Number of foreign residents in S. Korea triples over ten years

Posted on : 2015-07-06 15:40 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Chinese nationals, many of them ethnic Koreans, still form largest group of foreign nationals

The number of foreign residents in South Korea has more than tripled over the past 10 years.

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MOGAHA) reported on July 5 that, as of Jan. 1, 2015, there were 1,741,919 foreign residents of South Korea, accounting for 3.4% of the registered population.

This represents a three-fold increase from 2006, the year the government began keeping track, when there were 537,000 foreign residents. The figure is increasing by 14.4% each year, 25 times the rate of increase of the total population (0.6%).

“Foreign residents” includes people without Korean citizenship whose period of sojourn in the country is 90 days or more, people who have attained citizenship in South Korea, and the children of these naturalized citizens as well as those who acquired residence through marriage.

Compared with the population of the 17 metropolitan cities and provinces, the number of foreign residents would rank 11th, larger than the total populations of North Chungcheong Province (1.58 million), Daejeon (1.53 million), and Gwangju (1.48 million).

The most common category was foreigners who have not attained citizenship, with 79% (1.38 million) of the total. Foreigners who have attained citizenship accounted for 9.1% (160,000) of foreign residents, with their children accounting for 11.9% (210,000). The most numerous subcategory among foreign residents who had not attained citizenship was foreign workers (610,000), representing 35%.

There were 950,000 Chinese (including 690,000 ethnic Koreans from China), making them the biggest nationality at 54.7%. 63.3% of total foreign residents live in the capital area, the study found.


By Eum Sung-won, staff reporter


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