Nearly 5% of Korea's Newborns Are of Mixed Race

Vietnamese were the largest group of mothers of the 22,000 mixed-race infants born in South Korea in 2011, according to Statistics Korea.

Vietnamese women mothered 7,880 of all babies born to multi-cultural couples in S. Korea last year, making up 35.8% of mothers of mixed-race infants. They accounted for 1.7% of the nation’s 471,000 births last year.

The second most numerous mothers of mixed-race infants were Chinese at 26.4%, followed by Filipinas at 8.1%, Cambodians at 5.3%, Japanese at 3.7% and Mongolians at 1.3%. Collectively, mixed-race infants made up about 4.7% of all births in S. Korea in 2011.

Chinese or Korean Chinese women are the largest group of mothers of the 168,000 mixed-race children currently in S. Korea, with a total of 72,509. Vietnamese women, who began migrating more recently, make up the second most numerous group with 41,238.

The number of Vietnamese brides has surged since the mid-2000s, putting them on track to claim the top spot in about a decade.

Of the 34,256 Korean children with Vietnamese mothers as of last year, 29,088, or 86%, were under the age of six, according to a recent survey by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. This high ratio reflects the relatively recent immigration of most Vietnamese women married to Korean men.

Other factors contribute to the rapid growth in number of Vietnamese women among mothers of Korea’s mixed-race children. Vietnamese brides are typically in their early 20s and are marrying for the first time, improving their chances of becoming pregnant, according to Lee Sang-lim of the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. They are also more likely to marry men who live in rural regions where large families are more actively encouraged.