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Spatial Distribution of Foreign Population and Policy Implications in South Korea

SeHoon Park 1 정소양 1

1국토연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The foreign population in South Korea has dramatically increased in recent years, sending a awakening message to government's policy circles that the nation is moving towards multicultural society in a rapid pace. This unprecedented demographic trend is expected to put a big challenge to Korea, which has long been regarded as a ethnically homogeneous nation. However, the spatial distribution have been rarely studied largely due to the lack of data available. Based on the data of registered foreigners released in 2008 and 2009 from the Ministry of Justice, this paper explores the spatial pattern of foreign population distribution by nationalities and visa types(status of residence) and its policy implication. Major findings are followings. First, the robust increase in every types of foreigners indicates that foreigners in South Korea should be considered as permanent residents rather than temporary in urban policies. Second, the Capital Region has been a main area to absorb foreign population, accommodating 66% of foreign population in South Korea. It means the area is transforming its socio-spatial structure into one of global city-region. Third, the spatial segregation by nationalities will be observed in the near future. Noted is the different spatial pattern between Korean Chinese and the foreign workers of other nationalities. Lastly, the policy circle should keep eyes on the increasing population of Korean Chinese, since they will be a key ethnic minority in South Korea, like Muslim in European countries and Mexicans in US.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.