The number of South Korean nationals who left their home country for the purpose of permanent residence in foreign nations dropped to a record low last year, as the nation’s economy continues to improve, a report showed Sunday.
A total of 899 people left South Korea to emigrate in 2010, down 22 percent from the previous year, according to the report by the Foreign Ministry. It marked the first time that the annual figure fell below 1,000 since the government began compiling data in 1962.
The number of South Koreans departing to live in foreign nations peaked in 1976, when the figure stood at 46,533, the data showed.
Since then, emigration from South Korea has steadily declined, falling below 10,000 in 2003.
Between 2003 and 2010, the number plunged by more than 90 percent, according to the data.
On the contrary, the number of South Koreans born overseas but returning to their home country rose 41.7 percent for the eight-year period, it showed.