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Seoul - statistics & facts

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is the country's largest city with a population of nearly ten million people. Located in the northwest of the country along the Han River, Seoul accounts for only 0.6 percent of the country's land area, yet it is home to about 20 percent of the total population. The 24-hour city and dynamic metropolis serves as a vibrant business and financial hub for national and international companies and forms the heart of South Korea's economy, politics, and culture. It is also one of the most popular travel destinations and one of the best cities for international students.

What are the major industries in Seoul?

After the Korean War (1950-1953), Seoul, the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, and Incheon (Seoul Capital Area or Sudogwon) quickly grew into an important industrial center. This so-called “compressed economic development” of Seoul led to remarkably rapid growth and made South Korea one of the largest economies in the world. At the same time, however, this also led to greater regional disparities in the economy and the labor market.

Seoul alone generated around 23 percent of South Korea's total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. Including its surrounding regions, even more than 50 percent of GDP was produced in the Seoul Capital Area. The affluent Gangnam region south of the Han River had the largest economy among Seoul’s 25 districts. The service sector accounted for by far the largest share of the city's total gross regional product at about 90 percent, with wholesale and retail trade, business services, finance and insurance, and information and communications representing some of the city's leading industries.

How expensive is living in Seoul?

Seoul is one of the most expensive cities in the world, ranking third in the cost of living index among megacities in the Asia-Pacific region. High property and rental prices are among the main factors driving up the cost of living in the capital city. Despite various government measures, housing prices have skyrocketed, particularly in recent years. As of June 2021, as many as nearly 60 percent of apartments in Seoul were worth over 900 million South Korean won, recording the strongest increase in high-priced apartments in recent years. Even with the above-average wage levels of Seoulites, this is still unaffordable, which is why Seoul's household debt has surged over the past few years. Aside from housing expenses, the cost of public transportation, utilities, and restaurant meals in Seoul are considered relatively reasonable.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 41 most important statistics relating to "Seoul".

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