Cover image for The Korean Americans
The Korean Americans
Hurh, Won Moo.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xvi, 190 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.K6 H875 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Korean Americans are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States. Although they share many similar cultural characteristics with other Asian Americans, the Korean Americans are unique in terms of their strong ethnic attachment, extensive participation in Christian churches, heavy involvement in self-employed small businesses, wide geographic dispersion in settlement, and the emergence of the 1.5 generation phenomenon. This book answers the following questions for the student or interested reader:

- Who are the Korean people?

- Why did they come to the United States?

- How did they adapt to their new country?

- How are they received by the majority of Americans?

- What are their accomplishments, problems, and contributions to American society?

Other special features include:

- An extensive coverage on the ethnic background (history, language, religion, customs, and other cultural heritage) of Korean Americans.

- Current statistical data on Korean immigration to the United States.

- A comprehensive analysis of socioeconomic characteristics of Korean Americans as compared with those of other minority groups.

- A succinct analysis of the unique characteristics of Korean Americans.

- Effective use of personal narratives.

In 1970 there were about 70,000 Korean Americans--the number grew tenfold to about 790,000 in 1990. The Korean American population is now estimated at well over a million, and demographic projections indicate that the number will reach about three million by the year 2030. Korean Americans are thus among the new groups of Americans to become another integral part of the American history of cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity. Examined are the most significant areas of Korean American's adaptation--economic adjustment, sociocultural adaptation, family life, ethnic associations, intergroup relations, and psychological adjustment. In each area of adaptation, positive attainment as well as the problems of adjustment are analyzed in light of current theories and empirical research. The book concludes with a discussion of the unique characteristics of Korean Americans and their impact on society.

Author Notes

WON MOO HURH, born in Korea, is Professor of Sociology at Western Illinois University. His specialization includes race and ethnic relations, social psychology, and comparative sociology. His recent publications include Korean Immigrants in America (1984) and Personality in Culture and Society (1997). Currently he serves on the Advisory Board for the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xi
Series Forewordp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Part I Backgroundp. 1
1. Korean Ethnic Roots: The Land, History, People, and Culturep. 3
Landp. 3
Historyp. 4
Peoplep. 11
Culturep. 12
Part II Coming to Americap. 29
2. Korean Immigration to the United States: A Historical Overviewp. 31
General Background of Korean Immigrationp. 31
Causes and Characteristics of Korean Immigrationp. 36
Part III Adjustment and Adaptationp. 49
3. Economic Adjustmentp. 51
Demographic Characteristicsp. 51
Socioeconomic Characteristicsp. 53
4. Cultural and Social Adaptationp. 69
Cultural Assimilationp. 70
Social Adaptationp. 73
Strong Ethnic Attachment and Selective Assimilationp. 79
The Next Generation of Korean Immigrantsp. 80
5. Family Lifep. 83
The Korean American Family-Kinship Systemp. 83
The Structure of the Korean American Familyp. 85
Korean Immigrant Wives' Burden of Double Rolesp. 88
Socialization of Korean American Childrenp. 93
Care of the Elderlyp. 101
6. Korean Ethnic Associationsp. 105
The Korean Ethnic Churchp. 107
Korean Buddhist Temples in Americap. 114
Other Ethnic Associationsp. 115
7. Intergroup Relationsp. 121
Relations with White (European) Americansp. 123
Relations with African Americansp. 131
Relations with Other Asian Americansp. 137
8. Psychological Adjustmentp. 141
Gender Differences in Mental Healthp. 142
Length of Residence and Mental Healthp. 142
Profiles of Korean Immigrants' Mental Healthp. 146
Part IV Conclusionp. 159
9. Unique Characteristics of Korean Americans and Their Impact on American Societyp. 161
Korean Ethnic Churchp. 162
Self-Employment in Small Businessp. 162
Urban Middle-Class Background and Its Implicationsp. 163
The 1.5 Generation Phenomenonp. 164
Korean Americans' Impact on American Societyp. 165
Appendix Notable Korean Americansp. 169
Referencesp. 173
Further Readingp. 185
Indexp. 187