The Expats Are Coming
Busan’s expat population increased by 3.7 percent in 2010. Outpacing both Seoul and Japan for foreign residents legally registered with the government. Now there are 32,471 floating around town.
BUSAN, South Korea - 2010 saw the greatest increase of expats living in Busan since figures were first kept in 1992, growing to 32,471. By gender the total is comprised of 18,285 foreign males and 14,186 females. Combined, they account for 1.2 percent of the city’s 3.55 million population.
By nationality, the most substantial increase was in the Vietnamese population, which jumped significantly by 19.4 percent (821 people) from the year before. They are followed by Filipino residents who added 15.2 percent (75 people), and the Japanese who grew 8.8 percent(66 people).
Despite the substantial increase in the Vietnamese population during 2010, Chinese expats remain at the top of the list overall. Those legally registered with the city make up 8,990 people or over 27 percent of the immigrant population.
The Vietnamese are in a far second at 5,043, followed by ethnic Korean-Chinese at 4,153, Taiwanese (1,732), Indonesians (1,555) and the Filipinos (1,507).
Americans make up the largest group outside of Asia, with 1,483 residents, which is up 4.5 percent from 2009.
According to the figures, the greatest concentration of foreign nationals to reside in any one area of the city is as follows:
- Saha Gu: 3,967
- Sasang Gu: 3,830
- Gangseo: 3,675
- Nam Gu: 3,446
- Haeundae Gu: 2,748
- Busanjin: 2,348
- Geumjeong: 2,243
The area with the least number of foreigners is Yeonje Gu, which has a comparatively few 757.
Interestingly, Seoul, with its 10.2 million, has seen a trending decrease of foreign residents --losing 7.8 percent from 2008-2009.
Of the foreign population in Korea’s capital city, Ethnic Koreans born abroad account for 64.6 with 164,960, followed by Chinese with 26,277; Americans with 13,277; Taiwanese with 8,810; Japanese with 6,719; Vietnamese with 5,254; and Mongolians with 4,012.
As a whole, foreigners make up 2.3 percent of the overall population in Korea. By comparison, neighboring Japan has a 1.74 percent foreign population.
These latest figures, combined with the 2 million tourists last year makes Busan the sixth biggest city in Asia for international traffic living here or passing through.
Read a recent Korea Times article about Indian-born, Alok Kumar Roy, a Pusan University of Foreign Studies professor, and the 100,000th person to be naturalized in Korea since the first naturalization of a Taiwanese citizen in 1957.
Read more from Kevin McHugh