Monday, December 19, 2011

Foreigners make up 3% of Korea's population

The Joongang Daily reported on the weekend that foreigners now make up 3% of Korea's population, and with over 1.4 million foreigners as of October, the foreign population has increased 13% since the end of last year. The last big news of this sort was when the number of foreigners surpassed 1 million (or 2%) in 2007.
Although international migrations to Korea decreased in 2009 for the first time since Seoul began monitoring them in 2000 mainly because of the worldwide economic slump, the trend reversed last year in line with the country’s economic recovery, the ministry said.

Migrant workers comprised the largest group of all foreign nationals, accounting for 42.5 percent, the data showed. Around 9 percent of them were illegal workers, the ministry found. By nationality, Chinese ranked first with 53.1 percent, followed by Vietnamese with 11 percent, Filipinos with 5 percent and Indonesians with 4.77 percent, according to the data.

Immigrants married to Koreans formed the second-largest group of foreign residents here, taking up 10.1 percent of the total international population in the country. Chinese ranked first, totaling 45.4 percent of all spouses, followed by Vietnamese with 25.35 percent and Japanese with 7.64 percent, according to the data. Foreign wives accounted for nearly 90 percent of the total marriage immigrants, it showed.

The third-largest group of foreign nationals here were students who came to Korea to study. Among the total 93,232 international students, 20 percent were studying the Korean language, according to the statistics. Chinese, again, turned out to be the largest group among international students here with 72.9 percent, followed by Mongolians with 5.25 percent, Vietnamese with 3.47 percent, Japanese with 2.61 percent and Americans with 1.32 percent, the data showed.
Detailed immigration statistics can be found here, (on each page, click the zip file to get excel files). There has been a large increase in the number of foreigners this year; here are the year-end stats since 2000, which I posted here last year:

2000 - 491,324
2001 - 566,835
2002 - 629,006
2003 - 678,687
2004 - 750,873
2005 - 747,476
2006 - 910,149
2007 - 1,066,273
2008 - 1,158,866
2009 - 1,168,477
2010 - 1,261,415

Here are the statistics by month this year:

1,236,385 January
1,260,841 February
1,308,743 March
1,354,414 April
1,353,967 May
1,392,167 June
1,411,013 July
1,410,259 August
1,418,149 September
1,403,355 October

Between February and July, the population increased by 150,000, which is a pretty large increase. Here's a breakdown by nation (including totals, and broken down by gender) for some countries from October of this year:

Here are the top 15 countries (or groups) by population:

Korean Chinese
Sri Lanka

Unsurprisingly, they're mostly Asian countries, with the US and Canada added in (with the US in third place).


King Baeksu said...

Korean-Chinese are members of the same Korean minjok.

Take their numbers out, and you're back to under a million non-Koreans in South Korea. Whoop-de-do.

Many Korean-Chinese I meet here in China identify as Chinese first, and many of these same individuals express no desire to visit or live in South Korea.

I wonder how many of the Korean-Chinese in South Korea identify more closely with the "motherland," in effect making them even less "foreign."

monty_internetty said...

It's interesting to see a distinction made between Chinese and Korean-Chinese only and none made for Korean-Americans or Korean-Russians.

matt said...

Actually there is a distinction for Korean Russians. But not for Koreans from any country other than Russia or China. It might be because they want to keep close tabs on those people, while it's well known Korean Americans or Canadians or Australians don't cause any problems, give or take the occasional wanted murderer or 3.

monty_internetty said...

@Matt You're right and I'm blind. The distinction might be made as Korean-Chinese and Korean-Russians are more likely to apply for full Korean citizenship. Just a guess.

Walter Foreman said...

Does the 137,945 Americans include USFK personnel? DOD?

matt said...

Yes, the figures include all military and DOD personnel as well.