Austrian Economics Wiki
Country summary




China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km

Government type

Communist state one-man dictatorship


22,665,345 (July 2010 est.)[1]

Population growth

0.42% (2010 est.)[1]

Life expectancy

63.81 years[1]



Index of Economic Freedom


An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM's son, the current ruler KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea's history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.[1]

Economical characteristics[]

  • Currency: North Korean won (ISO code: KPW)


Statistic / Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
GDP (USD)[3]
Govt. debt (% of GDP)[4]
Govt. revenue (% of GDP)[5]
Govt. expenses (% of GDP)[6]
Debt to revenue (years)


Note: statistical data was rounded. Different sources may use different methodologies for their estimates. Debt to revenue is calculated by dividing the two variables from their original ('unrounded') values. It represents how long it would a government take to repay its entire debt if it used its whole revenue for this purpose.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 CIA - The World Facebook. "North Korea", from The World Facebook. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  2. Heritage Foundation. "North Korea", Economic Freedom Score. A lower ranking is better; but please be careful when comparing between different countries or years. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  3. World Bank. "North Korea: GDP", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  4. World Bank. "North Korea: government debt", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  5. World Bank. "North Korea: government revenue", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.
  6. World Bank. "North Korea: government expenses", from World Bank Data. Referenced 2010-09-30.

External links[]