This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Koreabama: Exploring the Recent Social and Landscape Impacts of South Korean Migration Trends and Patterns in the Rural South




Park, Donna

Type of Degree



Geology and Geography


Korean immigration to the United States has been changing over the last few decades. Historically, Korean immigrants have been characterized by the stereotype of female Koreans seeking marriage to male American military servicemen and blue-collar entrepreneurs, such as dry cleaners and alterations shop owners. Accordingly, the majority of Koreans have historically relocated to more urban areas and around military bases; however, the new generation of Korean immigrants seem to be moving to more rural destinations associated with the automotive industry. Scholarly literature on this subject has been extremely limited in recent years, largely due to a significant and rapid increase in Korean automotive manufacturing businesses within the United States. A large number of younger, single Korean men are coming here in search of education and permanent employment, either without families or leaving them behind in Korea; while middle aged-Korean men are immigrating here and bringing their families with them. Using a mixed-methods approach, I examine the new patterns of immigration among South Koreans and explore the social structure of the immigrant communities that are forming after arrival to the United States. My research encompasses Lee, Tallapoosa, and Chambers Counties in Alabama, and Troup County in Georgia. This research will fill the gap in recent literature regarding migration patterns for Koreans and seeks to understand new immigrant communities in the South and their social organization, and impacts upon the cultural landscape.