The most recent statistics of the South Korean government, issued in July 2011, show only slight growth compared to the 2005 statistics. Of the 4,080 Koreans recorded as living in Spain, 929 had Spanish citizenship, 2,108 had permanent residence, 216 were on student visas, and the remaining 727 had other kinds of visas.
Koreans in Las Palmas form a community distinct from that on the Spanish mainland. Theirs is the only concentration of Koreans in Spain whose presence has resulted in a recognisable Koreatown. They trace their origins to South Korean migrant workers who worked on deep-ocean fishing boats based on the island starting in the 1960s. Fishing, along with construction, was one of the main sources of overseas employment for South Koreans for decades; by the 1970s, nearly 7,000 Koreans resided in Las Palmas, making them about 2% of the city's population of 350,000. Many brought their families over and became rooted in Spain, sending their children to local schools. However, with the decline of South Korea's ocean fisheries industries in the 1990s, their population shrank, from 2,283 individuals in 1997 to just 1,292 by 1999, a number which decreased at a slower rate over the following decade to reach 1,197 by 2011. Most of the remaining Korean population have shifted away from the fishing industry, and their children have largely entered professional fields, achieving relative affluence.
The Korean community on the Spanish mainland consists mainly of two groups: primarily male small business owners and executives of South Korean companies along with their spouses and children, and primarily female international students at Spanish universities.Korean martial artists, though a smaller group, are also well represented; they either run their own dojang, or work for private security companies. They do not trace their origins exclusively to South Korea; some members of the communities of Koreans in Argentina and other Latin American countries have also settled in Spain, and South Korean businessowners often employ chosunjok from China in their businesses. Their population peaked in the 1990s and then decreased due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, during which many South Korean companies, anxious to cut costs, shifted operations out of Western Europe into the cheaper countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and China.