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South Korea Table of Contents

South Korea


Health conditions have improved dramatically since the end of the Korean War. Between 1955 and 1960, life expectancy was estimated at 51.1 years for men and 54.2 years for women. In 1990 life expectancy was 66 years for men and 73 years for women. The death rate declined significantly, from 13.8 deaths per 1,000 in 1955-60 to 6 deaths per 1,000 in 1989--one of the lowest rates among East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

Nevertheless, serious health problems remained in 1990. South Korea's infant mortality rate was significantly higher than the rates of other Asian countries and territories such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and peninsular Malaysia. Although practically all the inhabitants of Seoul and other large cities had access to running water and sewage disposal in the late 1980s, environmental pollution and poor sanitation still posed serious threats to public health in both rural and urban areas.

Data as of June 1990