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Foreign population in Korea decentralised from Seoul to major cities and provinces

KOREA (Korea Herald/ANN) -- The population of foreign residents in South Korea has decentralised from Seoul to other parts of the country, and has become more diverse in terms of nationality, a study said Wednesday.
According to researchers at Chonnam National University, Seoul was home to 30.8 percent of foreigners residing in Korea in 2010, but its share dropped to 22.7 percent in 2018.

View of Daelim Traditional Market in Yeongdeungpo-gu, western Seoul.     --Photo Yonhap

Over the same period, the proportion of foreign residents living in Gyeonggi Province grew from 30.3 percent to 33.8 percent.
The two provinces of Chungcheong were home to 5.8 percent of the population in 2018, up 1.7 percentage points from 2010. Those living in Gwangju accounted for 1.81 percent in 2018, compared to 1.38 percent in 2010.
During the eight-year period, South Korea as a whole saw its foreign population grow from 920,887 to 1.65 million. All major cities and provinces reported a net growth in foreign resident figures.
Seoul’s foreign resident population jumped from 283,298 people in 2010 to 374,425 in 2018, and Gyeonggi Province saw its figure more than double from 278,997 to 558,197, the study said.
The number of foreign residents in Busan grew 69.2 percent from 32,809 to 55,506, while the figure for Daegu was up 74 percent to 35,280 in 2018. Gwangju’s foreign resident population more than tripled to 38,698.
The study also found that the population has become more diverse.
In 2010, Korean-Chinese residents were the mainstay of foreigners residing in Korea, taking up nearly two-thirds of the total. In 2018, they accounted for 32.1 percent. The decline in the share of the single largest group was relayed to greater proportions of people from Southeast Asian countries.
The study was based off of foreign residency data from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
Researchers said the proportion of foreigners rose in non-capital regions due to opening of new industrial complexes and increased demand for foreign workers in rural and coastal areas.
In Seoul, the epicenter of foreigner residency in Yeongdeungpo-gu, western Seoul, which gradually disseminated to various parts within Gyeonggi Province, researchers added.

(Latest Update November 12, 2020)

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