Multicultural families double over eight yearsThe number of people in multicultural families in Korea has more than doubled over the past eight years, reaching over 820,000 this year, according to a main opposition lawmaker on the National Assembly’s Gender Equality and Family Committee on Monday.
That same period also saw the number of foreigners who have married Koreans double and the number of naturalized citizens spike.
The number of people in multicultural families in 2007 was just 330,000, but surpassed 700,000 by 2012, according to Rep. Jin Sun-mee, a first-term lawmaker in the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD).
And within the past three years, it increased by an additional 100,000. This includes the spouses and the children of multinational couples.
Similarly, the number of foreigners married to Korean citizens and naturalized citizens reached 305,446 in 2015, according to data acquired by Jin from the Gender Equality Ministry analyzing multicultural marriage and naturalization trends between 2007 and 2015.
This also includes the 147,382 immigrants married to Koreans who have yet to acquire citizenship here, the 92,316 who have become naturalized citizens through the marriage and the 65,748 naturalized by other means.
This figure is up some 215 percent from 2007, when the number of foreigners married to Koreans or became naturalized citizens stood at 142,015. Of those, 87,964 were immigrants married to Koreans but did not hold Korean citizenship, 38,991 were naturalized through marriage and 15,060 naturalized through other means.
By 2012, there were 144,214 foreigners married to Koreans who did not have Korean citizenship and another 76,473 who were naturalized citizens through marriage.
“Our society is becoming a multicultural society at an extremely rapid pace,” Jin said. “We need to transcend policies that simply help these people adjust to Korean society and, rather, enable policies that will help foster tolerance in our society.”
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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