Send to

Choose Destination
Asia Pac J Public Health. 2010 Oct;22(4):460-76. doi: 10.1177/1010539509337253. Epub 2009 May 25.

Regional variations in living conditions during the North Korean food crisis of the 1990s.

Author information

Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea.


In the 1990s, North Korea experienced one of the severest famines in modern history. Considering the level of food deprivation during famines in totalitarian states, substantial debate exists over how differently the crisis affected households and regions. Here, the authors investigate regional differences in socioeconomic living conditions by comparing height-for-age z scores (HAZs) of 9934 preschool children living in 11 administrative provinces. Data are based on 2 UN/DPRK anthropometric surveys performed in North Korea representing cohorts born from 1991 to 2002. Through regression of pooled HAZs on a set of province dummies, the authors find that children born in Pyongyang are more healthy, providing evidence that elites residing in the capital seemingly possess comparative advantages in food supply. When controlling for further variables, they find that boys and older children suffered more during the crisis, although cohorts born before the onset of the famine were significantly better-off.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center