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Korean immigration to U.S. drops

Posted February. 18, 2001 12:49,   


Long the most popular destination for Korean emigrants, the U.S. has seen the number of Korean immigrants drop steeply since the 1990s and recently numbers have reached half the level seen 20 years ago.

Koreans now account for only 2% of immigrants to the U.S., down from 6%, and Korea fell to 10th from its previous 3rd or 4th place positions on the list of countries with the most immigrants to the U.S.

Among Korean-born immigrants, the number of blue-collar immigrants dropped while the white-collar segment, including scientists, professors, doctors and professionals, increased.

These trends were revealed by members of the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper and Prof. Lee Min-Kyu of Soonchunhyang University`s press and media department based on data the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) compiled from 1980~1998.

The data showed the total number of official immigrants from 1980~1998 was 12,785,374, of which 503,695 were Koreans. Koreans accounted for 5~6% of all immigrants until 1989, when the country ranked between third and fifth place overall.

However, from 1990 onwards the numbers fell drastically. In 1997 and 1998, 14,236 and 14,267 Koreans immigrated to the U.S., respectively, accounting for only 1.8% and 2.2% of all immigrants.

In terms of ranking, Korea placed 13th and 10th, respectively, among countries that had immigrants to the U.S.

Lee Soo-Hyung sooh@donga.com