16 fascinating facts about North Korea

What goes on inside the hermit kingdom

A bit of a mystery
Everyone's heard a thing or two about North Korea, the "hermit kingdom" that sits on the east coast of China.

North Korea frequently makes headlines as its government continues to tout its military hardware and make boisterous, but so far benign, nuclear threats.

The country has also been linked to several cyber-related incidents lately, but it denies involvement.

Still, the one thing that remains a bit of a mystery is what goes on inside the hermit kingdom, as data isn't readily available or reliable. But check out below some of the things we do know about what makes the country tick:

North Korea recently created its own time zone: Pyongyang Standard Time.

North Korea created its own time zone.

Starting August 15, the country now goes by Pyongyang Time, which will bring back the country to the time zone used on the Korean peninsula before Japanese rule.

It costs $8,000 to defect from North Korea.

Since Kim Jong Un took power, it has gotten more expensive to defect from the hermit kingdom.

It costs about $8,000 to get to China, which is way more than the average North Korean can afford, considering the GDP per capita is $1,800.

The late Kim Jong Il's annual cognac expense was 800 times the average North Korean's annual income.

Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong Un, reportedly spent £700,000 on Hennessy each year. That's about $1.2 million.

The average annual income in North Korea is estimated to be between $1,000 and $2,000. We used $1,500 in our calculation.

North Koreans born after the Korean War are about 2 inches shorter than South Koreans on average.

This height difference is attributed to the fact that 6 million North Koreans are in need of food, and one-third of children are chronically malnourished.

North Korea says it has a 100% literacy rate.

The CIA says literate people are those age 15 and over who can read and write.

There are 28 state-approved haircuts.

According to Time, "Women are allowed to choose one of 14 styles; married women are instructed to keep their tresses short, while the single ladies are allowed let loose with longer, curlier locks."

Men are "prohibited from growing their hair longer than 5 cm — less than 2 inches — while older men can get away with up to 7 cm (3 inches)."

Bill Gates' net worth is an estimated five times greater than North Korea's GDP.

Bill Gates' estimated net worth is $79.5 billion.

Trading economics estimates North Korea's GDP at $15.45 billion. (There is no official figure listed at the World Bank.)

If North Korea's capital were a US city, it would be the fourth-most-populous one.

The population of Pyongyang is 2.843 million.

Theoretically, it would bump the actual fourth-most-populous US city, Houston, with a population of 2.23 million, down to fifth place.

North Korea scored a goal against Brazil in the 2010 World Cup.

But they lost, 2-1.

North Korea is about the size of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is 46,055.24 square miles, or 119,283 square kilometers.

North Korea is 120,538 square kilometers.

However, less than 20% of its land is arable. That's about the size of New Jersey.

Only 19.5% of North Korea's land is arable. That's 8,800 square miles. New Jersey is 8,722.58 square miles.

The number of people available for military service in North Korea is 2.5 times the population of Norway.

There are 6.515 million males available for military service and 6.418 million females available. Collectively, that's 12.933 million.

The population of Norway is about 5.1 million.

Only 2.83% of the roads in North Korea are paved.

There are 25,554 kilometers of roads in North Korea, but only 724 kilometers are paved.

In fact, while all of North Korea's roads could circle Mercury 1.5 times, the paved roads alone would cover only the distance between New York and Cleveland.

North Korea's roads add up to a distance of 25,554 kilometers. The circumference of Mercury is 15,329 kilometers.

The distance between Cleveland and New York is 463 miles. There are about 450 miles of paved roads in North Korea.

Qatar's GDP per capita is more than 51 times that of North Korea.

At $92,400, Qatar's GDP per capita is the highest in the world in 2014. North Korea's estimated GDP per capita in 2013 was $1,800.

North Korea was named the most corrupt country in the world — tied with Somalia.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is released annually. In 2014, North Korea was named the most corrupt nation, tied with Somalia. A score between 0 (highly corrupt) and 100 (very clean) was given to 174 countries and territories. North Korea scored an 8.


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