Nicknames for Pyongyang include City of Willows, and Jerusalem of the East based on historical missionary work.
Research website numbeo lacks sufficient data to rank the North Korean capital on its comprehensive global quality of life rating which benchmarks 250 cities worldwide. However, numbeo does evaluate Pyongyang on several individual factors. For instance, Pyongyang’s safety score ranks in the bottom 15% joining a global cohort of more dangerous cities in which to live. Ranking in the lowest 26%, Pyongyang is notorious for high pollution levels while lagging via the lowest health care score. On the positive side, Pyongyang enjoys the fastest traffic commute time.
Guinness World Records recognizes Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang as the tallest unoccupied building on Earth, constructed in anticipation of the 1988 Summer Olympics that instead took place in South Korea’s capital city Seoul. If completed, the Ryugyong Hotel would have been the world’s tallest hotel at 1,082 feet (330 meters). As it stands, Pyongyang’s unfinished hotel is the 18th tallest building and holds the Guinness World Record for highest unoccupied building.
From an international trade perspective, North Korea exported an estimated US$414.3 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. The most valuable exports are electrically operated watch components (11.9% of North Korea’s total), ferro-silicon (7.1%), false beards, eyebrows and eyelashes (also 7.1%), knitted or crocheted dyed cotton fabrics (6.4%), demonstration apparatus including for education (4%), tungsten ores and concentrates (3%), electrical energy (2.8%), alloy steel flat-rolled products (2.4%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (2.2%), cars (1.6%) and trucks (1.4%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Pyongyang, North Korea: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Tower of the Juche Idea, Geumsusan Memorial Palace and Kim Il Sung Stadium
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Pyongyang, North Korea.
- Pyon Kwang-sun, Olympic artistic gymnast (born Nov. 18, 1986)
- Pak Doo-ik, soccer player/footballer (born Dec. 17, 1943)
- Kye Sun-hui, Olympic judo medalist (born Aug. 2, 1979)
- Kim Jong-un, former party leader (born Jan. 8, 1983)
- Kim Sul-song, former security official (born Dec. 30, 1974)
- Ah Mei, pop singer (born Dec. 17, 1982)
- Jong-un Kim, actor (born Jan. 8, 1984)
- Ri Yong-mu, senior North Korean official (born Jan. 25, 1925)
- Kim Kyong-hui, workers’ party secretary (born May 30, 1946)
- Kim Joong-up, architect & educator (born 1922)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a North Korean resident: North Korean
Population: 3,084,244 (Pyongyang) at July 17, 2020
Density: 3,855 people per square mile (1,542 per square kilometer)
Population: 25,784,191 (North Korea) at July 17, 2020
Density: 554 people per square mile (214 per square kilometer)
Median age for all North Korea: 35.3 years old
GDP (estimated):US$18 billion for 2019 (North Korea)
GDP per person (estimated): $1,700
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Pyongyang were unavailable.
Official currency used in Pyongyang: North Korean won
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, East & Southeast Asia: North Korea.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Tallest building unoccupied.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, North Korea.
WorldOMeter, North Korea Population.
Both North and South Korea gained independence from Japan on August 15, 1945. Since 1948, North Koreans celebrate the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea each September 9.
Pyongyang lies on a flat plain approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) east of Korea Bay, located in the west-central part of North Korea (formally named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
Pyongyang occupies a land area totaling 800 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) and is home to an estimated 3.1 million people.
At the country level, North Korea’s land area covers 46,491 square miles (120,410 square kilometers). The nation’s population count was 25.8 million residents as of July 2020.
The population density for Pyongyang averages 3,855 dwellers per square mile (1,542 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to North Korea’s overall land boundaries, population density thins out to an average 554 inhabitants per square mile (214 per square kilometer).