DPRK lifespans lag RoK’s

According to Yonhap:

North Koreans are expected to live 11 years less than the average South Korean due mainly to malnutrition that adversely affects births and causes more people to die earlier than normal, a government report showed Monday.

The Statistics Korea report, based on data released by the United Nations and Pyongyang, showed the life expectancy for an average North Korean at 69 years, lower than numbers reached in the communist country in the early 1990s before it was hit by devastating famine.

The life expectancy for men reached 64.9 while that for women was 71.7 years. This is 11.3 years and 11.2 years less than this year’s life expectancy of South Korean men and women, respectively.

“Generally, the population has not fully recovered from the famine and hardship, although conditions have improved in the past few years,” a statistics official said.

He said estimates revealed that there may have been a “population loss” of around 610,000 for a decade after the mid-1990s, caused by a higher number of deaths and people shying away from having babies.

The official said up to 480,000 more people may have died compared to what was normal during the 1994-2005 “slow-motion famine” period when the country could not properly feed its people.

Newborn baby numbers fell by an estimated 130,000 vis-a-vis natural increase rates in the 1995-2004 time frame, as fewer people married and couples put off giving birth during hard times, he said.

The latest statistical report, however, said that despite chronic food shortages, North Korea’s population managed to post steady growth in the last two decades.

As of this year, the population is estimated to be 24.19 million, up 0.5 percent from a year earlier. Before 1997, the population grew more than 1 percent on-year, but gains have become stagnant since 1998, staying under the 1 percent mark.

This year’s numbers make North Korea the 49th most populous country in the world, compared with 26th-ranked South Korea, whose population reached 48.88 million.

The statistical report, meanwhile, showed the number of economically active people in the North between the ages of 15 and 64 reaching 16.58 million this year, with the number of men being smaller than women.

The median age of the population stood at 30.1 years for men and 33.7 for women, five or six years younger than numbers for South Korea. The country effectively became an “aging society” in 2003 with the number of people over 65 hitting 7.2 percent of the total population and should be an “aged society” in 2033 with 14.5 percent of the population over 65 years old.

The report predicted that North Korea’s population will peak at 26.54 million in 2037, compared to South Korea’s peak population that is expected to be reached in 2018, when there may be some 49.34 million people living in the country.

If both South and North Korean populations are combined, the number would hit its peak in 2027 with 75.06 million people living on the peninsula, the report said.

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N. Koreans expected to live 11 years less than S. Koreans: report


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