How did LA come to have the largest Korean population in the US?

August 4, 2015

Korea Times Project, part 1B

A 1920s Korean youth baseball team (Korea Times)

A 1920s Korean youth baseball team (Korea Times)

By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff

How did Los Angeles come to have the largest Korean population in the United States?

The area’s growth as a home away from home for Korean immigrants started in 1914 with the arrival of independence activist Dosan Ahn Chang-ho from Riverside, where he had begun leading the movement.

Ahn’s settlement in Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles prompted the Young Korean Academy, an organization of patriots and intellectuals, to move its headquarters down from San Francisco.

Bunker Hills area in 1920s. (Korea Times file)

Bunker Hills area in 1920s. (Korea Times file)

Bunker Hill, home to doctors, attorneys and businessmen through the 1870s, became a base for laborers and blue collar workers in the 1920s.

It was around then that Korean immigrants began their move to Los Angeles.

A small Korean community had started blossoming within the economically booming city, which offered plenty of public schools for children and a handful of Korean establishments, from the Korean United Presbyterian Church to organizations like an early version of the Korean American association and the 2.8 Club, which was comprised of second-generation Koreans and formed in 1922. International students from Korea, though few in number, were also present in the city.

In 1930, an estimated 6,500 Koreans were living in Hawaii, and another 2,500 in the continental states, with 900 in Los Angeles.


  1. Billy Yoon

    August 4, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    Do you want more photos of the early Korean community?
    My grandfather, Choong Sup Park, purchased the stained glass window at the head of the sanctuary of Korean Presbyterian Church and donated it to the church to honor his mother.
    Go look at the bottom of the window, my grandfather’s name is on it.

  2. Do Dream

    August 11, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    Great article on the history of our amazing community!

  3. Pingback: Us Census 1930 Hawaii | beaches - kauaihawaii