South Chungcheong Province, or Chungcheongnam-do (abbreviated Chungnam), is a province in the west of South Korea. The province was formed in 1896 from the south-western half of the former Chungcheong Province and remained a province of Korea until the country's division in 1945, thereafter becoming part of South Korea. In 2012, the provincial capital moved from Daejeon to Hongseong.
Chungnam is South Korea's richest province, with a 2012 GDP per capita of $56,133, a level of living standard higher than that of Norway and higher than the United States. It is by far South Korea's fastest growing region, with an average GDP growth of 9.7% in 2001-2007 that accelerated to 12.4% in 2010. Such rapid growth transformed it from a mostly agricultural to a highly industrialized economy in the 21st century.
One third of the province's area is under cultivation. Aside from agriculture, marine products are of importance. There are 220 square kilometres (85 sq mi) of exposed beach which is used to produce salt by solar evaporation. There is coal mining, but gold and silver mines are also found in Chungcheongnam-do, as is Monazite (a rare thorium bearing mineral) and zircon.
At 845 metres, Mount Gyeryong is the most notable elevation. It is located in a national park which is noted for its unique rock features. Apart from the stone formations there are a number of old temples. These include Gwanchok-sa, a temple which is home to the largest stone Buddha in Korea. In 1978 the Taean Marine National Park was opened. It includes some of the country's best bathing beaches.
In early 2007, the Republic of Korea government decided to create a special administrative district out of part of the present Chungcheongnam-do Province, near what is now Daejeon. The new district will be named Sejong Special Autonomous City, and was to replace Seoul as the future capital of the Republic of Korea. However, in 2009, it was determined that replacing Seoul as new national capital[clarification needed] would violate the South Korean Constitution by Constitution Court. Now Sejong City may only serve as a National Administrative Capital and Secondary capital alongside Seoul, representing about 36 government ministers and agencies, including the Prime Minister's office, as of 2015.
According to the census of 2005, of the people of South Chuchcheong 20.5% follow Buddhism and 28.7% follow Christianity (19.6% Protestantism and 9.1% Catholicism). 50.8% of the population is mostly not religious or follow Muism and other indigenous religions.