Korea, South

Country Summary

2023 population pyramid



An independent kingdom for much of its history, the southern half of the Korean Peninsula set up a democratic government after World War II. After fending off a North Korean invasion in 1950, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth and today is a fully functioning modern democracy.



total: 99,720 sq km
land: 96,920 sq km
water: 2,800 sq km


temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter; cold winters

Natural resources

coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential

People and Society


total: 52,081,799
male: 26,119,111
female: 25,962,688 (2024 est.)

Ethnic groups



Korean, English (widely taught in elementary, junior high, and high school)


Protestant 17%, Buddhist 16%, Catholic 6%, none 60% (2021 est.)

Population growth rate

0.21% (2024 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, serves as an administrative capital for segments of the South Korean Government

Executive branch

chief of state: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister HAN Duck-soo (since 21 May 2022) serves as the principal executive assistant to the president, similar to the role of a vice president
head of government: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Gukhoe (300 seats; 253 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 47 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)


Economic overview

strong export- and technology-oriented East Asian economy; manufacturing led by semiconductor and automotive industries; aging workforce; increased restraint in fiscal policy while maintaining industry support initiatives

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.352 trillion (2022 est.)
$2.292 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.198 trillion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$45,600 (2022 est.)
$44,300 (2021 est.)
$42,400 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, vegetables, cabbages, milk, pork, onions, chicken, eggs, tangerines/mandarins, potatoes (2022)


electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel


$820.643 billion (2022 est.)
$769.424 billion (2021 est.)
$607.505 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

China 21%, US 16%, Vietnam 9%, Japan 4%, Hong Kong 4% (2022)

Exports - commodities

integrated circuits, refined petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, ships (2022)


$811.129 billion (2022 est.)
$698.98 billion (2021 est.)
$541.57 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 23%, US 11%, Japan 8%, Australia 6%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2022)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, integrated circuits, natural gas, coal, refined petroleum (2022)

Exchange rates

South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1,291.447 (2022 est.)
1,143.952 (2021 est.)
1,180.266 (2020 est.)
1,165.358 (2019 est.)
1,100.163 (2018 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2024