The Korean Community in the New York-New Jersey Area in the 1980s*
This article takes a historical overview of the Korean community in the New York-New Jersey area in the 1980s. In order to examine the special characteristics of the decade, it focuses on the following four topics: (1) the explosive immigration of Koreans to the U.S. and the New York area, (2) the settlement patterns of Korean immigrants in the New York area and the establishment of Korean enclaves, (3) Korean immigrants’ commercial activities in the New York area, and (4) Korean merchants’ business-related intergroup conflicts and reactive solidarity. The 1980s was the peak decade of Korean immigration to the U.S., with 30,000 to 36,000 Korean immigrants per year. They created a Korean enclave in the Flushing area with a Korean business district along Union Street between 41st Avenue and 33rd Street. The decade was also the period of Korean immigrants’ active business involvement in New York with the highest self-employment rate. In the 1980s, there were most Korean wholesale and trade companies in the Broadway Korean Business District in Manhattan among all decades. Finally, Korean retail store owners in New York City had most of their business-related intergroup conflicts, especially with white suppliers and black customers, in the 1980s.
*This article was published in the Journal of Choong-Ang Historical Studies, Volume 36 (2012): 573-640. The Research Center for Korean Community expresses thanks to the journal for giving permission to post the PDF file of the article on Korean American Data Bank for U.S. readers.