South Korea

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Mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south


Temperate with rainfall heavier in summer than winter


Nationality: Korean(s)
Population: 48,955,203 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Korean, English (widely taught in junior high and high school)


Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24%, Roman Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3%


South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies and is currently the world's 12th largest economy. A system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible.

Living Conditions

Most South Koreans in urban areas live in high-rise, multi-story dwellings. Most homes are built of concrete. Houses are generally built low with small rooms. In order to keep out the cold, there are few doors and windows. Health care in Korea has improved substantially since the 1950s. Average life expectancy has risen from fifty-three to seventy-one years. Traditional causes of death, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, have been replaced by conditions more typical of industrialized societies.



US Military Presence/Support

The United States provides no development assistance to South Korea. South Korea, a recipient of U.S. assistance in the years after the Korean War, is a development aid donor today.


U.S. TROOPS (1:07)



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