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How high is North Korea’s real employment and income?

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Title How high is North Korea’s real employment and income?
Author Lee, Suk
Publisher Sejong, South Korea : Korea Development Institute
Publication Date 2016
Material Type Report
Country South Korea Holding Korea Development Institute
Language English License
Series Title KDI FOCUS


According to North Korea’s 2008 census, about 88% of the population aged 20-59 are officially employed in socialist sectors. However, the actual share of the employed population who can afford a decent living is estimated at 31%-62%. As for North Korea’s PPP-based per capita income-calculated using energy usage patterns-it is well in the range of the Bank of Korea’s estimates on the North’s per capita GNI for 2008, at $948-$1,361. On the contrary, Pyongyang has marked the official share of the employed population aged 20-59 at 85% and per capital income at a maximum of $2,715, implying that the capital is more affluent than the rest of the country. Drawing on the data from the 2008 North Korea Census directly conducted on North Korean people, this study seeks certain implications on the real employment (unemployment) rate in official socialist sectors and the real income level. (The rest omitted)

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