North Korea’s census

While it’s famously difficult to obtain information from within North Korea, author B.R. Myers has written a fascinating account based on DPRK propaganda, "North Korea’s Race Problem," for the current print issue of FP. Hermit Kingdom poster art, it turns out, is chock full of such pastoral images as plump, happy cherubic children and leaders. ...

Poster art from North Korea courtesy of Melville House Publishing and B.R. Myers, author of The Cleanest Race—How North Koreans See Themselves and Why it Matters.
Poster art from North Korea courtesy of Melville House Publishing and B.R. Myers, author of The Cleanest Race—How North Koreans See Themselves and Why it Matters.
Poster art from North Korea courtesy of Melville House Publishing and B.R. Myers, author of The Cleanest Race—How North Koreans See Themselves and Why it Matters.

While it's famously difficult to obtain information from within North Korea, author B.R. Myers has written a fascinating account based on DPRK propaganda, "North Korea's Race Problem," for the current print issue of FP. Hermit Kingdom poster art, it turns out, is chock full of such pastoral images as plump, happy cherubic children and leaders.

Meanwhile, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the reclusive government has recently released the results of a national census conducted in 2008. The picture that emerges is bleak. By the government's own admission, the population is considerably older and sicker than at the time of North Korea's last census in 1993. Some highlights:

North Korea's census said the country's population has proportionately fewer children and more middle-aged people than it did in 1993.

While it’s famously difficult to obtain information from within North Korea, author B.R. Myers has written a fascinating account based on DPRK propaganda, "North Korea’s Race Problem," for the current print issue of FP. Hermit Kingdom poster art, it turns out, is chock full of such pastoral images as plump, happy cherubic children and leaders.

Meanwhile, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the reclusive government has recently released the results of a national census conducted in 2008. The picture that emerges is bleak. By the government’s own admission, the population is considerably older and sicker than at the time of North Korea’s last census in 1993. Some highlights:

North Korea’s census said the country’s population has proportionately fewer children and more middle-aged people than it did in 1993.

It also reported that people are less healthy.

Babies are more likely to die: The infant mortality rate climbed to 19.3 per 1,000 children in 2008 from 14.1 in 1993 …

North Koreans are living shorter lives—average life expectancy has fallen to 69.3 years from 72.7 in 1993.

Christina Larson is an award-winning foreign correspondent and science journalist based in Beijing, and a former Foreign Policy editor. She has reported from nearly a dozen countries in Asia. Her features have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Science, Scientific American, the Atlantic, and other publications. In 2016, she won the Overseas Press Club of America’s Morton Frank Award for international magazine writing. Twitter: @larsonchristina

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