Provinces of South Korea

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

CategoryUnitary State
LocationRepublic of Korea (ROK)
Number22 (15 controlled by ROK, 5 controlled by DPRK & 2 split between ROK and DPRK)
Populations276,589 (Sejong) – 9,904,312 (Seoul)
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 Romanizationteukbyeol-jachido


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.

A special self-governing province (특별자치도, 特別自治道) is a province with more autonomy over its economy and more powers are given to the provincial government. Jeju is the only special self-governing province, 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

NameOfficial English name[1]HangulHanjaISO Population
(2011 est.)[2]
Population approximately equalArea
CapitalHistorical provinceCultural regionAbbreviation
North ChungcheongChungcheongbuk-do충청북도忠淸北道KR-43 1,588,633  Bahrain7,433[3]213 CheongjuChungcheongHoseoChungbuk충북忠北
South ChungcheongChungcheongnam-do충청남도忠淸南道KR-44 2,064,665  Jamaica8,204[4]251 HongseongChungnam충남忠南
GangwonGangwon-do강원도江原道KR-42 1,549,780  Bahrain20,569[5]75 ChuncheonGangwonGwandongGangwon강원江原
GyeonggiGyeonggi-do경기도京畿道KR-41 12,239,862  Rwanda10,171[6]1,203 SuwonGyeonggiSudogwonGyeonggi경기京畿
North GyeongsangGyeongsangbuk-do경상북도慶尙北道KR-47 2,739,179  Lithuania19,030[7]144 AndongGyeongsangYeongnamGyeongbuk경북慶北
South GyeongsangGyeongsangnam-do경상남도慶尙南道KR-48 3,374,725  Puerto Rico10,532[8]320 ChangwonGyeongnam경남慶南
North JeollaJeollabuk-do전라북도全羅北道KR-45 1,895,882  Latvia8,043236 JeonjuJeollaHonamJeonbuk전북全北
South JeollaJeollanam-do전라남도全羅南道KR-46 1,938,136  Latvia 11,858163 MuanJeonnam전남全南
JejuJeju Special Self-governing Province제주특별자치도濟州特別自治道KR-49 583,284  Suriname1,849[9]315 JejuJejuJeju제주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 (Korean: 이북5도위원회; Hanja: 以北五道委員會). These provinces are based on the divisions of the Japanese era and are different from the present North Korean provinces.

Historical provinceNameHangulHanjaArea (km2)CapitalCultural regionAbbreviation
Hamgyeong North Hamgyeong 함경북도咸鏡北道 20,345CheongjinGwanbukHambuk함북咸北
South Hamgyeong 함경남도咸鏡南道 31,977HamheungGwannamHamnam함남咸南
Pyeongan North Pyeongan 평안북도平安北道 28,443SinuijuGwanseoPyeongbuk평북平北
South Pyeongan 평안남도平安南道 14,944PyeongyangPyeongnam평남平南
Hwanghae Hwanghae 황해도黃海道 16,744HaejuHaeseoHwanghae황해黃海

See also


  1. Archived 2017-03-12 at the Wayback Machine, p. 41.
  2. "South Korea Administrative Districts". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  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.