SEOUL, Apr. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean youths appear far more open than adults toward immigrants, as the country has seen a growing number of marriages between South Korean and foreign partners, and children born to these couples, according to a government survey released Thursday.
The survey, conducted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family between April last year and March this year, showed that youths scored 71.22 out of 100 points on an index measuring the level of people’s open-mindedness toward multicultural members of society, while adults gained 52.81 points on the index.
In the survey, which involved 4,000 male and female adults, and 4,225 middle and high school students nationwide, the index gained 3.59 points for youths and lost 1.14 points for adults compared with results of a similar survey in 2015.
By age, respondents aged 60 or older scored lowest at 48.20.
The survey also revealed that youths and adults scored 64.97 points and 45.69 points, respectively, in a sub-area asking respondents about whether immigrants should assimilate into South Korea. The lower scores indicate that many South Koreans have higher expectations that immigrants must unilaterally assimilate into South Korea.
The respondents also showed they take a twofold approach to immigrants — or a higher tendency to discriminate immigrants based on race, culture and level of their home country’s economic development — with youths and adults scoring 64.84 points and 48.25 points, respectively.
Kim I-sun, a researcher at the Korean Women’s Development Institute who took part in the survey, said the lower level of immigrant acceptance means the country may not see its acceptance level of them increase as time goes by.
In a sub-area of the survey on how respondents are willing to interact with immigrants, youths scored 78.49 points, compared with 42.48 points by adults.
Asked about their preference for a homogeneous country, adult respondents scored lower than those recorded in 2015, indicating they are more open than ever toward a multiracial country.
Almost 35 percent of adult respondents said they agreed with the idea that the acceptance of many races hurt national solidarity, compared with 37.7 percent in 2015.
In the survey, the portion of respondents who take pride in the maintenance of a pedigree for a homogenous country came to 46.5 percent from 53.5 percent in 2015.