Quick Facts

  • Officially the Republic of Korea
  • Gained independence from Japan on August 15, 1945
  • Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
  • Area: 38,691 sq. miles, slightly larger than the state of Indiana
  • Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in the summer than winter
  • Terrain: mostly hills  and mountains, wide coastal plains to west and south
  • Capital and largest city: Seoul (pop. almost 10 million)
  • Population: 49,115,196)
  • Ethnic groups: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
  • Languages: Korean, English (widely taught in jr. high and high school)
  • Religions: Christian 31.6%, Buddhist 24.2%  none 43.3%
  • Literacy: 97.9%
  • Economy: South Korea has become a high-tech industrialized economy. It is among the worlds 20 largest economies. The automotive industry is fifth-largest in the world. Long-term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and heavy reliance on exports, which comprise half of GDP.  Largest export partners are China 24.4%, United States 10.1%, Japan 7.1%.
  • South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea, having never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War. These two countries share the world’s most heavily fortified border.
  • Current weather conditions: www.weather.com
  • Tips for travel in country: www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates: www.xe.com



Government in Power

  • A republic
  • Chief of state: President Park Geun-hye (since 2013)  – elected by the people
  • Head of government: Prime Minister Kim Hwang Kyo-ahn (since 2015) – appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly



Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy: 80.04 years
  • Health expenditures: 7.2% of GDP
  • Physicians density: 2.14/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density: 10.3 beds/1,000 population
  • Obesity adult prevalence rate: 6.3%
  • Health care issues: environmental pollution – chronic diseases account for the majority of diseases in South Korea, a condition exacerbated by the health care systems focus on treatment rather than prevention. The incidence of chronic disease in South Korea hovers around 24%. Approximately 33% of all adults smoke.
  • Infectious disease updates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm



Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

Mission trips have always been something I wanted to do…but a medical mission trip?? Never thought I would have the chance to be a part of something so amazing – as a non-medical person.  When my son and his colleagues were gearing up for their first trip to Haiti soon after the earthquake, I was […]


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