The Silent Minority: L.A.’s Korean Community Grows and Flourishes
By Steven Mikulan in City News
Friday, Aug. 21 2009
Two stories today show that Los Angeles’ large Korean community is not confined to popular notions of one, fixed Koreatown. Associated Press focuses on the spread of Catholic influence among Korean immigrants. Their lack of strong ties to any one particular religious belief, according to the AP, makes newly arrived Koreans particularly open to the appeal of American Catholicism — which is benefiting from a higher than average immigrant conversion rate among Koreans.
“From 1999 to 2007,” AP reports, “the Korean Catholic population in the United States grew 32 percent to roughly 108,000.” That increase was especially felt in “Orange County[, which] has been a hub for the Korean immigration boom. From 2000 to 2007, the county’s Korean population grew nearly 50 percent to about 83,000, outpacing the community’s growth in California and the country.”
One of the reasons for the flight of many Korean Americans from Central Los Angeles were the 1992 riots and, inevitably, the promise of better schools in bedroom communities such as Irvine and Fullerton.
Meanwhile, in a New American Media feature about the rise of political activism among previously quiet Asian immigrants, the executive director of L.A.’s Korean Resource Center discusses the large number of Koreans illegally entering America.
“In the Korean-American community alone, one in five is undocumented,” says Dae Joong Yoon. “Many of them are under the age of 18.”