Population Structure and Projections
Demographers determine the age structure of a given
population by dividing it into five-year age-groups and arranging
them chronologically in a pyramidlike structure that "bulges" or
recedes in relation to the number of persons in a given age
cohort. Many poor, developing countries have a broad base and
steadily tapering higher levels, which reflects a large number of
births and young children but much smaller age cohorts in later
years as a result of relatively short life expectancies. North
Korea does not entirely fit this pattern; data reveal a "bulge"
in the lower ranges of adulthood
fig. 4). In 1991 life
expectancy at birth was approximately sixty-six years for males,
almost seventy-three for females.
It is likely that annual population growth rates will
increase in the future, as will as difficulties in employing the
many young men and women entering the labor force in a socialist
economy already suffering from stagnant growth. Eberstadt and
Banister estimate that the population will increase to 25.5
million by the end of the century and to 28.5 million in 2010.
They project that the population will stabilize (that is, cease
to grow) at 34 million persons in 2045 and will then experience a
gradual decline. By comparison, South Korea's population is
expected to stabilize at 52.6 million people in 2023.
Data as of June 1993