The Korea Herald

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First comprehensive census of North Korean defectors

By 이종민

Published : July 25, 2011 - 19:22

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Seoul will conduct its first ever census of North Korean defectors to determine their quality of life, the North Korean Refugees Foundation said Monday.

According to the public organization, they have conducted interview surveys of all North Korean refugees over 8 years old on family conditions, standard of living, education and other factors.

This is the first time the government has held a census of the more than 20,000 defectors living here, but there have been selective studies done before.

The in-house visits, by the foundation’s survey researchers, to each family started July 1 and will carry on till the end of August.

The survey will also focus on the academic life and educational experience of students, to look into the high dropout rates of defector students.

Many young defectors, through the loss of education during the defection process or the instability of life here, have low scholastic achievements. Dropout rates of North Korean youth are six times that of other students at 6.1 percent.

“The results of the survey are expected to be used as reference material in shaping support policies for North Korean defectors,” said a foundation official. As of February 2011, there are 20,689 defectors living in the south.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)