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Population, Population Characteristics

urban migration, immigration visas, population of South Korea, Urbanization, immigrants

The population of South Korea is 48,324,000 (2002 estimate). The country’s population density of 487 persons per sq km (1,261 per sq mi) is one of the highest in the world. The majority of the population lives in the southern and western coastal areas. The annual rate of increase has dropped steadily from more than 3 percent in the late 1950s to 0.85 percent in 2002. Urbanization of the country has proceeded rapidly since the 1960s, with substantial rural to urban migration; 82 percent of the population is now classified as urban. Following the establishment of North Korea, some 4 million immigrants crossed the border to South Korea. This increase has been partly offset by emigration from South Korea, especially to Japan and the United States. However, South Korea’s burgeoning economy and improved political climate in the early and mid-1990s slowed the high emigration rates typical of the late 1980s and compelled many South Koreans who had emigrated to return. Between 1990 and 1995 the number of South Koreans receiving immigration visas to the United States was less than half the peak of 1987, and in 1994 one South Korean returned for every two who left.

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urban migration, immigration visas, population of South Korea, Urbanization, immigrants, peak, border, Japan, percent, majority, persons, United States, world, estimate


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