South Korea

National name: Taehan Min'guk
Languages: Korean, English widely taught
Ethnicity: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions: Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)
National Holiday: Liberation Day, August 15
Literacy rate: 98% (2003 est.)
President: Park Geun-hye (2013)
Prime Minister: Chung Hong Won (2013)
Capital and largest city: Seoul
Currency: Won
Economic summary

GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $1.574 trillion; per capita $32,100. Real growth rate: 3.6%. Inflation: 4.0%. Unemployment: 3.4%. Arable land: 16.58%. Agriculture: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish. Labor force: 25.1 million; agriculture 6.4%, industry 24.2%, services 69.4%. Industries: electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel. Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential. Exports: $556.5 billion (2011 est.): semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals. Imports: $524.4 billion (2011 est.): machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics. Major trading partners: China, U.S., Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia (2011).


Telephones: main lines in use: 28.543 million (2010); mobile cellular: 50.767 million (2010). Broadcast media: multiple national TV networks with 2 of the 3 largest networks publicly operated; the largest privately-owned network, Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), has ties with other commercial TV networks; cable and satellite TV subscription services available; publicly-operated radio broadcast networks and many privately-owned radio broadcasting networks, each with multiple affiliates, and independent local stations (2010). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 293,862 (2011). Internet users: 39.4 million (2009).


Railways: total: 3,381 km (2008). Highways: total: 103,029 km; paved: 80,642 km (including 3,367 km of expressways); unpaved: 22,387 km (2008 est). Waterways: 1,609 km; use restricted to small native craft. Ports and harbors: Incheon (Inch'on), Pohang (P'ohang), Busan (Pusan), Ulsan, Yeosu (Yosu). Airports: 114 (2012).


Slightly larger than Indiana, South Korea lies below the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula. It is mountainous in the east; in the west and south are many harbors on the mainland and offshore islands.