The Human Truth Foundation

Korea, North (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

https://www.humantruth.info/north_korea.html

By Vexen Crabtree 2013

#somalia

North Korea
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index158th best
CapitalPyongyang
Land Area 120 410km21
LocationAsia
Population25.5m2
Life Expectancy73.28yrs (2017)3
GNI
ISO3166-1 CodesKP, PRK, 4084
Internet Domain.kp5
CurrencyWon (KPW)6
Telephone+8507

1. Overview

An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to KIM Jong Un and KIM has now assumed many his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but then sought to roll back the scale of economic reforms in 2005 and 2009. North Korea's history of regional military provocations; proliferation of military-related items; long-range missile development; WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, and 2013; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.

CIA's The World Factbook (2013)8

Book CoverMost people form their opinions of North Korea from news reports and James Bond movies, but there´s more to the Democratic People´s Republic than military parades and stand-offs with the UN. No country in the world provokes a similar reaction to North Korea. Now on its third hereditary ruler, this nominally communist state and by-product of the Cold War has defied all expectation and survived a quarter of a century since perestroika dismantled the rest of the once-vast Soviet empire.

Most people don´t even know that it´s possible to travel here, and indeed the compromises required to do so are significant. You´ll be accompanied by two government minders at all times and only hear a one-sided account of history. Those who can´t accept this might be better off staying away - but those who can will have a fascinating trip into another, unsettling world.

With your official minders, you can roam mountain resorts and ancient capitals, though the main attractions remain the bombastic iconography of the North Korean regime and the surreal existence of ordinary people in this troubled, autocratic state.

"The World" by Lonely Planet (2014)9

2. North Korea National and Social Development

#human_development

Social & Moral
Development Index
10
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank10
1Norway28.6
2Denmark30.0
3Sweden30.7
...
155Palau111.9
156Cameroon113.1
157Ivory Coast113.2
158N. Korea113.4
159Gambia113.5
160Nigeria114.0
161Mali114.6
162Mozambique115.0
Asia Avg87.7
World Avg86.8
q=195.

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: Which are the Best Countries in the World? The Social and Moral Development Index.

3. North Korea's Demographics and Migration

#birth_control #demographics #health #immigration #life_expectancy #longevity #migration #overpopulation #population

Population:

North Korea's population is predicted to rise to 26.18 million by 2030. This rise is despite a low fertility rate, meaning, that this country is helping to alleviate problems with growing population in neighbouring countries by accepting immigrants, very likely as a requirement of maintaining an active workforce. This country has a fertility rate of 2.00. The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

Population2
Pos.2018
Population2
1China1.4b
2India1.4b
3USA327.1m
...
49Yemen28.5m
50Nepal28.1m
51Madagascar26.3m
52N. Korea25.5m
53Cameroon25.2m
54Ivory Coast25.1m
55Australia24.9m
56Niger22.4m
World Avg39.0m
q=195.
Life Expectancy
Higher is better
11
Pos.2021
Years11
1Monaco85.9
2Hong Kong85.5
3Japan84.8
...
79Latvia73.6
80Mauritius73.6
81Palestine73.5
82N. Korea73.3
83Trinidad & Tobago73.0
84Colombia72.8
85Dominica72.8
86Samoa72.8
World Avg71.28
q=195.
Fertility Rate
2.0 is best
12
Pos.201312
1N. Korea2.00
2Brunei1.99
3St Vincent & Grenadines2.01
4France1.99
5Turkey2.04
6Australia1.96
7Uruguay2.05
8Norway1.95
9Myanmar (Burma)1.95
10Indonesia2.07
11Sweden1.93
12Tunisia1.93
World Avg2.81
q=180.
Old-Age Dependency Ratio
Lower is better
13
Pos.2016
Per 10013
1Uganda04.3
2Mali04.5
3=Chad04.7
...
107Brunei16.2
108El Salvador17.3
109Panama17.7
110N. Korea17.8
111Turkey18.0
112Vietnam18.3
113Tunisia18.6
114Azerbaijan18.7
World Avg18.3
q=185.

Migration:

Immigrants14
Pos.2017
%14
1UAE88.4%
2Kuwait75.5%
3Qatar65.2%
...
185Colombia0.3%
186Morocco0.3%
187Philippines0.2%
188N. Korea0.2%
189Sri Lanka0.2%
190Myanmar (Burma)0.1%
191Madagascar0.1%
192Indonesia0.1%
World Avg9.4%
q=195.
Emigrants15
Pos.2010
%15
1Dominica104.8%
2Palestine68.4%
3Samoa67.3%
...
166Cameroon1.4%
167Malawi1.4%
168Congo, DR1.3%
169N. Korea1.3%
170Thailand1.2%
171UAE1.2%
172Mongolia1.2%
173Kenya1.1%
World Avg11.5%
q=192.

4. Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #gender_equality #homosexuality #human_rights #morals #north_korea #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)16
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank16
1Sweden9.0
2Norway14.5
3Denmark14.5
...
190Swaziland141.8
191Mauritania144.4
192Cook Islands144.5
193N. Korea146.5
194Brunei147.1
195Sudan148.6
Asia Avg99.9
World Avg87.9
q=199.
This is a fully totalitarian dictatorship with no pretence to embrace any modern concept of human rights nor personal freedom17,18. N. Korea does worse than average when it comes to LGBT equality19 and in speed of uptake of HR treaties20. It sits amongst the bottom 20 when it comes to commentary in Human Rights Watch reports21 (one of the lowest in Asia), its nominal commitment to Human Rights22 and in freethought23 (one of the highest in Asia). And finally, it is second-from-the-bottom in supporting press freedom24. Of the millions of North Koreans subject to slavery, the "clear majority" are being held in forced labour by the state itself25. The Lonely Planet guide for traveller says that visiting North Korea is "a fascinating trip into another, unsettling world... with your official minders, you can roam mountain resorts and ancient capitals, though the main attractions remain the bombastic iconography of the North Korean regime and the surreal existence of ordinary people in this troubled, autocratic state"9.

For tables, charts and commentary, see:

5. North Korea's Health

#alcohol #birth_control #demographics #health #life_expectancy #longevity #obesity #overpopulation #parenting #population #smoking #vaccines

Compared to Asia (2020)26
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank26
1Hong Kong18.3
2Maldives41.0
3Singapore42.6
...
9Brunei62.6
10Malaysia62.8
11Oman62.9
12N. Korea65.0
13=Thailand65.3
14Bangladesh66.8
15Kuwait67.1
16Uzbekistan68.4
17Saudi Arabia69.3
Asia Avg80.1
q=50.
Health (2020)26
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank26
1Monaco13.0
2Hong Kong18.3
3Maldives41.0
...
12Malaysia62.8
13Oman62.9
14Mauritius64.5
15N. Korea65.0
16=Thailand65.3
16=Finland65.3
18Switzerland65.6
19Bangladesh66.8
World Avg93.5
q=196.

The countries with the best overall approach to public health, in terms of both public policy and individual lifestyle choices, are Monaco, Hong Kong and The Maldives27. These countries are worth emulating. And, although often through no fault of the average citizen, the worst countries are The Marshall Islands, S. Sudan and Palau27.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are its average life expectancy, its alcohol consumption rate, its fertility rate, its smoking rate, its suicide rate, its food aid and health contributions and WHO compliance, the prevalence of overweight adults, its adolescent birth rate and its immunizations take-up. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Asia and The Mediterranean27, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Australasia and Africa27.

For more, see:

Health:

Public health in North Korea is very good. N. Korea does the best in its fertility rate12 and in its adolescent birth rate28. It does better than average in its alcohol consumption rate29 (but bad for Asia), its average life expectancy11 and in its immunizations take-up30 (but low for Asia). But, things still need to improve in N. Korea. N. Korea does worse than average when it comes to its smoking rate31 (still good for Asia). The prevalence of overweight adults has increased by 14% over the last 40 years. Life expectancy in North Korea improved by just +3yrs in the 30 years from 1990, significantly less than almost everywhere else in the world.

Life Expectancy
Higher is better
11
Pos.2021
Years11
1Monaco85.9
2Hong Kong85.5
3Japan84.8
...
79Latvia73.6
80Mauritius73.6
81Palestine73.5
82N. Korea73.3
83Trinidad & Tobago73.0
84Colombia72.8
85Dominica72.8
86Samoa72.8
Asia Avg73.48
World Avg71.28
q=195.
Alcohol Consumption
Lower is better
29
Pos.2016
Per Capita29
1Bangladesh0.0
2Kuwait0.0
3Libya0.0
...
65=Gambia3.8
65=Israel3.8
65=UAE3.8
68N. Korea3.9
69Honduras4.0
70Jamaica4.2
71Sri Lanka4.3
72=Bahamas4.4
Asia Avg3.9
World Avg6.2
q=189.
Fertility Rate
2.0 is best
12
Pos.201312
1N. Korea2.00
2Brunei1.99
3St Vincent & Grenadines2.01
4France1.99
5Turkey2.04
6Australia1.96
7Uruguay2.05
8Norway1.95
9Myanmar (Burma)1.95
10Indonesia2.07
11Sweden1.93
12Tunisia1.93
Asia Avg2.46
World Avg2.81
q=180.
Smoking Rates
Lower is better
31
Pos.201431
1Guinea 15
2Solomon Islands 26
3Kiribati 28
...
94Malaysia 584
95Seychelles 590
96Jamaica 593
97N. Korea 610
98Fiji 618
99Cambodia 645
100Equatorial Guinea 649
101Singapore 652
Asia Avg1 035
World Avg 819
q=182.
Overweight Adults
Lower is better32
Pos.2016
%32
1Vietnam18.3
2India19.7
3Bangladesh20.0
...
52Ghana32.0
53=China32.3
53=Mauritius32.3
55N. Korea32.4
56Thailand32.6
57Cameroon33.6
58Mauritania34.4
59Cape Verde34.8
Asia Avg44.3
World Avg49.0
q=191.

Children's Health:

Adolescent Birth Rate
Lower is better
28
Pos.2015
Per 100028
1N. Korea0.5
2S. Korea1.6
3Switzerland2.9
4Hong Kong3.2
5Slovenia3.8
6Singapore3.8
7Netherlands4.0
8Denmark4.0
9Japan4.1
10Cyprus5.0
11Sweden5.7
12Norway5.9
Asia Avg29.9
World Avg47.9
q=185.
Infant Immunizations 2011-2015
Higher is better
30
Pos.2015
Avg %30
1=Hungary99.0
1=China99.0
3Uzbekistan98.9
...
82=Germany94.0
83Lithuania93.9
84Estonia93.9
85N. Korea93.8
86Italy93.8
87Austria93.8
88Argentina93.7
89Bulgaria93.7
Asia Avg90.5
World Avg88.3
q=194.

6. North Korea's Responsibility Towards The Environment

#biodiversity #climate_change #deforestation #food #meat #over-exploitation #the_environment #veganism #vegetarianism

Compared to Asia (2023)33
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank33
1Japan33.2
2Philippines45.0
3Sri Lanka49.0
4Maldives55.0
5Jordan56.5
6N. Korea57.5
7Indonesia62.4
8S. Korea62.8
9Bangladesh67.0
10=India68.6
11Lebanon68.8
12=Nepal68.8
13Armenia69.5
Asia Avg88.8
q=51.
Responsibility Towards The Environment (2023)33
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank33
1Japan33.2
2Philippines45.0
3Uruguay48.0
...
17Jordan56.5
18Portugal57.0
19Kenya57.4
20N. Korea57.5
21=Spain57.6
21=Zambia57.6
23Venezuela58.0
24=Colombia58.8
World Avg85.7
q=188.
N. Korea comes 20th in the world regarding its responsibility towards the environment. This rank is calculated from 3 data sets. N. Korea does better than average when it comes to annual meat consumption per person34 and in how quickly it ratified the 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity. And finally, it sits amongst the bottom 20 when it comes to its forested percent change 1990-201535 (amongst the lowest in Asia).

Forest Area Change 1990-2015
Higher is better
35
Pos.2015
%35
1Iceland+205.6
2Bahrain+144.4
3Uruguay+131.3
...
174Nicaragua-31.0
175Zimbabwe-36.6
176Sudan-37.5
177N. Korea-38.7
178Niger-41.3
179Pakistan-41.7
180Honduras-43.6
181Mauritania-45.9
Asia Avg+07.0
World Avg+02.8
q=184.
Convention on Biological Diversity
Earlier is better
Pos.0
Signed
1=China1993 Dec 29
1=Guinea1993 Dec 29
1=Cook Islands1993 Dec 29
...
92Bolivia1995 Jan 01
93Senegal1995 Jan 15
94Cameroon1995 Jan 17
95N. Korea1995 Jan 24
96San Marino1995 Jan 26
97Swaziland1995 Feb 07
98Zimbabwe1995 Feb 09
99Vietnam1995 Feb 14
Asia Avg1899 Dec 30
World Avg1899 Dec 30
q=197.
Meat Consumption
Lower is better
34
Pos.2021
kg34
1Congo, DR03.0
2Burundi03.5
3Bangladesh04.3
...
18Tanzania12.1
19Ivory Coast12.6
20Cambodia12.6
21N. Korea12.8
22Bhutan13.6
23Cameroon14.6
24Guinea-Bissau14.7
25Djibouti14.8
Asia Avg46.7
World Avg52.5
q=185.

7. North Korea's Modernity and Learning

#education

Modernity and Education:

Length of Schooling
Higher is better
36
Pos.2021
Years36
1Australia21.1
2New Zealand20.3
3Greece20.0
...
149Rwanda11.2
150Zambia10.9
151Myanmar (Burma)10.9
152N. Korea10.8
153Benin10.8
154Burundi10.7
155Kenya10.7
156Ivory Coast10.7
Asia Avg13.5
World Avg13.5
q=193.

8. National Culture

#corruption #politics

Corruption
Higher is better
37
Pos.2022
Points37
1Denmark90.0
2=Finland87.0
2=New Zealand87.0
...
169Turkmenistan19.0
170=Chad19.0
171Equatorial Guinea17.0
172=N. Korea17.0
172=Libya17.0
172=Haiti17.0
172=Burundi17.0
176Yemen16.0
Asia Avg39.98
World Avg42.98
q=180.

On average through the 2010s, North Korea scored the second-worst on the Corruption Perception Index (after Somalia).

9. Peace Versus Instability

#human_development #peace #politics

Global Peace Index
Lower is better
38
Pos.2023
Score38
1Iceland1.12
2Denmark1.31
3Ireland1.31
...
146Pakistan2.75
147=Iran2.80
147=Turkey2.80
149N. Korea2.85
150Burkina Faso2.87
151Ethiopia2.87
152Central African Rep.2.93
153Mali2.96
Asia Avg2.17
World Avg2.07
q=163.

10. Economic Inequality and Poverty

#health #inequality #life_expectancy

Inequality in Life Expectancy
Lower is better39
Pos.201939
1Iceland2.40
2=Singapore2.50
2=Hong Kong2.50
...
90Kyrgyzstan11.30
91=St Vincent & Grenadines11.30
92Ecuador11.50
93=N. Korea11.50
94Egypt11.60
95=Panama12.00
95=Palestine12.00
97Solomon Islands12.10
Asia Avg11.80
World Avg14.59
q=184.

11. Religion and Beliefs

#buddhism #christianity #hinduism #islam #judaism

Data from the Pew Forum, a professional polling outfit, states that in 2010 the religious makeup of this country was as follows in the table below40:

Christian2%
Muslim0.1%
Hindu0.1%
Buddhist1.5%
Folk Religion12.3%
Jewish0.1%
Unaffiliated71.3%

The CIA World Factbook has slightly different data, and states: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way). note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom41.

Links: