economy.  As a result, governments, academic organizations, NGOs, think tanks, businesses and journalists compile estimates of North Korea’s economic performance through a variety of innovative techniques.

Below I list the most frequently cited sources of North Korean economic statistics.  Additional suggestions are welcome.

Quick References

1. Central Intelligence Agency World Fact Book (USA)

2. North Korean Statistics (Statistics Korea–in Korean only)

3. Information System for Resources of North Korea (I-RENK–in Korean only)

4. South Korean Ministry of Unification portal on North Korea

5. Department of State profile of North Korea (USA)

6. Bank of Korea (South Korea)
-DPRK Economy 2013: English PDF, Korean PDF (2013-6-27)
-DPRK Economy 2012: English PDF, Korean PDF (2012-7-12)
-DPRK Economy 2011: English PDF (2012-7-9)
-DPRK Economy 2010: English PDF (2011-11-3)
-DPRK Economy 2009: English PDF, Korean PDF (2010-6-28)
-DPRK economy 2008 (published 2009-6-28)
-DPRK economy 2007 (published 2008-6-18)
-DPRK economy 2006 (published 2007-8-16)
-DPRK Economy 2002
-DPRK Economy 2001
-DPRK economy 1999

7. Ministry of Unification (South Korea)
-MoU DPRK Information Portal (Korean only)
-English web page
-North Korea Factbook
-Leadership structure
-Weekly Reports
-Data and Statistics

8. Korea Economic Institute
-DPRK economic data visualization project
-DPRK economy through 2008
-DPRK economy through 2007
-DPRK economy through 2006

9. National Committee on North Korea (US)
-US food assistance (2008)

10. Visit Angus Maddison‘s web page for table of GDP/per capita GDP over time. His data is in an excel spreadsheet called “Statistics on World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2006 AD “.

11. US Treasury Department information on North Korea. US Commerce Department’s  Bureau of Industry and Security and Consolidated Screening List. UNSC Panel of Experts list of sanctioned individuals and organizations (English) (Korean). UK likst of sanctioned individuals and organizations (PDF)

12. Country Data Report for Korea, North, 1996-2009 (World Bank)

13. International Energy Agency (IEA) data on the DPRK. To access the data, go to the “Countries Beyond the OECD” box and select “Korea, Democratic Peoples Republic of”.


1. DPRK Economic Report: US Congressional Research Service (8/26/2008). Other CRS reports on North Korea are here.

2. North Korea 2007: Assisting Development and Change – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.

3. Assessing the Economic Performance of North Korea, 1954–1989: Byung-Yeon Kim, Suk Jin Kim, Keun Lee

4. Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (link)
-North Korea Development Report 2003/04 (Summary)
-North Korea Development Report 2002/03 (Summary)

5. An Analysis of the Effect of North Korea’s International and Inter-Korean Trade on Its Economic Growth by Yong-Hoon Lee, Bank of Korea (9/5/2005)

6. Angus Maddison: The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective and The World Economy: Historical Statistics.

7. Nautilus Institute:
-Foundations of Energy Security for the DPRK: 1990-2009
-2010 DPRK energy and minerals working group: von Hippel, Yoon, Aden, Choi, Hayes/Hippel
-Status and Future of the North Korean Minerals Sector, Edward Yoon
-Trade with China 1995-2009 (June 2011).  August 2006 version here.
-DPRK Briefing Book
-Strategies for the Rehabilitation of the DPRK Energy Sector

8. Regional Surveys of the World: East Asia and Australia.
-DPRK chapter (2006).
-DPRK chapter (2003).

9. The (Non) Impact of UN Sanctions on North Korea (PDF) by Marcus Noland

10. The North Korean Economy by Nicholas Eberstadt

11.  Famine in North Korea by Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard.

12. US Geological Surveys of North Korea: 2011, 201020092008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994.

13. DPRK Economic Statistics Project (March 2009)

14. The US Treasury Department (OFAC) enforces a number of sanctions and trade restrictions with North Korea.  Here is a summary of those actions in PDF.

15. Guidebook for European Investors in the DPRK by the EU-Korea Economic Cooperation Agency

16. North Korea Inc., John S. Park, US Institute of Peace

17. Criminal Sovereignty: Understanding North Korea’s Illicit International Activities, Strategic Studies Institute

18. Coming in from the Cold? An Update on North Korea’s External Economic Relations, Institut Francais des Relations Internationales (IFRI)

19. Role of International Financial Institutions in North Korea’s Economic Development, Samsung Economic Research Institute, November 2009

20. North Korea: Migration Patterns and Prospects, Courtland Robinson, JHU

21. “Western Aid: The Missing Link for North Korea’s Economic Revival?”AEI Working Paper, Nicholas Eberstadt

22. Chinese Infrastructure and Natural Resources Investments in North Korea, Daniel Gearin, October 10, 2010

23. “Integration in the Absence of Institutions: China-North Korea Cross-Border Exchange” and “Networks, Trust, and Trade: The Microeconomics of China-North Korea Integration” by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland.

24. Korea Development Institute (KDI) published a monthly article in Korean called “KDI Review of the North Korean Economy” (KDI 북한경제리뷰). See publications here (in Korean).

25. Financial Tracking Service (Learn about FTS here)

26. Economic Issues: Perspectives on North Korea

27. North Korea’s Per Capita GDP and Comparison with South Korea by Kim Cheon-koo

United Nations Documents

– Panel of Experts reports to the UNSC:
Report 4: March 2014
Report 3: June 2013
Report 2: June 2012 (see more herehere, and here)
Report 1: November 2010 (draftsee here also)

– UN Food security assessment: November 2013

Previous reports: November 2012November 2011March 2011, November 2010, December 2008November 2004October 2003

– UNFPA 2008 census of DPRK (Results summary).  UNFPA 2008 DPRK census (Full report).

-WFP’s operation Nutrition Support to Women and Children in DPR Korea: December 2013
Previous reports: Performance report (July 1, 2012 – June 31, 2013)June 2013March 2013.

– UNFAO data. UNFAO North Korea Page.

– Sanctioned individuals and organizations (in Korean) (2014-7-30)

Older reports

Final Report of the National Nutrition Survey 2012 (October 2012)

– UNDP Economic Outlook of the Northeast Asia Region, Tumen secretariat (Part 1Part 2), 2009

– DPRK Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2009

– DPR Korea State of the Environment: 2003 (PDF).

– DPRK Korea’s Rajin-Songbon Economic and Trade Zone Investment and Business Guide, UNDP, 1998

Other UN sites

– DPRK country page at WIPO


Data and databases

1. US Census Bureau:
-US-DPRK Trade 1992-20013, also see here.
-U.S. Imports from DPRK-End Use Code (2003-2009)
-U.S. Exports to DPRK-End Use Code (2003-2009)
-Population forecast 1994-2020.

2. UN Statistics division: North Korea

3. UN Comtrade database (merchandise trade data)

4. PR China trade database

5. South Korean Statistical Information Service.

6. World Trade Search.