Koreatown, Los Angeles CA

At the beginning of the 20th century, a small group of Koreans immigrated from Korea to America to work in sugar plantations on the Hawaiian Islands. Some Korean Americans moved to the mainland to continue their agricultural work, despite the difficult conditions at the plantations. They were not as well-known and tended to be scattered, not like other immigrant groups. The same discrimination was experienced by other Asian communities, including the inability to attend school in San Francisco with whites, intermarrying with whites, and not being allowed to own property in California (California Anti-Miscegenation Law 1901).

Many Korean Americans found it difficult to live in the period 1910-1940, when Japan invaded Korea. Korean Americans viewed themselves as more exiles than immigrants, and believed they could live without any country. Through the 1950s, when the majority of Korean-born immigrants were either orphans or brides from Korea, the immigration quotas helped to keep the numbers of Koreans in the country relatively small.

The Immigration Act of 1965 abolished the quota system which had limited the number of Asians permitted to enter the United States. Many Koreans, some of them from North Korea, began immigrating to America. 

Korea was one of the five most popular countries from which immigrants have come to America since 1975. Korean Americans have migrated to America for greater freedom and economic opportunity. Koreatown is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California that hosts the highest concentration of Korean immigrant residents. Koreatown is often the first destination for Latinos or Korean immigrants. This neighborhood is a place where new immigrants can make adjustment to American life. Many Koreans and Latinos living in Koreatown speak little English. Koreatown was established in the 1970s, and it became a thriving community by 1990. 

The area it covers is approximately five hundred blocks in Los Angeles’s Central and Mid-Wilshire districts. Koreatown stretches to its current borders in an area bordered by Vermont Avenue to the east, Western Avenue to the west, Beverly Boulevard and Pico Boulevard south. The Korean community was very successful by the 1990s and owned many businesses in central Los Angeles. Within a radius of three miles from Koreatown, there are 488,000 job opportunities. Koreatown is home to a large number of Asians as well as Hispanics. Although the community is heavily populated by Korean-owned businesses, the majority of residents are Latinos. 

Koreatown’s residents make up approximately half of the population. Latinos account for roughly 50 percent, with Koreans being followed closely by Whites and African Americans.

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