Korean population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metropolitan areas: There are approximately 79,400 Korean immigrants* living in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas. Among them, 43 percent are male and 57 percent are female. The largest numbers of Korean immigrants are found in Fairfax County, VA (30,100), Montgomery County, MD (12,400) and Howard County, MD (9,500). Sixty-three percent of them are naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 49 percent for all other foreign-born individuals. Forty-seven percent of Korean immigrants are proficient in English.
Korean population in the United States: The number of foreign-born Koreans in the United States has been increasing in recent decades. However, their percentage of the total foreign-born population in the United States remains stable. For example, in 1950 there were an estimated 1,803 Korean immigrants in the country. By 1980, this number increased to 265,100 and Korean immigrants constituted 2 percent of the total immigrant population. In 2000, an estimated 702,190 Korean immigrants were living in the country and by 2010 this number increased to 1,086,945. In 2017, an estimated 1,069,113 Korean immigrants were living in the country and again constitute 2 percent of the total immigrant population.
Education, Income and Housing: Korean immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas are distinguished by their high rates of educational attainment. Fifty-two percent of foreign-born Koreans over 25 years old have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in contrast with 42 percent of all other immigrants and 47 percent of native-born U.S. citizens in the region. The median earned income of Korean immigrants ($54,682) is higher than the median earned income of all other foreign-born individuals in the area ($46,581) but lower than the median earned income of native-born U.S. citizens ($64,000). Fifty-nine percent of foreign-born Koreans are homeowners which is 4 percentage points higher than all other foreign-born people and 6 percentage points lower than native-born U.S. citizens.
Employment and Occupation: The largest proportions of Korean immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas are employed in sales and related occupations (15 percent), management, business, science, and arts occupations (13 percent) and office and administrative support occupations (9 percent). The percentage of Korean immigrants employed in STEM occupations (12 percent) is nearly identical to the rest of the foreign-born population (12 percent) and native-born U.S. citizens (11 percent) in the DC and Baltimore metro areas.
Korean immigrants have the distinction of having one of the highest rates of self-employment in their own incorporated businesses among all immigrants. In the DC and Baltimore metro areas, 12 percent of Koreans are self-employed in such businesses in comparison to four percent of all other foreign-born and three percent of native-born U.S. citizens.Self-employed Korean immigrants and all other self-employed immigrants who live in DC and Baltimore metro areas have similar median incomes ($40,505). This is $20,495 less than the median income of self-employed native-born U.S. citizens in the two metro areas.
* Please note that the terms “immigrant” and “foreign born” are used interchangeably throughout this fact sheet. Foreign born refers to individuals who are not a U.S. citizen at birth or who were born outside the U.S., Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories and whose parents are not U.S. citizens. The foreign born may include naturalized U.S. citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, temporary residents, refugees and asylees, and others. Additionally, native born includes those who are U.S. citizens at birth, those born in the United States, Puerto Rico, or other U.S. territories, and those born abroad to a parent who is a U.S. citizen.