Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

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New Jersey

New Jersey hosts one of the largest Korean populations in the United States, totaling 100,643 individuals. A significant majority, 62%, reside in Bergen County. The neighborhoods of Palisade Park, Fort Lee, Edgewater, Ridgefield, Leonia, and Englewood have the highest concentration of Korean residents.

Demographic Data

From 2011 to 2021, the total population of Korean seniors grew by more than 60%. Within this demographic, the number of Koreans aged 50-64 was double that of those aged 65 and older. Additionally, the population of Koreans aged 80 and above saw an increase of over 50% from 2016 to 2021.

  • Korean seniors aged 65 and older in New Jersey have consistently had higher poverty rates compared to both the broader Asian population and the general population of the state.
  • The median household income of Korean seniors is lower than that of both the overall senior population and Asian seniors in New Jersey.
  • Korean seniors aged 65 and older face much higher poverty and near-poverty rates compared to Korean seniors aged 50 to 64. Additionally, their median household income is significantly lower than that of Koreans aged 50 to 64.
  • In New Jersey, households led by Korean seniors aged 65 and over, regardless of their income level (whether in the top or bottom 10 percent), receive a smaller proportion of their household income from retirement funds and a larger proportion from Social Security benefits compared to households led by general seniors and Asian seniors in the state.
  • Korean seniors aged 65 and older consistently have a higher rate of limited English proficiency compared to both the Asian population of all ages and the general population in New Jersey within the same age group.
  • In New Jersey, Korean senior households have a higher percentage of rentals than both general senior households and Asian senior households. Furthermore, Korean seniors aged 50-64 who are renting their homes experience higher rates of rent burden and severe rent burden compared to both the general senior population and Asian seniors in the state.
  • Korean senior households in New Jersey experience higher rates of overcrowding and severe overcrowding compared to households led by seniors overall.
  • Korean seniors in New Jersey generally have better access to the internet and smartphones compared to the general senior and Asian senior communities. However, those aged 65 and above lag behind their peers in both the Asian and overall populations in terms of smartphone usage.

Survey Findings

Among the 107 survey participants from New Jersey, 28% were aged between 50-64, 46% were 65-74, 24% were 75-84, and 2% were aged 85 years and older. 58% of participants were female and 42% were male. Among those aged 65 and over, 25% were still employed, with 13% working full-time and 12% part-time. In terms of healthcare coverage, a majority of the participants (64%) depended on Medicare or Medicaid, 27% had private insurance, and 7% lacked any form of coverage.

  • Half of the participants were renters, with 22% of them spending more than 30% of their income on housing and therefore experiencing rent burden.
  • Nearly half of the participants (49%) indicated a preference for staying in their own homes if long-term care becomes necessary. Another 26% believed moving to an assisted living facility would be ideal for such care.
  • After cost, cultural activities ranked as the second most significant factor influencing participants’ choice of assisted living facilities.
  • 79% of participants drive as their primary means of transportation.
  • 21% of participants felt unsafe using public transportation while 36% found it inconvenient. 
  • About a third of participants (33%) said it was at least sometimes physically demanding to get to places outside of their homes.
  • 28% of participants 65 years and older either could not or were only somewhat able to independently complete their normal daily activities without difficulty.
  • 79% of participants looked to family members when in need of help.
  • 52% of participants identified a lack of information as barrier to accessing professional caregiving while 35% reported language barriers as an obstacle to obtaining such care.
  • Half of the participants rated their health as 8 or higher out of 10, with 1 being the worst health condition. Hypertension was the most frequently reported chronic condition, affecting 47% of participants, followed by high cholesterol, which impacted 39%.
  • Most participants (95%) knew where to go or who to call if they were to become sick, and 94% of participants had a primary care physician.
  • The primary obstacles to healthcare access identified by participants were insufficient information (42%) and language barriers (38%). Other barriers to accessing healthcare were technology challenges (19%) and financial difficulties (19%).
  • 27% of participants felt their income was inadequate to meet their basic needs. Those needs included healthcare (38%), rent (37%), and food (31%).
  • Among participants aged 65 and over, nearly a quarter (24%) experienced feelings of isolation or anxiety at least occasionally. Additionally, 24% of participants in this age group indicated that these feelings had worsened since the pandemic began.
  • Religious communities were the most common place for participants to meet with friends and family (63%), followed by private settings (51%), and social or hobby/interest groups (21%).
  • 60% of participants said they wanted more active social lives.
  • Nearly two-thirds of participants received information about services or programs through friends or relatives. Social media and newspapers were also popular sources, with 44% utilizing social media and 43% turning to newspapers for information.
  • For participants under 65, newspapers were a more frequent source of information about programs and services than social media whereas those aged 65 and older preferred social media over newspapers.
  • Hobby/interest clubs were the most popular program or service participants wanted to see more of (36%), followed by legal assistance (24%) and mental health support/services (22%).

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