Geum Yi

560,000 Koreans in US are ‘limited English proficient’

July 9, 2015

EnglishKoreans rank fourth in number of all U.S. immigrants when it comes to limited English proficiency (LEP), according to the Migration Policy Institute citing the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey Wednesday.

About 560,000 Koreans in the U.S. are limited English proficient, a term used by the U.S. Census Bureau which applies to those 5 and older who speak the language less than “very well.” The LEP population was at 25.1 million in 2013, an 80 percent jump from 1990.

Koreans fall only behind Spanish, Chinese (1.5 million) and Vietnamese (767,000) speakers, but above Tagalog (484,000), Russian (480,000) and Arabic (480,000).

Second-generation Americans were not exempt — an estimated 4.7 million born to immigrant parents are LEP.

Of those second-generation LEP individuals, Koreans ranked 10th with 40,000.

California was the state with the highest LEP population, with 27 percent of the total. One in five California residents are LEP.

According to MPI, about 14 million were LEP in 1990.