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Foreign residents top 2 mln in 2016, but multicultural marriages sink

All News 12:00 December 12, 2017

SEJONG, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreign residents in South Korea has more than doubled over the past decade, topping the 2 million mark in 2016, but multicultural marriages have dropped sharply, government data showed Tuesday.

The number of non-Korean citizens totaled some 2.05 million as of end-December 2016, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Their portion roughly accounted for 4 percent of the entire population.

Of the 2.05 million foreigners, the number of Vietnamese nationals came to some 150,000 in 2016, the second highest after China and replacing that of the United States for the first time. American nationals came in third with some 140,000.

China accounted for nearly half of the foreign residents, with the number coming in at 1.01 million.

This file photo, taken April 28, 2017, shows job-seeking foreigners attending a recruitment exposition in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Multicultural marriages fell some 8 percent on-year to 21,700 in 2016, the data showed.

They accounted for 7.7 percent of the country's total marriages of 281,000 in the same year, slightly up from 7.4 percent tallied in the previous year.

The number of cross-cultural marriages has been on a steady decline since it peaked at 35,098 in 2011 as the South Korean government announced a set of measures to tighten fast-rising international marriages in 2010. Under the toughened guidelines, the authorities require higher levels of Korean proficiency and certain levels of income in the issuing of a marriage visa.

The total number of multicultural marriages amounted to 152,374 last year, sharply up from 5,182 in 2001.

A joint wedding ceremony of multicultural couples takes place in Seoul on Oct. 14, 2016. (Yonhap)

The number of students from multicultural families reached 99,000 last year, also sharply up from 20,000 in 2008, which accounted for 1.7 percent of the total students at elementary, middle and high schools in the country.

The data also showed that over half of South Korean students were found to play mobile, video and Internet-based games.

Those students who are extremely addicted to mobile games or in danger of extreme addiction accounted for 0.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, of all students.

Foreign residents top 2 mln in 2016, but multicultural marriages sink - 3


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