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South Korea’s Demographic Shift: Political and Social Implications

Bernstein – Offit Building, Room 500
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036

 South Korean society today is experiencing an unprecedented demographic change as foreign residents now make up more than three percent of the current population and are projected to reach 10% by 2030. Hundreds of thousands of naturalized Korean citizens originating from China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe and the over 200,000 “multicultural children” of half Korean parentage are new additions to the traditionally homogeneous ethnonational society.  The presence and increase of multi-ethnic Koreans and long-term foreign residents prompt serious questions and transformations for South Korea’s domestic politics and foreign policy.

 On April 14, Dr. Katharine H.S. Moon, SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies and Senior Fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, will discuss her recent research on the evolving demographics of South Korea and what this shift toward a multicultural society means for South Korea’s democracy.

 Dr. Katharine (Kathy) H.S. Moon is the inaugural holder of the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies and Senior Fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. She also is a professor of Political Science and Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Smith College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, Department of Politics. She was born in San Francisco.  Kathy Moon’s analytical approach is to bridge domestic politics and foreign policy.  She is currently working on a book that analyzes the impact of demographic change (including defectors and immigrants) in South Korea on Korean democracy and foreign policy. She is the author of Protesting America: Democracy and the U.S.-Korea Alliance (2013), Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations (1997 & 2002), and numerous articles on the Koreas, U.S.-East Asia relations, and women/gender in international relations.  Moon’s op-eds and media interviews have been circulated worldwide. For details, see

Featured Speakers
Dr. Katharine H.S. Moon
SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies and Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution