Top 10 Interesting Facts about North Korea

North Korea is back in the headlines and it is always unclear what the Hermit King, Kim Jong Un, will do next. North Korea is one of the worlds most secretive societies and here are some strange and interesting facts about this country.

#10 Most Corrupt Country in the World

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According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, North Korea and Somalia are tied for the title of the most corrupt nation. Scores between zero (highly corrupt) and 100 (very clean) were given to 174 countries and territories. North Korea scored an 8.

#9 Size of North Korea

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North Korea is 120,538 square kilometers, which is about the size of Pennsylvania. But only 19.5% of North Korea’s land is arable, which amounts to about 9,000 square miles.

#8 Defecting from North Korea

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During the mourning period of Kim Jong-il ‘s death on December 17, 2011 and the start of Kim Jong-un’s rule, the movements of people were tightened and strictly controlled. This included requiring families that live near the border areas to take turns standing guard, having strong official warnings that three generations of a family would be destroyed if caught defecting, as well as having the defector being executed on-site. The number of North Korean defectors has dramatically decreased as a result.

#7 Population of North Korea

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The current population f North Korea is 25,432,438. The population density is 199.54 inhabitants per square kilometre. The population of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang,  is 2.863 million, which for example is more than the population of Houston, Texas. To live in the Pyongyang capital you will need permission from the state, only if granted would you be allowed to live there.

#6 The Government Controls all Communications

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If there is one thing authoritarian states want to control, it’s information and communication. And because of that, North Korea controls the airwaves. There are only 3 TV channels to choose from and the programming is all strictly controlled by the government.

#5 North Korean Roads

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There are 25,554 kilometers of roads in North Korea, but only 724 kilometers are paved. That’s only 2.83% of all roadways.

#4 Literacy rate in North Korea

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Education in North Korea is universal and state-funded schooling by the government. The national literacy rate for citizens at age of 15 and older is 100 percent (approx.). Children go through one year of kindergarten, four years of primary education, six years of secondary education, and then on to university.

#3 Estimated GDP of North Korea

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Trading economics estimates North Korea’s gross domestic product to be $17.4 billion. (The World Bank does not list an official figure.) To put that in perspective, Bill Gates’ net worth is estimated at $78.2 billion. North Korea’s 2014 estimated GDP per capita was $1,800.

#2 North Korea has its own Time Zone

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In 2015 North Korea created its own time zone, called Pyongyang Time, named after the North Korean capital, which is 30 minutes behind South Korea and Japan.  The country started using Pyongyang Time on August 15, 2015, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan. Pyongyang Time was the time zone used before Japanese rule.

#1 Male Citizens Ordered to have Kim Jon Un Haircut


“A source from Pyongyang” told South Korea’s The Chosun Ilbo that authorities issued an order requiring men to keep their hair no longer than 2 centimeters and requiring women to keep their hair at a bob length. The men were told to model their hairstyle on Kim Jong Un, whose haircut is known as “ambitious” in North Korea (and terrible everywhere else). Women were advised to copy his wife.






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