Region: Eastern Asia
Official Language/s: Korean
Government: Presidential Republic
Education: Education in South Korea is regarded as being vital to success and as a result competition is fierce. In the most recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, South Korea came performed significantly better than Western European and North American countries. Estimated at 106, South Korea has the highest national IQ in the world.
Demographics: Due to rapid migration from the countryside during economic expansion in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s most South Koreans live in urban areas. The capital city, Seoul, is the largest city and main industrial center with 10.3 million inhabitants. Very few immigrants have remained permanently in South Korea and as result it is among the world’s most ethnically homogeneous nations. People of foreign origin contribute marginally to the population as a common language and culture is viewed as important to South Korean identity.
Religion: In 2005 around 46.5% of the South Korean population expressed no religious preference. While 29.3% of the population identified as Christian, 22.8% Buddhist, and the rest adhering Islam and various new religious movements
Language: The Korean language is spoken by the majority of the population however English is widely taught in primary school, middle school and high school, and continues to be taught in higher education. By their second year middle and high school students begin a second foreign language. Most schools offer Japanese, Chinese, and German, and students can learn basic proficiency. A great emphasis is placed on English for examination purposes.
Culture: South Korea shares its traditional culture with North Korea however the two have since developed distinct modern forms of culture. The government actively encourages traditional arts and modern forms through funding and education programs. Industrialization and urbanization has led to a concentration of population in major cities with multi-generational households separating into nuclear family living arrangements.