Archive for the ‘UN Population Fund’ Category

DPRK population at 24.9 million (estimated)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

According to Yonhap (2013-10-31):

North Korea’s population stands at 24.9 million, the 49th-largest in the world, a report by a United Nations fund showed Thursday.

According to “State of World Population 2013” published by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the North Korean population is expected to grow 0.5 percent in the 2010-15 period.

It said that boys born during this five-year period could expect to live an average of 66 years, while the female life expectancy was estimated at 73 years.

The latest findings also said a woman in the communist country is likely to give birth to two children, smaller than the overall average of 2.5 kids for the 202 countries checked.

The UNFPA said that 16 percent of the North’s population were between the ages of 10 and 19. This is just shy of the global average of 16.7 percent, although it is 3 percentage points higher than the comparable figure for South Korea.

In the number of people in the 10-19 age group, the North ranked 118th, with South Korea trailing far behind at 151st, the report showed.

The report said that despite various deprivations affecting the isolationist country, 100 percent of childbirths were assisted by trained medical personnel such as doctors, nurses and midwives.

The findings, meanwhile, showed the maternal death rate in the country at 81 deaths for every 100,000 births, while infant mortality rate reached 28 for every 1,000 children under the age of 5.

The population fund said it based its report on data provided by various U.N. organizations including the United Nations World Population Prospects.

The UN report can be found here.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s population stands at 24.9 mln, 49th-largest in the world: report


UN to give DPRK US$2.1m in flood aid

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

The United Nations has decided to provide more than US$2 million in emergency relief to flood-stricken North Korea this year, a news report said Wednesday.

According to the Voice of America, the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund allocated a total of about US$2.1 million in “Rapid Response Grants” following reports of heavy flood damage in the communist country.

The U.N. had said earlier that $5.8 million will be needed to help the flood victims in the North.

The relief aid will be conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF, it said.

The WHO will use the money to send clean water to people affected by floods, and the WFP will provide food aid to expectant mothers. The UNICEF will also provide medicine and vaccines to the communist state.

A report by the U.N. released in August claimed there was an outbreak of a waterborne epidemic in the country.

Exact information on North Korea is hard to come by, but the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that some 33 people were killed, 18 reported missing and 50,000 displaced by this summer’s flooding that affected large parts of the country.

Read the full story here:
U.N. to give N. Korea US$2.1 mln in flood aid: report


UNFPA provides medical aid to DPRK

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

According to Yonhap:

A United Nations organization supporting child birth has provided US$500,000 worth of medical aid to North Korean mothers and children, a report said Wednesday.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shipped drugs and medical equipment for mothers with newborn babies in the North last month, the report by the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said.

The goods were sent to about 300 health facilities in the country and the UNFPA tapped into the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund in order to provide the assistance, it said.

With a budget of $10 million, the UNFPA has been leading a five-year project to help pregnant North Korean women and conduct a census in the communist country since 2011.

Maternal death in the North reached 77 in 2008, up 40 percent from 54 recorded in the 1990s, according to the UNFPA. The rate refers to the number of women dying from child birth-related complications per 100,000 live births.

Read the full story here:
UNFPA provides US$500,000 in medical aid to N. Korean mothers


UN agencies seeking additional funding for DPRK projects

Monday, April 29th, 2013

According to the AFP (Gulf Times):

The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said they were feeling fallout from North Korea’s isolation.

“Even though the imposed sanctions clearly exclude humanitarian assistance, a negative impact on the levels of humanitarian funding has been experienced,” the agencies said in a statement.

The agencies said they had received just over a quarter of the $147mn they needed for operations in the North this year.

“As a result of the persisting deficit, agencies are unable to respond effectively to the humanitarian needs out of which the most critical and life-saving ones urgently require $29.4mn,” they added.

“The dire funding situation leaves the UN agencies and other humanitarian actors concerned about the continuation of their programmes” in isolated North Korea.

The agencies said there had been “a slight improvement” in the humanitarian situation in the past year. But Unicef said it was running short of cash for basic vaccines and medicines for child killers such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The UN estimates that about one-third of North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.

More analysis in the Washington Post.

Read the full story here:
Aid to North Korea hit by sanctions


DPRK life expectancy declines

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s life expectancy backtracked after 60 years of free medicare services, local analysts of the communist country said Wednesday.

The claims by Pyongyang observers comes as the latest United Nations Population Fund data showed the combined average life expectancy for men and women in the country stood at 69 in 2012, five years lower than a tally taken in the early 1980s. The average North Korean man is expected to live just 65.9 years according to last year’s findings, while the life expectancy for women reached 72.1. Both numbers placed the country in 117th place among countries checked.

Despite the regression, North Korean media such as the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, said in an article carried on Tuesday that the free universal medical care system has become the envy of countries around the world.

It added that the service reflects the will of the people and leadership to build an economically strong nation. The system was implemented in 1953.

The daily newspaper said because of the service, the size of country’s medical related spending surged 112 fold from 1940 to 1980.

The paper also said there was a 15.7 year rise in the country’s average life expectancy during the cited period. It claimed that the country’s life expectancy reached 74 in 1980, which is a different figure from the data provided by the U.N. organization for roughly the same time period. North Kore generally does not release life expectancy data, with the paper giving no numbers regarding life expectancy during the 1990-2000 period.

Related to Pyongyang’s insistence on maintaining the system and hailing it as a success, North Korean analysts said that the communist country’s free medicare is part of the political landscape that sets it apart from capitalist countries.

They said that despite what North Korean news outlets are saying, many defectors have argued that they paid money to be looked after by medical personnel while in the communist country.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s life expectancy backtracks after 60 years of free medicare


Arduous March continues to take toll on DPRK population

Monday, December 6th, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo:

The demographic graph of a normal country has a pyramid or bell shape. But that of North Korea reportedly has an abnormal gourd-shaped curve. The narrow part in the middle of the curve accounts for the key age group between 20 and 34 of the economically active population in the North. It is believed that is because many of those born in the 1990s in the midst of economic difficulties and food shortages died of malnutrition or diseases when they grow up.

This was revealed on Monday by Hwang Na-mi, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, in the outcome of her analysis of a 2008 census report the North’s Central Statistics Bureau submitted to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The North’s demographic graph shows that the “population between 20 and 34 years of age remarkably dwindled compared to teens or those in their 40s,” she said.

Lee Ae-ran, a professor of food, nutrition and cuisine at Kyungin Women’s College, said, “As economic problems worsened in the 1990s, many young North Koreans avoided marriage and childbirth and illegal abortions were rampant. Especially in the late 90s, many children and youths starved to death in urban areas, as well as in rural regions.” She is the first female North Korean defector to obtain a doctoral degree in the South.

The North’s 2008 census was conducted according to international standards with the help of the UNFPA, and thus it is regarded as reliable statistics on the status of North Korean population.

The North conducted its first-ever census in December 1993. But the categories did not conform to international standards, nor were the results consistent.

The North’s infant mortality rate, which is considered a yardstick for gauging a country’s socio-economic level and health, was 19.3 per 1,000 infants younger than 1 year, up 5.2 from 14.1 in 1993. However, some experts speculate that such a rate in the North is not as serious as it has been known so far.

According to the “2010 World Population Report” published by the UNFPA last month, the North’s infant mortality rate is 47 per 1,000, pushing the country to 51st place among 181 countries.

The North’s maternal mortality rate, the rate of mothers who die during pregnancy or childbirth, was 77.2 per 100,000, far up from 54 in 1993. The Stalinist country’s average life expectancy was 69.3 years in 2008, down from 72.7 years in 1993.

Past stories about the DPRK’s 2008 census can be found here, here, here, and here.

The officially published data can be found here.  Summaries can be found here.

Read the full story here:
N.Korea’s Youth Population Dwindles Due to Food Shortage
Choson Ilbo


KCNA hails UNPF cooperation

Monday, July 12th, 2010

According to KCNA:

Int’l Cooperation Strengthened in Population Work

Pyongyang, July 10 (KCNA) — Twenty-five years has elapsed since the cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) was started.

The DPRK government concluded an agreement with the UNPF in Juche 74 (1985) and has conducted various activities to improve the population work.

From 1986 the UNPF has cooperated with the DPRK in the population work such as training of experts, building of material foundations, census of population and improvement of the women’s health.

In cooperation with the UNPF, the DPRK government conducted the first nationwide census in 1993 and the second in 2008 in a scientific way suitable to the international standard.

The government has also successfully finished the survey of the pregnant women’s mortality and health, one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The results of the survey have served as basic data in working out national economic growth plan and public health plan in a scientific way.

On the occasion of the World Population Day (July 11), Yang Song Il, a section chief of the Population Centre of the DPRK, told KCNA that the 2007-2010 fourth cooperation plan between the UNPF and the DPRK will be finished and the 2011-2013 fifth cooperation plan will be worked out this year.

He said, “We will continue surveys in different fields to make a scientific contribution to the development of national economy and public health and work hard to implement the action programme of the International Conference on Population and Developmentand attain the MDG, further strengthening cooperation with international organizations, including the UNPF”.


The DPRK’s 2008 census: results and analysis

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Thanks to a responsive employee at the UNFPA, I obtained a summary of the DPRK’s census findings.  You can download the summary here.

Thanks to a reader I was able to obtain a copy of the entire census data set.  You can download it here.

Both documents have been added to the “DPRK Economic Statistics Page“. Happy reading.


UPDATE 1: The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Ramstad published some analysis of the DPRK’s 2008 census data.  According to the article:

North Korea is getting bigger, older and less healthy, according to data from the country’s latest census, and its fabled million-man army might have fewer than 700,000 people.

The authoritarian government in December released results of the census conducted in 2008, saying its population had climbed to 24 million people from 21.2 million in the previous census in 1993.

More details have been published by the United Nations Population Fund, which helped North Korea conduct the census and sent five teams of observers to monitor it.

Even so, it’s difficult for outsiders, with so little access to the country, to be certain of the precision of North Korea’s data. For decades, the government has cut off the dissemination of most information about the country. The new census numbers provide a rare glimpse of official statistics.

The census reported that North Korea’s population grew at an annual average rate of 0.85% for the 15-year period, a time that included a devastating multiyear famine that analysts and foreign aid agencies estimate killed between one million and two million people.

A separate U.N. report published last year found that North Korea’s population has grown more slowly since 2005, at an annual rate of 0.4%. The global population has grown 1.2% annually since 2005, the U.N. report said.

North Korea’s census said the country’s population has proportionately fewer children and more middle-aged people than it did in 1993.

It also reported that people are less healthy.

Babies are more likely to die: The infant mortality rate climbed to 19.3 per 1,000 children in 2008 from 14.1 in 1993, though North Korea’s rate is still well below the world average, which a 2009 report by the U.N. agency put at 46 per 1,000 children.

North Koreans are living shorter lives—average life expectancy has fallen to 69.3 years from 72.7 in 1993.

As in many places, women live longer than men, with a gap of about seven years, compared with the world average of 4.4 years.

North Korea has 5.9 million households, with an average of 3.9 people in each, according to the census.

The typical home is 50 to 75 square meters in size (540 to 800 square feet). About 85% of homes have access to running water and about 55% have a flush toilet.

The census provided only a glimpse of the country’s economic structure, but even that produced some surprises. The occupation that provides the most employment—farming—has more women, 1.9 million, than men, 1.5 million.

The second-biggest occupation, working for the government or the military, employs 699,000 people. The census doesn’t break that group down further, but the figure suggests North Korea’s military isn’t as large as had been thought.

The military is often portrayed by outside military analysts and media as a force of one million people, mostly conscripts who are required to serve 10 years.

The third-largest employment sector by number of workers is education, followed by machinery manufacturing, textiles and coal mining. About 40,000 people work in computer, electronic or optical-product manufacturing.

North Korea hasn’t shared meaningful information about its economy or its financial system with the outside world since the early 1960s.

Outside estimates of its economic performance, most prominently an annual estimate by the South Korean central bank, the Bank of Korea, are filled with assumptions that even their authors say render them almost meaningless.

Word of the availability of the North Korea census data was disseminated last week on North Korea Economy Watch, a Web site run by Curtis Melvin, a Virginia-based graduate student in economics and a specialist in North Korea.

Read the full article here:
Pyongyang Reports an Aging, Less Healthy Population
Wall Street Journal
Evan Ramstad

UPDATE 2 (1/12/2011): According to the Choson Ilbo:

Each year, Statistics Korea publishes population figures for North Korea in a booklet based on surveys conducted by international organizations like the UN and data released by the Education Center for Unification under the Unification Ministry.

Most of these statistics were compiled based on a census the North took in 2008 with the UN’s help.

North Korea’s only previous census was in 1993, which established that the population is 21.21 million. Although rumor has it that several millions of people starved to death during the famine of the 1990s, nobody knows how many exactly died.

The second census in 2008 was taken with funds provided by the UN Population Fund to obtain basic data for humanitarian aid to the North. The North accepted the offer, presumably because it wanted a good grasp of the reality to develop its own economy.

The census lasted for 15 days, from Oct. 1 to 15, 2008. The North’s Central Statistics Bureau surveyed 5,587,767 households nationwide by mobilizing a total of 35,000 census takers through municipal and provincial statistics offices. The questionnaire consisted of 53 questions about income, furniture, electronic home appliances, toilets, heating system, and tap water and sewage facilities, as well as basic personal information such as age and gender.

Like in South Korea, the North Korean census takers visited homes to ask the questions face to face. Statistics Korea officials flew to China, where they taught North Korean officials census methodology and techniques, and the South gave the North as much as US$4 million for the census from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund.

According to the census, the North’s population was 24,062,000, up 2.85 million from 1993. Average life expectancy was 69.3 years, and infant mortality was 19.3 per 1,000. But these data are quite different from UN estimates, which put life expectancy at 67.3 years and infant mortality at 48 per 1,000. The credibility of the North’s census data has not been verified.


Preliminary DPRK census numbers

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

(h/t to H. Williams) Preliminary numbers from the UN-funded and administered DPRK census have been published.  According to the UN, the DPRK’s population as of October 2008 breaks down as follows:


Click on image for larger version, or better yet, see the results in the original PDF here.

Here is some more information from the Choson Ilbo:

The United Nations Population Fund announced a few days ago that a two-week census study conducted on North Korea in October of last year showed the country’s population as being 24.05 million people. That finding went against the forecasts of experts that North Korea’s population would have dropped from 21.21 million in 1993 to less than 18 million, due to a prolonged economic slump. Until 1993, North Korea had suppressed childbirth. But starting in 1996, when more and more people began starving to death, North Korea has been promoting childbirth by prohibiting abortions and offering special support payments to families that have many children.

North Korea also suffered from a concentration of its population, with 40 percent of its total population living in the Pyongan provinces. More than 4 million people live in South Pyongan Province, 3.26 million in the capital Pyongyang, and 2.73 million in North Pyongan Province. Unlike South Korea, there were 600,000 more women than men. But North Korea is said to have requested the UNFPA to keep the data under wraps. That was because of the breadth of the information contained the latest study, from details on individuals to data on incomes, the items owned by households, and even the availability of bathrooms, heating, tap water and sewage processing facilities.

The reason why North Korea had no choice but to agree to the information being unveiled was because South Korean capital and know-how was used to conduct the survey. According to a request by the UNFPA, South Korea footed $4 million of the $7 million spent to conduct the census, while the South’s National Statistical Office offered the method and technique used to conduct the census. As a result, the UNFPA mobilized 35,200 North Korean census takers and conducted house-to-house surveys on 5.89 million homes.

The UNFPA considered it “interesting” that North Korea had unveiled the results of the census to the world. Sultan Aziz, head of the UNFPA’s Asia-Pacific division, appeared on Voice of America and said North Korea unveiled itself to the world because it knew that it must first take a close look at itself in order to develop its own economy. That is why there are forecasts that North Korea will soon turn to the international community for help. The results of a detailed census, including the infant mortality rate and average life expectancy, due out in the first half of this year, will deliver more of a shock to North Korea than anyone else.


North Korea restricts food aid (again)

Friday, July 10th, 2009

According to Fox News:

A spokesman for the World Food program has confirmed to FOX News that on July 3, the emergency relief organization was ordered to limit food deliveries to 57 of the 131 North Korean counties it previously served. At the same time, the agency was told that it must give seven days’ notice of visits to oversee food deliveries at all of its relief sites — a sharp change from the one-day notice previously required under a deal to retain U.S. support for North Korean relief efforts. As a result, the spokesman said, WFP is “reviewing the current terms and conditions for our work” in North Korea, “to ensure that our work and our accountability is not compromised.”

Additional constraints were also slapped on the child relief organization UNICEF in June, according to a spokesman, Chris de Bono. He told FOX News that the regime banned UNICEF from operating in its northerly Ryanggan province, which borders China, and is one of the impoverished country’s poorest areas. UNICEF still operates in 56 other counties across North Korea.

The restrictions make even more dire the food situation in a country where starvation and malnutrition are widespread, even as the Kim regime continues to set off atomic blasts and fire missiles in the direction of Japan and Hawaii.

Furthermore, they once again raise questions about the U.N.’s ability to monitor whatever relief activities that remain in the country. UNICEF’s spokesman told FOX News that only WFP had won the right to 24-hour notification for inspection visits, and that all other U.N. institutions in North Korea have operated with the one-week request limit as a matter of course.

UNICEF has ten international staff and 20 local staffers in North Korea. None of the international staff speak Korean. The agency is budgeted to spend $13 million a year on North Korean operations, principally on food for infants, children and pregnant women, along with emergency vaccination programs, essential medicines and clean water supplies.

But nowhere near that amount of money from international donors is currently available. According to its Web site, UNICEF has received only 10 percent of the total, or about $1.3 million, undoubtedly a result of the North Korean regime’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. Unless more money is received soon, the UNICEF spokesman said, “it will be difficult to maintain the current level of operations and this will have serious negative consequences for children and other vulnerable people.”

The same funding shortfall applies to the World Food Program, which told FOX News a month ago that donor nations had provided only $75.4 million toward a 2009 goal of $503 million for North Korea, with more than half of that amount — $38.8 million — food aid that was not delivered in 2008.

The only other U.N. agency that has significant operations in North Korea, the United Nations Population Fund, reports that it has received no curtailment in its activities, but it only operates in 11 North Korean counties. It was slated to spend roughly $8.3 million in North Korea between 2007 and 2009, chiefly for birth control and other forms of “reproductive health” and for helping the regime collect population statistics.

Nonetheless, a big question mark still hangs over the North Korean operations of the United Nations Development Program, the U.N.’s major anti-poverty agency, which suspended operations in North Korea in 2007 in the wake of revelations from an independent inquiry that it had wrongfully provided millions in hard currency to the North Korean regime, ignored U.N. Security Council sanctions in passing on dual-use equipment that could conceivably be used in the country’s nuclear program, and allowed North Korean government employees to fill key positions.

Read the full story below:
North Korea Cuts Off More U.N. Relief as Nation Starves
Fox News
George Russell