N.Korea's Population Grows as Life Expectancy Dwindles

      February 23, 2010 08:35

      North Korea's population has grown larger but average life expectancy has become shorter, according to a recent census. The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korean authorities conducted the census in 2008 under the aegis of monitors from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

      The North currently has a population of 24 million, up 2.8 million from 21.2 million in 1993. But average life expectancy has dwindled from 72.7 years in 1993 to 69.3, a good 10 years shorter than South Korea's.

      The infant mortality rate also rose from 14.1 per 1,000 children in 1993 to 19.3  in 2008 , though it is still lower than the world average, which was 46 according to a 2009 UNFPA report. Given a total of 5.9 million households, the average family of 3.9 live in a 50 to 75 sq.m house. Some 85 percent of homes have running water, though only 55 percent have a flush toilet.

      Farming, the most common occupation, provides employment for 3.4 million people, followed by the military, which employs 699,000. There is a striking gap between the number of soldiers in the census and what outside analysts and the media often call a force of 1 million people, the daily added.

      The third-largest employment sector is education, followed by manufacturing and textiles.

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