||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (April 2013)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Korean speakers: 76 million|
|Majority: non-religious and atheist. Large segments of followers of Korean Christianity, Korean Buddhism, Muism (Korean Shamanism), Cheondoism. Background of Korean Confucianism.|
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Linguistic and archaeological studies
Koreans are the descendants of the peoples of Korean Peninsula, often said to be Altaic- or proto-Altaic-speaking tribes. Archaeological evidence suggests proto-Koreans were migrants from south-central Siberia who populated ancient Korea in successive waves from the Neolithic age to the Bronze Age. The same tomb style is an indication telling who lived there. The largest concentration of dolmen in the world is found on the Korean peninsula. In fact, with an estimated 35,000 dolmen Korea counts for nearly 40% of the world's total. Similar dolmens can be found outside of Korea, in Manchuria, Shandong Peninsula, and Kyushu, yet it is unclear why this culture only flourished so extensively on the Korean peninsula compared to the area of Northeastern Asia.
Studies of polymorphisms in the human Y-chromosome have so far produced evidence to suggest that the Korean people have a long history as a distinct, mostly endogamous ethnic group, with successive waves of people moving to the peninsula and three major Y-chromosome haplogroups.
Korean males display a high frequency of Haplogroup O2b* (P49), a subclade of possibly Manchurian origin, and O3 (M122), a common Y-DNA haplogroup among East Asians in general. Haplogroup O2b* occurs in approximately 14% to 33% of all Korean males, while haplogroup O3 has been found in approximately 40% of sampled Korean males. Korean males also exhibit a moderate frequency of Haplogroup C-M217.
Korean males sporadically show Haplogroup D-M55 (Y-DNA D2), which is found in high frequencies in the Ainu of Japan. Other less common haplogroups found in Korean males are Y-DNA C, C1, O1, N, Q and R.
Studies of Korean mtDNA lineages have shown that there is a high frequency of Haplogroup D4, ranging from approximately 23% (11/48) among ethnic Koreans in Arun Banner, Inner Mongolia to approximately 32% (33/103) among Koreans from South Korea. Haplogroup D4 is the modal mtDNA haplogroup among Koreans and among Northeast Asians in general. Haplogroup B, which occurs very frequently in many populations of Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and the Americas, is found in approximately 10% (5/48 ethnic Koreans from Arun Banner, Inner Mongolia) to 20% (21/103 Koreans from South Korea) of Koreans. Haplogroup A has been detected in approximately 7% (7/103 Koreans from South Korea) to 15% (7/48 ethnic Koreans from Arun Banner, Inner Mongolia) of Koreans. Haplogroup A is the most common mtDNA haplogroup among the Chukchi, Eskimo, Na-Dene, and many Amerind ethnic groups of North and Central America.
A 2008 study about genome-wide SNPs of East Asians by Chao Tian et al. reported that Koreans are very closely related to Japanese.
North Korea and South Korea share a common heritage, but the political division since 1945 has resulted in some divergence of modern culture.
North Korean data
Estimating the size, growth rate, sex ratio, and age structure of North Korea's population has been extremely difficult. Until release of official data in 1989, the 1963 edition of the North Korea Central Yearbook was the last official publication to disclose population figures. After 1963 demographers used varying methods to estimate the population. They either totaled the number of delegates elected to the Supreme People's Assembly (each delegate representing 50,000 people before 1962 and 30,000 people afterward) or relied on official statements that a certain number of persons, or percentage of the population, was engaged in a particular activity. Thus, on the basis of remarks made by President Kim Il Sung in 1977 concerning school attendance, the population that year was calculated at 17.2 million persons. During the 1980s, health statistics, including life expectancy and causes of mortality, were gradually made available to the outside world.
In 1989 the Central Statistics Bureau released demographic data to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) in order to secure the UNFPA's assistance in holding North Korea's first nationwide census since the establishment of the state in 1948. Although the figures given to the United Nations might have been distorted, it appears that in line with other attempts to open itself to the outside world, the North Korean regime has also opened somewhat in the demographic realm. Although the country lacks trained demographers, accurate data on household registration, migration, and births and deaths are available to North Korean authorities. According to the United States scholar Nicholas Eberstadt and demographer Brian Ko, vital statistics and personal information on residents are kept by agencies on the ri ("village", the local administrative unit) level in rural areas and the dong ("district" or "block") level in urban areas.
Large-scale emigration from Korea began as early as the mid-1860s, mainly into the Russian Far East and Northeast China or what was historically known as Manchuria; these populations would later grow to nearly three million Koreans in China and several hundred thousand Koryo-saram (ethnic Koreans in Central Asia). During the Colonial Korea of 1910–1945, Koreans were often recruited and or forced into labour service to work in mainland Japan, Karafuto Prefecture, and Manchukuo; the ones who chose to remain in Japan at the end of the war became known as Zainichi Koreans, while the roughly 40 thousand who were trapped in Karafuto after the Soviet invasion are typically referred to as Sakhalin Koreans. Korean emigration to America was known to have begun as early as 1903, but the Korean American community did not grow to a significant size until after the passage of the Immigration Reform Act of 1965; as of 2010, excluding the undocumented and uncounted, roughly 1.7 million Koreans emigrants and people of Korean descent live in the United States according the official figure by the US Census. A realistic figure is probably over 2 million.
The Los Angeles and New York City metropolitan areas in the United States contain the largest populations of ethnic Koreans outside of Korea or China. Significant Korean populations are present in China, Japan, and Canada as well. There are also Korean communities in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. During the 1990s and 2000s, the number of Koreans in the Philippines and Koreans in Vietnam have also grown significantly. Koreans in the United Kingdom now form Western Europe's largest Korean community, albeit still relatively small; Koreans in Germany used to outnumber those in the UK until the late 1990s. In Australia the Korean Australian community comprise a modest minority. Koreans have migrated significantly since the 1960s. Now they form an integral part in society especially in Business, Education and Cultural areas.
The Korean population in the United States is a small share of the US economy, but it has a disproportionately favorable impact. Korean Americans have a savings rate double that of the average American and also graduate from college at a rate double that of the average American, providing a highly skilled and educated addition to the U.S. workforce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Census 2000 data, mean household earnings for Koreans in the U.S. were $59,981, approximately 5.1% higher than the U.S. average of $56,604.
A South Korean woman dressed as a Joseon Dynasty queen
Museum display of a family in traditional Korean dress during the Joseon Dynasty
Museum display of traditional Korean wedding scene during the Joseon Dynasty
- Demographics of North Korea
- Demographics of South Korea
- Korean diaspora
- List of Korea-related topics
- Korean Peninsula (50 million + 24 million) + Korean diaspora (6.8 million)
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