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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: September 2013


from Historical Dictionary of Pyongyang


DEMOGRAPHY. There are many problems with the population statistics for Pyongyang, as the were not collected effectively until very recently. Consequently, the size of the city's population change over time cannot be assessed properly. The French annual directories, published by Didot-Bottin, give the population of the city as 35,000 from at least 1909 until 1938, with the 1909 edition noting that the population of the city included 150 Japanese, 60 Chinese, 26 Americans and Britons, and 1 French citizen. Japanese records give the number of people in Pyongyang in 1912 as being 41,167. Clearly, during the Japanese occupation, the number of the people in the city swelled massively. The population of the city in 1938 was more likely to be 235,000, as estimated in some histories of Korea at that time. The population is said to have been 653,000 in 1962, rising to 1.3 million by 1978.

In spite of copious information on other countries, the annual British Whitaker's Almanack, does not give the population of Pyongyang until its 1981 edition, in which it states that the population was 1.5 million, retaining this figure through its 1994 edition. The editions from 1996-99 cite the population as 2 million, and the editions from 2001 to 2007 give that the population as a very precise 2,741,260. In 2008, the population was stated to be 3,255,388.