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Is South Korea overpopulated?

by Ratan Srivastava

With an estimated population density of 425 people per square kilometre in 1989, South Korea is one of the world’s most densely populated nations, with nearly sixteen times the average population density of the United States in the late 1980s. In the late 1980s, China had an estimated 114 people per square kilometre, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) had 246 people, and Japan had 323 people per square kilometre. Because mountains cover over 70% of South Korea’s geographical area and the population is concentrated in lowland areas, real population densities were higher than the national average.

The density of South Korea’s thirty-five cities was assessed as early as 1975.

Each had a population of 50,000 or more individuals, resulting in a density of 3,700 persons per square kilometre. In the late 1980s, the number was greater due to continuous migration to metropolitan regions.

Seoul’s population density in 1988 was 17,030 people per square kilometre, up from 13,816 people per square kilometre in 1980. Busan, the second biggest city, with a population density of 8,504 persons per square kilometre in 1988, up from 7,272 in 1980. The most densely inhabited province was Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital and contains Incheon, the country’s fourth biggest city; the least densely populated province was Gangwon Province inside the northeast.

By 2023, when the population is predicted to stabilise, the population density will be 530 persons per square kilometre, according to the government’s Economic Planning Board.

In South Korea, rural regions are made up of agglomerated communities in river valleys that range in size from a few to several hundred dwellings. These communities are in the south, surrounded by hills, as well as provide excellent protection as from winter winds.

Since 1960, South Korea’s rate of urbanisation has resulted in a significant decrease in the population of rural regions, as well as the traditional rural lifestyle has been progressively going away.

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