North Korea's per-capita GDP stood at US$854 as of 2013, the Hyundai Research Institute said Sunday, just 3.6 percent of South Korea's $23,838.
It is equivalent to South Korean figures in the 1970s and even below China's $6,569 and Vietnam's $1,896.
In 2004, North Korea announced per-capita GDP was $546 but released no official statistics since. The institute's figures were based on North Korea's annual grain output, which is tabulated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Kim Chun-goo at the institute said the main reason for the low figure is that around 8.5 million North Koreans or more than a third of the population are farmers.