In this keynote address before the Urban Libraries Council, Audrey Singer discusses the implications of immigration for population change in U.S. metropolitan areas.
Between expats, migrant workers, military personnel, and foreign brides, 1.5 million people—or 3 percent of Korea’s population—are foreign-born. That’s expected to grow to 10 percent by 2030, which is on par with European societies today. This is a huge social change for a society that has been homogeneous in so many ways for hundreds and hundreds of years. [Koreans are taught that they come from a] thousand years of ‘pure’ ancestral bloodlines, common language, customs, and history.
[Following a bailout from the International Monetary Fund during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, South Koreans] took it personally that the foreign West was intent on basically putting down this country that had become an economic miracle in such a short period of time.