November 23, 2010 10:22
North Korea's population is about half the size of South Korea's, according to a Statistics Korea report released on Monday.
As of this year the population of the North stands at 24.19 million, compared to 48.88 million in the South, the report said.
The agency said the main reason for the North's smaller population is the wide-spread famine that began in the early 1990s. The food shortages caused people to postpone marriage, which resulted in a sharp decline in the birth rate.
The population of the Stalinist country is aging rapidly. In 2003 seniors aged 65 or older accounted for 7.2 percent, but the figure has increased to 9 percent this year. That is lower than South Korea's 11.0 percent and the 15.9 percent average of advanced countries, but higher than China's 8.2 percent and the average of developing countries of 5.8 percent.
The life expectancy in North Korea is 64.9 years for men and 71.7 years for women, far shorter than the 76.2 years and 82.9 years of the South.
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