New York City to Vote on Korean American Day

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

New York City will vote on a resolution on Monday to designate Jan. 13 as Korean American Day, reports the Queens Chronicle. The date is intended to commemorate the anniversary of the first Korean immigrants’ arrival on U.S. soil in 1903.

“Korean Americans have made tremendous contributions to many sectors of our society,” said Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), who introduced the legislation. “For example, they own and operate 192,465 businesses in the country, of which 23,948 are in New York State.”

The resolution notes that 56 men, 21 women and 25 children left Korea and sailed across the Pacific Ocean, reaching Honolulu, Hawaii on Jan. 13, 1903. The Koreans were fleeing from political oppression and poverty, hoping to find new opportunities in America.

The city council’s Committee on Cultural Affair, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations has jurisdiction over the proposed measure. There are currently over 1.4 million Korean Americans living in the United States, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. An estimated 96,741 NYC residents are of Korean descent, and two thirds of them live in Queens.

The Korea Times US reported today that the number of first-generation Koreans have just passed the one million mark, citing data from the American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau. However, that group is steadily losing ground to second-generation Korean Americans.

First-generation Koreans make up 74.9 percent of the U.S. Korean population. That’s slightly lower than 2005, when they made up 78.9 percent of Koreans in the U.S. Compared to other Asian Americans, 62.6 percent of Chinese Americans and 42.3 percent of Japanese Americans are first-generation.

Photo courtesy of Korea Times US