Provinces of South Korea

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Provinces of Korea (ROK point of view)-en+Inter-Korean border.svg
Category Unitary State
LocationFlag of South Korea.svg Republic of Korea (ROK)
15 controlled by ROK
5 controlled by DPRK
2 split between ROK and DPRK
Populations276,589 (Sejong City) – 13,413,459 (Gyeonggi Province)
Areas1,849 km2 (714 sq mi) (Jeju) – 19,030 km2 (7,350 sq mi) (North Gyeongsang) – 20,569 km2 (7,942 sq mi) (Gangwon including DPRK controlled-parts)
  • Self-governing

Although the details of local administration have changed dramatically 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.


Provinces (, ) are the highest-ranked administrative divisions in South Korea, which follows the East Asian tradition name Circuit (administrative division). Along with the common provinces, there are four types of special administrative divisions with equal status: special self-governing province, special city, metropolitan city, and special self-governing city.

A special self-governing province (특별자치도, 特別自治道) is a province with more autonomy over its economy and more powers are given to the provincial government. Jeju is the only special self-governing province, while Seoul is the only special city and Sejong is the only special self-governing city.


Governors for the provinces and mayors for the special/metropolitan cities are elected every four years. Current governors and mayors are listed at List of governors of South Korea.

List of provinces

NameOfficial English name [1] Hangul Hanja ISO Pop.
(2011) [2]
Capital Historical
Flag of North Chungcheong Province.svg  North Chungcheong Chungcheongbuk-do충청북도忠淸北道KR-431,588,6337,433 [3] 213 Cheongju Chungcheong Hoseo Chungbuk충북忠北
Flag of South Chungcheong Province.svg  South Chungcheong Chungcheongnam-do충청남도忠淸南道KR-442,064,6658,204 [4] 251 Hongseong Chungnam충남忠南
Flag of Gangwon Province.svg Gangwon Gangwon-do강원도江原道KR-421,549,78020,569 [5] 75 Chuncheon Gangwon Gwandong Gangwon강원江原
Flag of Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.svg  Gyeonggi Gyeonggi-do경기도京畿道KR-4112,239,86210,171 [6] 1,203 Suwon Gyeonggi Sudogwon Gyeonggi경기京畿
Flag of North Gyeongsang Province.svg  North Gyeongsang Gyeongsangbuk-do경상북도慶尙北道KR-472,739,17919,030 [7] 144 Andong Gyeongsang Yeongnam Gyeongbuk경북慶北
Flag of South Gyeongsang Province.svg  South Gyeongsang Gyeongsangnam-do경상남도慶尙南道KR-483,374,72510,532 [8] 320 Changwon Gyeongnam경남慶南
Flag of North Jeolla Province.svg  North Jeolla Jeollabuk-do전라북도全羅北道KR-451,895,8828,043236 Jeonju Jeolla Honam Jeonbuk전북全北
Flag of South Jeolla Province.svg  South Jeolla Jeollanam-do전라남도全羅南道KR-461,938,13611,858163 Muan Jeonnam전남全南
Flag of Jeju.svg  Jeju Jeju Special
Self-Governing Province
제주특별자치도濟州特別自治道KR-49583,2841,849 [9] 315 Jeju Jeju Jeju제주濟州

Claimed provinces

South Korea claims five provinces on the territory controlled by North Korea. These claimed provinces are managed by the Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces (Korean : 이북5도위원회; Hanja : 以北五道委員會). These provinces are based on the divisions of the Japanese era and are different from the present North Korean provinces.

Historical provinceName Hangul Hanja Area (km2)Capital Cultural region Abbreviation
Hamgyeong North Hamgyeong 함경북도咸鏡北道20,345 Cheongjin Gwanbuk Hambuk함북咸北
South Hamgyeong 함경남도咸鏡南道31,977 Hamheung Gwannam Hamnam함남咸南
Pyeongan North Pyeongan 평안북도平安北道28,443 Sinuiju Gwanseo Pyeongbuk평북平北
South Pyeongan 평안남도平安南道14,944 Pyeongyang Pyeongnam평남平南
Hwanghae Hwanghae 황해도黃海道16,744 Haeju Haeseo Hwanghae황해黃海

See also

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  2. "South Korea Administrative Districts". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
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  4. 일반현황 (in Korean). South Chungcheong Province. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
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  6. 위치와 자연환경 (in Korean). Gyeonggi Province. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
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