Korean American Demographics (Census 2000)

Korean American Population
Fifth largest Asian American group with a population of 1,072,682 (Korean only).

About 1.68 million Asians reported more then one Asian group or race in Census 2000 and are not included in these numbers. Actual number of Koreans would thus be more.

Population growth rates of 35.1% from 1990 to 2000 and 134.8% from 1980 to 1990.

Comprise 10.51% of the Asian American population and 0.38% of the US population.

A recent survey done by The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade counted 2,157,498 ethnic Koreans living in the U.S. in 2003.

About one-tenth of Korean Americans are adoptees who are or have been raised by mainly white families; they may be found anywhere in the country, and in most cases they do not have Korean names.

Geographical Distribution
44% live in the West, 23% in the Northeast, 19% in the South, and 14% in the Midwest.

Population – Leading States
California - 345,882 
New York - 119,846
New Jersey - 65,349
Illinois - 51,453 
Washington - 46,880
Texas - 45,571
Virginia - 45,279
Maryland - 39,155
Pennsylvania - 31,612 
Georgia - 28,745 

Leading Regions
Los Angeles, CA
New York City, NY
Washington DC Metro

96% of Korean-Americans live in metropolitan areas compared to 80% U.S. population.

Over one-third are foreign-born.
Ranked ninth in foreign-born population.
30% are naturalized citizens.
78% immigrated after 1980

78% speak Korean as their main language

Financial Indicators
Average household income of foreign-born Korean Americans: $62,064.

Average household income of native-born Korean Americans: $71,550. 

Estimated spending power of $3.6 billion.

Median Household Income of $40,183

Per capita Income of $18,027.

Buying Preferences
Korean Americans known to be extremely brand-conscious consumers. Their preference for metropolitan living provides them a means to live their metro lifestyles.

35% have bachelors degree or higher.

48.9% of foreign-born and 61.8% of native-born Korean-Americans have a bachelors degree.

32% are white-collar professionals.

Business Ownerships
Nationally Korean Americans own 20% of all dry-cleaning businesses. In Southern California they own 45% of liquor stores, 46% of small grocery markets, and 45% of one-hour photo shops. A study done of green groceries on a segment of Broadway in Manhattan, New York found that Koreans owned 75% of the groceries, and 78% of the owners had college degrees.

Popular Koreatowns and Korean enclaves in the US could be found in

Los Angeles CA (Wilshire Center, Harvard Heights, Pico Heights),
New York NY (Sixth Ave, Ave of the Americas, 32nd Street; Elmhurst, Flushing),
Annandale, VA (Little River Turnpike),
Atlanta GA (Doraville, Duluth),
Bergen County NJ (Fort Lee, Englewood Cliffs, Palisades Park, Cliffside Park, Edgewater),
Chicago IL (Lawrence Ave, Albany Park, Lincoln Ave, Northbrook, Glenview),
Dallas TX (I-35, Royal Lane),
Oakland CA (Telegraph Ave, 14th Street), and
San Diego CA (Kearny  Mesa, Convoy Street)

Church Affiliation
Church has been important community center, particularly for the il se, first generation. It is a gathering place where one can feel comfortable, talk in Korean, and make kye associations. Members of later generations are not as likely to feel such strong church connections, partly because they are less fluent in the language, but also because of cultural differences such as less emphasis on the Confucian respect for authority and acquiescence to patriarchal hierarchy.

Cultural Orientation
Korean Americans are so aware of the cultural differences across generations that they not only have special words to describe the first and second generations, il se and i se respectively, but also have given a name for the generation that was born in Korea and moved here before they were teenagers. This group is called il chom o se or generation 1.5. As would be expected difficulties with identity issues are particularly common with this generation.