South Korea Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

South Korea Country Overview

Where is South Korea located? The Republic of Korea, often called South Korea, is located in eastern Asia. Since the republic is almost completely surrounded by water, it has only one border with one other country: North Korea. The time zone map places South Korea in a world time zone called “Korea Standard Time”. There is a time difference of +9 hours to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). This means that South Korean clocks are 9 hours later than world clocks. This difference also remains in the summer months, as no daylight saving time is implemented.

South Korea National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of South Korea is 51,835,110, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 51,835,110
Population growth rate 0.39%
Birth rate 8.30 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall 79.55 years
Men 76.40 years
Women 82.91 years
Age structure
0-14 years 13.03%
15-64 years 72.41%
65 years and above 14.55%
Median age 40.80 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 1.00
Population density 519.81 residents per km²
Urbanization 80.30%
almost 100% Koreans, homogeneous, around 20,000 Chinese
No religious affiliation 46% Christians 26%, Buddhists 26%, Confucians 1%, Others [Shamanist, Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)] 1%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.906
HDI ranking 22nd out of 194

People in South Korea

The area of ​​Korea belonged to the Silla Empire for a very long time and thus formed a political unit for a long time (from the 7th century to 1945). The population is therefore quite uniform. That is still the case today, but other ethnic groups also live in the country through migration, even if only as small minorities.

These are mainly people from other Asian countries who have found work there. Because South Korea is doing quite well economically, so that people from Thailand, the Philippines and India have immigrated. The largest minorities are Chinese, Americans and Vietnamese.

With ten million residents, South Korea’s capital Seoul is by far the largest city. The conurbation around the metropolis is the second largest conurbation in the world with over 23 million residents. Of the more than 51 million people who live in South Korea, most live near the south or west coast.

Out of 100 people, 92 live in one of the cities. That is a very high value! These cities are very modern while people in the rural parts of South Korea are still very traditional. Long-term coastal areas and impressive nature attract many tourists to the country year after year.

Languages in South Korea

Korean is spoken in the Republic of Korea. Only a few minorities, such as the Chinese in the country, maintain their own language. There are hardly any dialects in Korean and when they do, the differences are very small.

English is also often spoken in the Republic of Korea, which is the first foreign language in schools. Most children in South Korea learn English in school.

Religions in South Korea

46 percent of South Koreans say they have no religion. That is a high percentage. 26 percent each are Buddhists and Christians. The two largest religions in the country are thus Buddhism and Christianity. The number of Christians in Korea has been growing since the 1960s. But the influence of Confucianism is also great.