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Los Angeles

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to 333,569 Koreans with the 95% of the Korean population residing in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County. Key neighborhoods with significant Korean communities include Koreatown in Los Angeles along with Anaheim, Garden Grove, Granada Hills, Winnetka, Encino, Pacific Palisades, Irvine, Glendale, and Fullerton.

Demographic Data

The Korean senior population in Los Angeles saw a notable 30.6% increase between 2011 and 2016, but this growth slowed to 5.8% between 2016 and 2021. During this later period, the 50-64 age group within the Korean senior population experienced a decline.

  • Korean seniors in Los Angeles have consistently lower median household incomes and higher poverty and near-poverty rates compared to both the general senior and Asian senior populations.
  • Korean seniors aged 65 and over face significantly higher poverty and near-poverty rates compared to those aged 50 to 64, and their median household income is notably lower as well.
  • Korean senior households in Los Angeles rely less on retirement funds for their household income compared to the general senior population in the area.
  • In comparison to general senior households (13.5%) and Asian senior households (18.2%), a smaller percentage of Korean senior households (7.8%) receive retirement income.
  • Korean seniors have consistently had a higher rate of limited English proficiency compared to both the general senior and Asian senior populations.
  • Among Korean seniors in Los Angeles, those aged 65 and over consistently have a higher rate of limited English proficiency compared to Koreans aged 50-64.
  • In Los Angeles, Korean senior households rent more often than general senior and Asian senior households, and they also experience higher rates of rent burden and severe rent burden.
  • Korean senior households have a higher rate of severe overcrowding compared to the general senior and Asian senior households in Los Angeles.
  • Korean seniors in Los Angeles have more limited access to the internet and smartphones compared to both the general senior and Asian senior populations.

Survey Findings

Among the 100 survey participants from Los Angeles, 50% were aged 50-64, 20% were 65-74, 26% were 75-84, and 4% were 85 or older. The gender distribution was equal with an even split between male and female participants. 58% of participants relied on Medicare or Medicaid for healthcare coverage, 37% had private insurance, and 3% were uninsured. Notably, among those aged 65 and older, 34% were still in the labor force.

  • 58% of participants are renters.
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of participants were open to the idea of living in an assisted living facility. Among factors influencing their choice of a senior center, 38% prioritized cost and 20% valued proximity to family the most.
  • 42% of participants expressed a preference for remaining at home when in need of long-term care while approximately one-third (33%) preferred moving to an assisted living facility instead.
  • Most participants (82%) drive as their main form of transportation. Of these, 26% plan to drive until their 70s, over half (52%) until their 80s, and a smaller group (13%) expect to continue driving into their 90s.
  • About one-third of participants avoided or were unhappy with public transit because they lived too far from the nearest stations (34%) or they felt unsafe (33%).
  • 44% of participants said it was at least sometimes physically demanding to get to places outside of their home.
  • 79% of participants turned to family members and 14% to friends for help when needed.
  • More than half of the participants (54%) found that not having enough information made it hard to get the professional caregiving they needed. Language barriers prevented 39% of participants from accessing such services, and 22% struggled to afford the cost.
  • Around a third of participants (31%) rated their health as 5 or lower out of 10, with 1 being the worst health status. Nearly half (45%) suffered from chronic cholesterol issues, and a quarter (25%) had hypertension.
  • 90% of participants had somewhere to go or someone to call if they were to become sick.
  • A lack of information prevented 42% of participants from accessing healthcare while language barriers posed issues for 39% of participants.
  • About a third of participants (33%) felt their income didn’t fully cover basic needs with another 29% finding it barely adequate. Of these participants, 58% were primarily concerned about affording rent with their current income. Food and transportation were also significant issues, cited by 20% and 17% of those feeling financially stressed, respectively.
  • Nearly half (40%) of participants reported experiencing isolation or anxiety occasionally. Of those participants, 23% identified physical health issues as their main stressors. Other issues, such as pandemic-related lockdowns (19%) and anti-Asian hate crimes (19%), also exacerbated these feelings for participants. 
  • 27% of participants did not feel they had access to professional mental health services that addressed their needs.
  • Among those hesitant to engage in broader social activities, cost was the primary deterrent for 22% of participants while 12% were discouraged by the distance to venues.
  • Most participants (61%) learned about programs and services through friends or relatives. Newspapers were the next most popular source for 44% of participants, followed by social media for 34%, and community magazines or flyers for 14%.
  • Participants expressed the most interest in expanded mental health support and services (35%), followed by legal assistance (27%), hobby or interest clubs (25%), and improved public transportation access (17%).

Technical Notes

This analysis utilizes data from the 2016 and 2021 American Community Survey 5-year Public Use Microdata Samples, focusing on the “alone” Census category for the Korean population. This means that the term “Korean alone” refers to individuals who identified exclusively as Korean without reporting affiliation with any other ethnic category. Respondents who identified as Korean in addition to another racial group (for instance, Korean and Black) are not included in the “Korean alone” count. In any analysis leveraging Census Bureau data, the “alone” figure should be regarded as the minimum size of the population under consideration.


This report was co-authored by Linying He, Associate Director of Research, and Research Associates, Dena Li and Yuncheng Wang. Special thanks to Meera Venugopal, Director of Communications, Jenny Shin, Senior Communications Coordinator, and Annie Yang, Social Media Coordinator, for their design and editorial input. Illustrations were designed by Michelle Kwon, freelance illustrator and animator. Rushil Shakya, freelance web consultant, contributed to web development.

AAF is grateful the following member organizations for their contributions to this report: Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS – New York, NY), Asian Women’s Christian Association (AWCA – New Jersey), Korean Resource Center (KRC – Los Angeles, CA), Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington (KCSC – Washington, D.C.), HANA Center (Chicago, IL), Woori Juntos (Houston, TX), and Korean American Community Services (San Francisco).

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Korean American Community Foundation, Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco, Judith Ehm Foundation and Southpole Foundation