Korean Immigrants in the United States

Report Author: 
Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Feb

Koreans in the United States are considered to be one of the most successful immigrant groups due to their high socioeconomic standing. This report examines the demographics of the Korean immigrant population using Census, Department of Homeland Security and World Bank data. While Korean migration to the U.S. increased exponentially following the Immigration Act of 1965, which lifted previous restrictions on Asian migration, Korean immigration rates have leveled off recently due to improved economic conditions in South Korea. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, the Korean population in the U.S. decreased by 40,400 people. The data show that, although Korean immigrants had higher educational attainment than the overall foreign-born population, about 52 percent of Korean immigrants over the age of five were limited English proficient. Korean immigrants also had a lower labor force participation rate than both the foreign-born and U.S.-born population (lower workforce participation by Korean women partly explains this phenomenon). More than half of Korean immigrants occupy positions in management, business, science and the arts. Between 2010 and 2014, about 198,000 Korean immigrants were living in the U.S. without authorization. With the average annual income of the Korean immigrants ($62,000) being higher than that of the foreign-born ($51,000) and the U.S.-born ($56,000) populations, the U.S. stands to benefit from the economic contributions of Korean immigrants. (Sarah Purdy for The ILC Public Education Institute)  

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Zong, J. & Jeanne Batalova (2017). Korean Immigrants in the United States. Washington DC: The Migration Policy Institute. Available here:



Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute