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Provinces of North Korea
CategoryUnitary state
LocationNorth Korea
Number16 (8 controlled by DPRK, 7 controlled by ROK & 1 split between DPRK and ROK)
Populations719,269 (Ryanggang Province) – 4,051,696 (South Pyongan)
Areas11,255 km2 (4,346 sq mi) (Kangwon) – 18,970 km2 (7,320 sq mi) (South Hamgyong) – 28,955 km2 (11,180 sq mi) (Kangwon including ROK controlled-parts)
  • Single-Party Government
Provinces of Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl조선민주주의인민공화국의 도

Provinces are the first-level division within North Korea. There are 9 provinces in North Korea: Chagang, North Hamgyong, South Hamgyong, North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae, Kangwon, North Pyongan, South Pyongan, and Ryanggang.


Main article: Provinces of Korea

Although the details of local administration have changed dramatically over time, the basic outline of the current three-tiered system was implemented under the reign of Gojong in 1895. A similar system also remains in use in South Korea.

A province (Korean; Hanja) are the highest-ranked administrative divisions in North Korea. Provinces have equal status to the special cities.

List of provinces

The populations listed for each province are from the 2008 North Korea Census. From this census, there are an additional 702,372 people living in military camps.

Name Chosŏn'gŭl Hancha ISO Population Area
Capital Region
Chagang 자강도 慈江道 KP-04 1,299,830 16,765 77.5 Kanggye Kwanso
North Hamgyong 함경북도 咸鏡北道 KP-09 2,327,362 15,980 145.6 Chongjin Kwanbuk
South Hamgyong 함경남도 咸鏡南道 KP-08 3,066,013 18,534 165.4 Hamhung Kwannam
North Hwanghae 황해북도 黃海北道 KP-06 2,113,672 8,153.7 259.2 Sariwon Haeso
South Hwanghae 황해남도 黃海南道 KP-05 2,310,485 8,450.3 273.4 Haeju Haeso
Kangwon 강원도 江原道 KP-07 1,477,582 11,091 133.2 Wonsan Kwandong
North Pyongan 평안북도 平安北道 KP-03 2,728,662 12,680.3 215.2 Sinuiju Kwanso
South Pyongan 평안남도 平安南道 KP-02 4,051,696 11,890.6 340.7 Pyongsong Kwanso
Ryanggang 량강도 兩江道 KP-10 719,269 13,880 51.8 Hyesan Kwannam

Claimed provinces

North Korea claims seven provinces on the territory controlled by South Korea. While people's committees for these claimed provinces were elected in 1950 during the Korean War, no government-in-exile for them exists as of 2024. These provinces are based on the divisions of the Japanese era, but correspond somewhat to the present South Korean provinces and the special cities partitioned out of them, owing to the alterations in the provincial division effected by South Korea being more conservative relatively to those effected by the north.

Historical province Name Chosŏn'gŭl Hancha Capital Equivalent South Korean provinces
Ch'ungch'ŏng North Ch'ungch'ŏng 충청북도 忠淸北道 Ch'ŏngju North Chungcheong Province
Sejong Special Self-Governing City (part)
Ch'ungch'ŏng South Ch'ungch'ŏng 충청남도 忠淸南道 Taejŏn South Chungcheong Province
Daejeon Metropolitan City
Sejong Special Self-Governing City (part)
Kyŏnggi Kyŏnggi 경기도 京畿道 Sŏul Gyeonggi Province (except parts of Pocheon and Yeoncheon County)
Seoul Special City
Incheon Metropolitan City
Kyŏngsang North Kyŏngsang 경상북도 慶尙北道 Taegu North Gyeongsang (except Uljin County)
Daegu Metropolitan City
Kyŏngsang South Kyŏngsang 경상남도 慶尙南道 Pusan South Gyeongsang Province
Busan Metropolitan City
Ulsan Metropolitan City
Chŏlla North Chŏlla 전라북도 全羅北道 Chŏnju North Jeolla Province
Chŏlla South Chŏlla 전라남도 全羅南道 Kwangju South Jeolla Province
Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Gwangju Metropolitan City

See also