Population of Korea: yesterday and today

How did the population of Korea changed for centuries? How many people lived in her before how much lives now?

Answer these questions is not always easy. The main problem with which those historians who are engaged in the demographics of medieval Korea are faced (and indeed any medieval state) is the absence of greatly reliable statistical materials. In this regard, Korea historians are still in a rather favorable position, because here for a long time, the population censuses were quite regularly.

At first glance, these censuses were organized by a slender scheme. Every three years, rustic headlights reported officials about how many families ("yard") There are in a particular village, and how many people live in every yard. These information was sent to the county, and then in the province, and, finally, to the capital, where they generalized them.

However, it is already known that the results of these ancient "Census" Extremely unreliable. First, they were held much less regular than theoretically relied. Secondly, according to the estimates of modern historians, the census could underestimate the real number of people in two more than. Often two censuses conducted with the interval of just a few years have gave a completely different results. There were several reasons for it. The main of them was that the census was carried out by the authorities not in order to celebrate demographic curiosity. The government needed to know how many taxpayers in the country and how many military-service. Based on the census data, tax and draft quotas were determined for each province and each county. It is clear that in most people the people were not particularly torn to pay taxes, nor enter into the glorious rows of the Armed Forces. Therefore, any village, any county sought to shorten the number of our population, because it meant that then they would have less taxes less than the taxes and send less men to soldiers. Thus presented "Top" The data was always in one degree or another. Little officials simply did not have the opportunity to seriously check them, yes, often, and did not particularly strive for this (especially if more excessive curiosity was neutralized by expensive impositions from interested in residents of the county).

Therefore, all data on the population of Korea in the Preolonial Epoch, that is, in the period up to 1910., Extremely unreliable. Apparently, in the XV century, approximately 7-8 million people lived in the country, that is, 10 times less than now (I remind you that we are talking about both halves of Korea, and at present the total population of the North and South – 70 million human). The 15-millionth front of the 19th or early XIX century was overcome in the late XVIII. The vast majority of Koreans, about 96-98%, lived then in the villages. The population of Seoul, as far as we can judge, for five centuries of the board of the Dynasty of Lee hesitated between 100 and 150 thousand people. It was definitely the largest city of Korea, because the population of even the largest provincial cities in those days did not exceed 10 thousand. Already in our century, in 1918., Seoul numbered 189.153 residents, that is, six more times more than in Kason, which with a population of 27.659 people were then the second city of the country. It is curious that in third place was then Pyongyang (21.869), on the fourth and fifth – completely inhibited Sanzhzhu and Chonzhu, while the current megalopolises Busan, Tagu, Kwangui occupied very modest places: the twelfth, sixth, and. Thirty sixth, respectively.

The first reliable, that is, organized according to modern scientific methods, the census was carried out in Korea only in 1910. She gave the result of 17 million 420 thousand people. For comparison, the population of Russia was then 160 million people, the United States – 92 million, France – 40 million, China – 450 million. In other words, in 1910. The population of Korea was 9 times less than the our (now – two times less) and 6 times less than the American (now – four times less). In 1945., When Korea was divided into north and south, 28 million people lived in it: there were about 19 million in the south, and in the north – about 9 million inhabitants. This ratio (2: 1 in favor of the South) is generally preserved and still.

Like everywhere in the world, the population of Korea before the start of our century was very young. The birth rate was very high, a woman for her (usually a short) Life usually gave birth to 7-10 times, but about a third of the children died, without surviving up to a year, and another third did not live to the ten-year-old age. This is not surprising: in such now idealized Tsarist Russia at the end of the last century according to official data from each 1000 newborns 279 died, without surviving up to the year! In Korea in 1910. The average life expectancy of men was only. 24 years. Women lived a little longer – 26 years. These figures for us seem awful low, but, again, for those times they are quite ordinary. Therefore, the population of Korea, despite the high birth rate, grew very slowly. High fertility "compensated" High mortality.

In the colonial era, the situation in Korea has improved significantly. New medicines, European medicine and, especially, the dissemination of modern ideas about hygiene made healing many diseases – from appendicitis to cholera – who used to be deadly. Therefore, by 1945. The average life expectancy for men amounted to 43, and for women – 44 years old, that is, almost two (!) times more than just three decades before.

Population of Korea yesterday and today

Generally speaking, the demographic situation in Korea in 1920-1960. It was very similar to the one that now exists in Africa or in the countries of the Middle East: during this time the birth rate remained high, but the mortality rapidly decreased. The result was the rapid growth of the population. Over the past century, the population of Korea rose four times, and for the most part, this jerk occurred only in 15 years: 1945-1960.! For comparison: for the same century, France’s population increased 1.4 times, Spain – 2.0 times, Germany – 1.2 times, Japan – 1.9 times.

In the sixties, the growth rate of the population was called in Korea – in those days a poor country – considerable concern. The authorities even started a campaign to limit the birth rate, although not so active as in the current China. However, the best solution to the problems, as always and happens, were not loud slogans, posters and persistent calls for civil identity, but the economic development of the country. As the level of living and the level of education is heard, the birth rate in Korea began to quickly decline, and very quickly. This is always happening and everywhere: contrary to ideas common in modern Russia, the better people live in a particular country, as a rule, they have less children. In just two decades, Korea from a typical developing country has become typical highly developed: with low birth rate, low mortality, high life expectancy. In 1995. Koreans lived on average 70.4 years, and Koreanka – 78 years old, that is, three times longer than just a century ago.

However, this new model has a reverse side. As in most developed countries, today in Korea, even simple population reproduction is ensured. Now Koreanka has an average of 1.8 children. Despite the fact that in most of the married women in Korea do not work, they no longer want to have the same children as their mother or grandmothers had. This is understandable. In the old days, children, especially sons, were a guarantee of secured old age. In addition, in peasant families (that is, in 9/10 of all families), children began to work from 10-11 years old, and their labor contribution to the family budget could be quite significant. Now the situation has changed. The education of children is very expensive, they begin to work very late, and there are a lot of ways to ensure old age.

It is clear that in order for the population to remain on a more or less stable level, for each woman there should be a little more than two births. Such a situation, for example, exists in the USA, where there is an average of a woman 2.1 children. However, among the developed countries of the United States with their cult of families and "family values" — This is an exception, while Korea with her 1.8 child on the family – much more typical. The population of Korea, however, continues to grow, but it takes place exclusively at the expense of the life expectancy and continuous reduction of mortality.

In 1998, the population of South Korea amounted to 46 million 440 thousand people. Data on the population of the North is not very reliable, but it is most likely about 23-24 million. If you consider both Northerners and Yuzhan, then the population of Korea is located on the 12th place in the world. Even even to talk about South Korea alone, then she is not the smallest country: South Korea with its 46 million residents belongs to about the same "Weight category", As England (57 million), Poland (38 million), France (58 million), Spain (40 million).

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