Ireland -v- South Korea

I decided I’d analyse the data out there and give a comparison betweenIreland and Korea. Make your own assumptions.

Korea – The People

Population: 48.75 million punters – Seoul 10 million punters
Nationality: noun – Korean(s)
adjective – Korean
Urbanised: 83%
Median age: 38
Life expectancy: 79
Population growth: 0.23%
Religion:  Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)
Education expeditures: 4.7% of GDP

Ireland – The People

Population:  4.6 million punters – 1.1 million punters
Nationality: noun – Irishman(men),  Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective – Irish
Urbanised: 62%
Median age: 34
Life expectancy: 80
Population growth: 1%
Religion: Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2% (2006 census)
Education expenditures: 4.9% of GDP

South Korea – The Country

Pre-colonial dynasties include: Joseon (1392-1897), Goryeo (918-1392), “Three Kingdoms” (57BC – 936)
Independence: 1945 (colonised by Japanese from 1911-1945)
Division of Korea: 1945
Government: Capitalist oligarchic republic.
Suffrage: 19
Area: South 99,720 sq km
Coordinates: 37 00 N, 127 30 E.
Highest point: Mt. Halla at 1,950 metres.
Coastline: 2413 kilometres.
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest.
Current weather: Mostly cloudy with small outbreaks of sun and rain with a light southerly breeze. Slight chance of thunderstorms throughout day. Temperatures of 25C-27C, with humidity at 84%.

Ireland – The Country

Pre-colonial influences include: Celtic, Viking, Norman.
Independence: 1921 (colonised by British from 12th Century onwards)
Government of Ireland Act: 1920
Government: Republic of Tools
Suffrage: 18
Area: 70,273 sq km
Coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W
Hightest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Coastline: 1,448 km
Natural hazards: NA
Current weather: Outbreaks of rain this evening will become more widespread overnight. It will be a close humid night with lowest temperatures of 13 or 14 degrees.

South Korea – Economical things

GDP: 1.45 trillion USD
GDP per capita: 30,000 USD
Labour force: 24.6 million
Unemployment: 3.4%
Population below poverty line: 15%
Labour force occupation: agriculture: 7.3%, industry: 24.3%, services: 68.4%.
Agricultural production: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish
Industrial production: electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
Exports: semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals (worth $466.3 billion, seventh in the world)
Imports: machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics ($417.9 billion, tenth in the world)

Ireland – Economical things

GDP: 172 million USD
GDP: 37,000 USD
Labour force: 2.15 million
Unemployment rate: 14%
Population below poverty line: 5.5%
Labour force occupation: agriculture: 5%, industry: 20%, services: 76%.
Agricultural production: beef, dairy products, barley, potatoes, wheat
Industrial production: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing; medical devices
Exports: machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products (115 billion USD, 34th in the world)
Imports: data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing (70 billion, 38th in the world)

Korea – Communications and Transport

Landline telephones: 20 million (2009)
Mobile telephones: 48 million (2009)
Internet users: 39 million (2009)
Paved roadways: 80,642 km (includes 3,367 km of expressways)
Railways: 3,381 km
Waterways: 1,608 km

Ireland – Communications and Transport

Landline telephones: 2.1 million (2009)
Mobile telephones: 4.9 million (2009)
Internet users: 3 million (2009)
Paved roadways: 96,036 km (includes 896km of expressways)
Railways: 3,237 km
Waterways: 956 km


Here are some more little individual comparisons to give you “an idea” of … eh… the comparative difference.

According to Mercers ‘Cost of Living’ Survey, where do both capital cities stand?
Seoul – 14th most expensive city in the world.
Dublin – 42nd most expensive city in the world.

The iPod index has calculated long it takes a worker to afford an iPod (granted, it’s not an iPhone which you don’t really have to be able to afford in Korea, they just give them to you).
Ireland – 10 hours
Korea – 22 hours

Price of a Big Mac
Ireland – 4.93 USD
Korea – 3.50 USD

Number of vehicles per 1000 of population
Ireland – 542 (2006)
Korea  – 338 (2007)

International tourist arrivals
Ireland – 7.2 million (2009)
Korea – 8.8 million (2010)

Alcohol consumption in litres per capita
Ireland – 14.41 (world ranking: 16)
Korea – 14.8 (world ranking: 14)

Tea consumption in kilograms per capita
Ireland – 2 (world ranking: 3)
Korea – NA

Coffee consumption in kilograms per capita
Ireland – 3.5kg
Korea – 1.8kg

Meat consumption in kilograms per capita
Ireland – 106kg (2002) – 55kg (1950)
Korea – 48kg (2002) – 4kg (1950)

Cost (Euro) of a litre of milk
Dublin – 1.40
Seoul – 1.38

Cost (Euro) of 2kg of potatoes
Dublin – 2.96
Seoul – 3.64

Cost (Euro) of 500ml beer in a supermarket
Dublin – 1.77
Seoul – 1.27

Number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Ireland – 2
Korea – 10

UNESCO Cities of culture
Ireland – Dublin (Literature & shortlist for design in 2012)
Korea – Incheon (folk and craft arts), Seoul (design)

National Parks
Ireland – 6
Korea – 20

Current FIFA World Rankings position
Ireland – 33
Korea – 28

All information came courtesy of the CIA International Factbook, Wikipedia, Met Eirreann, KMA, The Guardian, and

2 thoughts on “Ireland -v- South Korea

  1. The statistics are interesting. I’ve heard Koreans spoken of as the Irish of Asia (often in reference to public drunkenness) and then of course someone always jumps in and says it’s an insult to the the Irish – or to the Koreans, depending on who is talking.

    Another similarity: they are both nations that have been divided asunder, violently, by foreign dogmas and historical forces. That might be the most important similarity.


    • I think that both characteristics have something to do with the Irishness of Koreans. Although, I just felt it might be interesting to do a statistical comparison. It’s nice to know that the statistics support the generalisations about the drrrrink!


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