Provinces of North Korea

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.

North Korean Provinces
조선민주주의인민공화국의 도 (Korean)
Chosŏnminjujuŭiinmingonghwagukŭi to (Romanized)
CategoryUnitary State
LocationDemocratic People's Republic of 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


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.

NameChosŏn'gŭlHanchaISO PopulationArea
Chagang자강도慈江道KP-04 1,299,83016,76577.5 KanggyeKwanso
North Hamgyong함경북도咸鏡北道KP-09 2,327,36215,980145.6 ChongjinKwanbuk
South Hamgyong함경남도咸鏡南道KP-08 3,066,01318,534165.4 HamhungKwannam
North Hwanghae황해북도黃海北道KP-06 2,113,6728,153.7259.2 SariwonHaeso
South Hwanghae황해남도黃海南道KP-05 2,310,4858,450.3273.4 HaejuHaeso
Kangwon강원도江原道KP-07 1,477,58211,091133.2 WonsanKwandong
North Pyongan평안북도平安北道KP-03 2,728,66212,680.3215.2 SinuijuKwanso
South Pyongan평안남도平安南道KP-02 4,051,69611,890.6340.7 PyongsongKwanso
Ryanggang량강도兩江道KP-10 719,26913,88051.8 HyesanKwannam

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 2021. 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 provinceNameChosŏn'gŭlHanchaCapitalEquivalent 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