The number of foreigners living in Seoul decreased for the fourth consecutive quarter, mostly from the declining population of ethnic Chinese, the Seoul metropolitan government said Tuesday.
The registered foreign population in the capital stood at 266,268 in the first quarter last year and has since fallen to 263,026 in the second; 260,167 in the third; and 255,749 in the fourth quarter. It dropped further to 255,501 for the first quarter of 2010.
Seoul officials said this was the first time that the foreign population has decreased for this many consecutive quarters since recordkeeping began in 2005. The number of foreign residents had been increasing at an average of 18.11 percent a year until last year.
Much of the reduction was apparently from the decrease in the number of ethnic Koreans, mostly those who are in South Korea to work. The decrease is likely a reflection of the slowed domestic economy, officials said.
The number of ethnic Koreans declined for the fourth consecutive quarter as well, 7.8 percent less in the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2009.
The tally showed ethnic Koreans accounting for 64.6 percent of the entire foreign population in Seoul with 164,960, followed by Chinese with 26,277; Americans with 13,277; Taiwanese with 8,810; Japanese with 6,719; Vietnamese with 5,254; and Mongolians with 4,012.
Seoul's entire population stood at 10.46 million as of the first quarter, down 0.27 percent from 10.49 million a year ago, the city findings showed.