Administrative divisions of South Korea

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South Korea is made up of 17 first-tier administrative divisions: 6 metropolitan cities (gwangyeoksi광역시/廣域市), 1 special city (teukbyeolsi특별시/特別市), 1 special self-governing city (teukbyeol-jachisi특별자치시/特別自治市), and 9 provinces ( do 도/道), including one special self-governing province (teukbyeol jachido특별자치도/特別自治道). [1] [2] These are further subdivided into a variety of smaller entities, including cities (si시/市), counties ( gun 군/郡), districts ( gu 구/區), towns ( eup 읍/邑), townships ( myeon 면/面), neighborhoods ( dong 동/洞) and villages ( ri 리/里). [3]

Contents

Local government

Official Revised Romanization of Korean spellings are used

LevelGroup nameType Hangul Hanja RR Romaja No.
(2014)
1Upper-level local autonomy [4]
광역지방자치단체
廣域地方自治團體
Provincedo8
Special self-governing province특별자치도特別自治道teukbyeol-jachido1
Special city특별시特別市teukbyeolsi1
Special self-governing city특별자치시特別自治市teukbyeol-jachisi1
Metropolitan city광역시廣域市gwangyeoksi6
2Lower-level local autonomy [4]
기초지방자치단체(Municipality)
基礎地方自治團體
Citysi60
City (specific)(특정시)(特定市)si (teukjeongsi)15
Countygun82
District (autonomous)(자치구)(自治區)gu (jachigu)69
3N/ACity (administrative)(행정시)(行政市)si (haengjeongsi)2
District (non-autonomous)(일반구)(一般區)gu (ilbangu)35
4N/ATowneup216
Townshipmyeon1198
Neighborhood (legal-status)(법정동)(法定洞)dong (beopjeongdong)2073
Neighborhood (administrative)(행정동)(行政洞)dong (haengjeongdong)
5N/AUrban Villagetong
Rural Villageri
6N/AHamletban

Provincial-level divisions

The top tier of administrative divisions are the provincial-level divisions, of which there are several types: provinces (including special self-governing provinces), metropolitan cities, special cities, and special self-governing cities. The governors of the provincial-level divisions are elected every four years. [2]

MapCodeEmblemNameOfficial English name [5] Hangul Hanja Population
2020 Census
Area
(km2)
KR-11
Logo of Seoul, South Korea.svg
Seoul special citySeoul서울특별시서울特別市9,586,195605.20
KR-26
Symbol of Busan.svg
Busan metropolitan cityBusan부산광역시釜山廣域市3,349,016770.04
KR-27
Symbol of Daegu.svg
Daegu metropolitan cityDaegu대구광역시大邱廣域市2,410,700883.49
KR-28
Emblem of Incheon.svg
Incheon metropolitan cityIncheon인천광역시仁川廣域市2,945,4541,062.63
KR-29
Emblem of Gwangju.svg
Gwangju metropolitan cityGwangju광주광역시光州廣域市1,477,573501.24
KR-30
Emblem of Daejeon.svg
Daejeon metropolitan cityDaejeon대전광역시大田廣域市1,488,435539.85
KR-31
Symbol of Ulsan.svg
Ulsan metropolitan cityUlsan울산광역시蔚山廣域市1,135,4231,057.14
KR-50
Symbol of Sejong.png
Sejong special self-governing citySejong Special Self-Governing City세종특별자치시世宗特別自治市346,275465.23
KR-41
Emblem of Gyeonggi Province (2021).svg
Gyeonggi Province Gyeonggi-do경기도京畿道13,511,67610,184
KR-42
Seal of Gangwon.svg
Gangwon Province Gangwon-do강원도江原道1,521,76316,875
KR-43
Seal of North Chungcheong.svg
North Chungcheong Province Chungcheongbuk-do충청북도忠淸北道1,632,0887,433
KR-44
Seal of South Chungcheong.svg
South Chungcheong Province Chungcheongnam-do충청남도忠淸南道2,176,6368,204
KR-45
Emblem of North Jeolla Province.svg
North Jeolla Province Jeollabuk-do전라북도全羅北道1,802,7668,067
KR-46
Seal of South Jeolla.svg
South Jeolla Province Jeollanam-do전라남도全羅南道1,788,80712,247
KR-47
Seal of North Gyeongsang.svg
North Gyeongsang Province Gyeongsangbuk-do경상북도慶尙北道2,644,75719,030
KR-48
Seal of South Gyeongsang.svg
South Gyeongsang Province Gyeongsangnam-do경상남도慶尙南道3,333,05610,533
KR-49
Logo of Jeju Province, South Korea.svg
Jeju special self-governing provinceJeju Special Self-Governing Province제주특별자치도濟州特別自治道670,8581,849

Municipal-level divisions

A map of all South Korean metropolitan cities' districts (gu), municipal cities (si), and counties (gun). South Korea second level divisions.svg
A map of all South Korean metropolitan cities' districts (gu), municipal cities (si), and counties (gun).

Si (city)

A si (시; 市, pronounced [ɕi] ) is one of the divisions of a province, along with gun. A city must have a neighborhood(dong) and can have towns(eup), townships(myeon) if the city is combined with urban and rural areas. Once an eup of a county (gun) attains a population of 50,000, the county can become a city. A city with a population of over 500,000 (such as Suwon, Cheongju, Cheonan and Jeonju) is considered as a specific city, which can set non-autonomous districts(gu). An administrative city doesn't have a city council and the mayor of the city is appointed by the provincial governor.

Gun (county)

A gun (군; 郡) is one of the divisions of a province (along with si), and of the metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon and Ulsan (along with gu). A gun has a population of less than 150,000 (more than that would make it a city or si), is less densely populated than a gu, and is more rural in character than either of the other 2 divisions. Gun are comparable to British non-metropolitan districts. Counties are divided into towns (eup) and townships (myeon). Specially, the size of a "gun" is less than a US "county".

Gu (district)

A gu (구; 區) is equivalent to district in the West. The metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu, Incheon and Ulsan contain gun as well. Gu are similar to boroughs in some Western countries, and a gu office handles many of the functions that would be handled by the city in other jurisdictions. Gu are divided into neighborhoods (dong).

Submunicipal level divisions

Eup (town)

An eup (읍; 邑) is similar to the unit of town. Along with myeon, an eup is one of the divisions of a county (gun), and of some cities (si) with a population of less than 500,000. The main town or towns in a county—or the secondary town or towns within a city's territory—are designated as eup. Towns are subdivided into villages (ri). In order to form an eup, the minimum population required is 20,000.

Myeon (township)

A myeon (면; 面) is one of the divisions – along with eup – of a county (gun) and some cities (si) of fewer than 500,000 population. Myeons have smaller populations than eup and represent the rural areas of a county or city. Myeon are subdivided into villages (ri). The minimum population limit is 6,000.

Dong (neighborhood)

A dong (동; 洞) is the primary division of districts (gu), and of those cities (si) which are not divided into districts. The dong is the smallest level of urban government to have its own office and staff. In some cases, a single legal dong is divided into several administrative dong. Administrative dong are usually distinguished from one another by number (as in the case of Myeongjang 1-dong and Myeongjang 2-dong). In such cases, each administrative dong has its own office and staff.

The primary division of a dong is the tong (통; 統), but divisions at this level and below are seldom used in daily life. [6] Some populous dong are subdivided into ga (가; 街), which are not a separate level of government, but only exist for use in addresses. Many major thoroughfares in Seoul, Suwon, and other cities are also subdivided into ga. [7]

Ri (village)

A ri (리; 里) is the only division of towns (eup) and townships (myeon). The ri is the smallest level of rural government to contain any significant number of people. [8]

History

Although the details of local administration have changed over time, the basic outline of the current three-tiered system was implemented under the reign of Gojong in 1895. A similar system also remains in use in North Korea.

See also

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References

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