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South Korea: Facts & Stats

DEMOGRAPHICS | Economy | Transportation | Culture

Demographics

Population:

Population: 48 million inhabitants
Density: 487 inhabitants per sq. Km

The five largest cities are:
  • Busan 3.5 million
  • Incheon 2.5 million
  • Daegu 2.5 million
  • Daejeon 1.4 million
  • Gwangju 1.4 million

Welfare:

The South Korean government committed itself to making medical security (medical insurance and medical aid) available to virtually the entire population by 1991. There was no unified national health insurance system, but the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs coordinated its efforts with those of employers and private insurance firms to achieve this goal.

Differences in insurance premiums among small business owners, government officials and teachers, people in farming and fishing areas, and those employed by business firms remained a divisive and unresolved issue.

Medical insurance programs for farming and fishing communities, where the majority of people were self-employed or worked for very small enterprises, also were initiated by the government.

Education:

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (often abbreviated into "the Ministry of Education") is responsible for South Korean education.

Education in South Korea is viewed crucial for success and competition is consequently very heated and fierce. A centralized administration oversees the process for the education of children from kindergarten to the third and final year of high school. Mathematics, science, Korean, social studies, and English are generally considered to be the most important subjects. Sometimes physical education is not considered important as it is not regarded to be education and therefore many schools lack high-quality gymnasiums and varsity athletics.

South Korea was the first country in the world to provide high-speed internet access from every primary, junior, and high school. The school year is divided into two semesters. The first begins in the beginning of March and ends in mid-July; the second begins in late August and ends in mid-February.

Religion:

Buddhism is the most prevalent religion in South Korea. About 27.3% of the entire population in South Korea adheres to Buddhism in South Korea, while Christianity in South Korea accounts for about 25.3% of the populace. To elaborate, 16% of the population follows Protestantism and 5% are Roman Catholics.

Korean shamanism is the original religion in South Korea. It is however interesting to note that religion in South Korea and in particular, the dominant religious faiths of Buddhism and Christianity have imbibed much from Confucianism as practiced in South Korea. Korean Confucianism had been the state religion of the Joseon Dynasty which ruled for 500 long years. More than being a religion in South Korea, Confucianism and its inherent values have actually become a way of life for the South Korean people.

However, South Korea religion is not only about these major faiths. There are various other religious beliefs in South Korea, with interesting lineages and practices. For instance, you have Cheondogyo, a minor religion in South Korea which incorporates strains from Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Confucianism. This is the so-called "new religion" in South Korea.




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