Center to Study Korean-Americans

Center to Study Korean-Americans

A $200,000 grant will help the USC School of Social Work’s Center for Asian-Pacific Leadership study quality of life in Southern California.
By Ashannti Hill

The Center for Asian-Pacific Leadership at the USC School of Social Work has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Overseas Korean Foundation to conduct a national study that will investigate the overall quality of life for first- and second-generation Korean-Americans living in Southern California and the metropolitan areas of Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.

The resulting large-scale database will serve as a foundation for the advocacy and growth of social services for the Korean-American community, particularly in areas related to family and children, health and mental health, employment and workforce development language and education.

“The research is important because it will provide a valuable and open resource for other researchers and community organizations interested in and engaged with the Korean-American community,” said research associate professor Jehoon Lee, director of the Center for Asian-Pacific Leadership and principal study investigator.

“(Our studies) will not only address several challenges facing the Korean-American community but will serve as a stepping stone to build a general database on Korean-Americans. It will also provide a strong foundation for the advocacy and growth of a social service network serving the Korean-American community.”

Surveys and questionnaires focused on quality of life, household income, family size, assimilation challenges, community engagement and the accessibility of health care and social welfare support systems will be distributed to approximately 2,000 Korean-American households.

Because the metropolitan areas chosen contain the highest concentrations of Korean-Americans, representing roughly 80 percent of the group’s U.S. population, the Asian-Pacific leadership team is optimistic about obtaining solid data that will aid community and social service agencies in creating accurate grant requests to fund community needs.

The Overseas Korean Foundation is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is now home to some six million Koreans living overseas. The foundation aims to help overseas Koreans maintain a sense of national fellowship among themselves and live as exemplary citizens in the nations where they reside.

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