Population

According to the Korean Repository of 1892, the only honest answer to the question "What is the population of Korea?" was that "a definite figure cannot be reached at present." Estimates varied from 5 million to 29 million. The Korean census printed under government auspices in 1885 reported the population (probably a sizable overestimate) as about 28 million (15,004,292 males and 13,003,109 females). According to Woods, the population of Seoul in 1884 was about 500,000 inhabitants, but Percival Lowell suggested that about 250,000 people lived within the 10 square miles of the city (Bohm and Swartout, Jr. 1984).

In 1944, the population was estimated at about 23 million Koreans and about 630,000 Japanese, but by this time epidemic diseases were being tamed by public health work, quarantine regulations, and vaccinations against smallpox, typhoid fever, and cholera. Nevertheless, tuberculosis, intestinal diseases, venereal diseases, and leprosy (despite isolation of lepers) remained as public health problems (Simmons et al. 1944).

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