도 (道)
CategoryUnitary state
LocationRepublic of Korea (ROK)
15 controlled by ROK
5 controlled by DPRK
2 split between ROK and DPRK
Populations276,589 (Sejong City) – 13,413,459 (Gyeonggi Province)
Areas1,849 km2 (714 sq mi) (Jeju) – 19,030 km2 (7,350 sq mi) (North Gyeongsang) – 20,569 km2 (7,942 sq mi) (Gangwon including DPRK controlled-parts)
  • Self-governing
Revised Romanizationdo
Special self-governing province
Revised Romanizationteukbyeoljachido

Provinces are one of the first-level divisions within South Korea. There are 9 provinces in South Korea: North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, Gangwon State, Gyeonggi, North Gyeongsang, South Gyeongsang, Jeonbuk State, South Jeolla, and Jeju Special Self-Governing Province.


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 North Korea.


Provinces (, ) are the highest-ranked administrative divisions in South Korea, which follows the East Asian tradition name Circuit (administrative division). Along with the common provinces, there are four types of special administrative divisions with equal status: special self-governing province, special city, metropolitan city, and special self-governing city.

Special Self-governing Province or State (특별자치도, 特別自治道) is a type of provinces with more autonomy over its economy and more powers are given to the provincial government. Jeju, Gangwon, and Jeonbuk are the only special self-governing provinces in South Korea, while Seoul is the only special city and Sejong is the only special self-governing city.


Governors for the provinces and mayors for the special/metropolitan cities are elected every four years. Current governors and mayors are listed at List of governors of South Korea.

List of provinces

Name Official English name[1] Hangul Hanja ISO Pop.
Capital Historical
 North Chungcheong Chungcheongbuk-do 충청북도 忠淸北道 KR-43 1,632,088 7,433[3] 219.6 Cheongju Chungcheong Hoseo Chungbuk 충북 忠北
 South Chungcheong Chungcheongnam-do 충청남도 忠淸南道 KR-44 2,176,636 8,204[4] 265.3 Hongseong Chungnam 충남 忠南
Gangwon Gangwon State 강원특별자치도 江原特別自治道 KR-42 1,521,763 20,569[5] 74.0 Chuncheon Gangwon Gwandong Gangwon 강원 江原
 Gyeonggi Gyeonggi-do 경기도 京畿道 KR-41 13,511,676 10,171[6] 1,328.5 Suwon Gyeonggi Sudogwon Gyeonggi 경기 京畿
 North Gyeongsang Gyeongsangbuk-do 경상북도 慶尙北道 KR-47 2,644,757 19,030[7] 139.0 Andong Gyeongsang Yeongnam Gyeongbuk 경북 慶北
 South Gyeongsang Gyeongsangnam-do 경상남도 慶尙南道 KR-48 3,333,056 10,532[8] 316.5 Changwon Gyeongnam 경남 慶南
Jeonbuk Jeonbuk State 전북특별자치도 全北特別自治道 KR-45 1,802,766 8,043 224.1 Jeonju Jeolla Honam Jeonbuk 전북 全北
 South Jeolla Jeollanam-do 전라남도 全羅南道 KR-46 1,788,807 11,858 150.9 Muan Jeonnam 전남 全南
 Jeju Jeju Special
Self-Governing Province
제주특별자치도 濟州特別自治道 KR-49 670,858 1,849[9] 362.8 Jeju Jeju Jeju 제주 濟州

Claimed provinces

South Korea claims five provinces on the territory controlled by North Korea. These claimed provinces are managed by the Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces (Korean이북5도위원회; Hanja以北五道委員會). These provinces are based on the divisions of the Korean Empire era and are different from the present North Korean provinces.

Historical province Name Hangul Hanja Area (km2) Capital Cultural region Abbreviation
Hamgyeong North Hamgyeong 함경북도 咸鏡北道 20,345 Cheongjin Gwanbuk Hambuk 함북 咸北
South Hamgyeong 함경남도 咸鏡南道 31,977 Hamheung Gwannam Hamnam 함남 咸南
Pyeongan North Pyeongan 평안북도 平安北道 28,443 Sinuiju Gwanseo Pyeongbuk 평북 平北
South Pyeongan 평안남도 平安南道 14,944 Pyeongyang Pyeongnam 평남 平南
Hwanghae Hwanghae 황해도 黃海道 16,744 Haeju Haeseo Hwanghae 황해 黃海

See also


  1. ^ [1] Archived 2017-03-12 at the Wayback Machine, p. 41.
  2. ^ "South Korea Administrative Districts". Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  3. ^ 충북면적 (in Korean). North Chungcheong Province. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  4. ^ 일반현황 (in Korean). South Chungcheong Province. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Natural Environment". Gangwon Province. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  6. ^ 위치와 자연환경 (in Korean). Gyeonggi Province. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  7. ^ 경북현황 (in Korean). North Gyeongsang Province. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  8. ^ 일반 현황 (in Korean). South Gyeongsang Province. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Geography". Jeju Province. Retrieved 18 March 2013.