The 0.1% of Koreans Earn 40% More


Working as a federal official is considered the most stable jobs. Satisfaction at workplaces are primarily high among them and various benefits are available once they retire. The Korea Daily analyzed some background information of Korean-American federal officials.

The analysis was done through Anyone can access information available on that website. The Korea Daily has chosen to publish its analysis of Korean-American federal officials’ earnings, affiliated department and location.

Generally, Korean-American federal officials are working professionals earning good treatment at their jobs.

The number of Korean-American federal officials is 2,826 as of 2016, according to the database. That is a minimized number as the Korea Daily intended on collecting the most effective figures. Through the database, the total of 71 Korean last names were applied to handpick the Korean-Americans.

Hence, the ones who did not have their Korean first names included despite having Korean last names were excluded if some Chinese shared the same family name. That brought the Korea Daily to the conclusion that there are at least 2,846 Korean-American federal officials.

The Korean-Americans took up only 0.1 percent of the country’s 209 million federal officials.

Even though the ratio remained low, Korean-Americans’ salaries were high. Their average annual salary is $113,808.20. That is about 40 percent higher than the overall average, according to the United States Office of Personnel Management. About 73 percent (2,101) Korean-American federal officials were earning higher than the overall average.

The job that earns the highest salary is army surgeon. Hubert Kim, who is currently working at the UCSF Cartilage Repair and Regeneration Center, earned $401,264 last year.

Kim, a 22-year veteran in the field who graduated from Stanford University’s medical school, specializes in treating wounded American troops. Korean-American army surgeons were paid particularly well. Among 100 highest paid army surgeons in the U.S., 95 were identified as Koreans.

Including army surgeon, Korean-Americans are currently holding 220 positions. The top 10 highest paid jobs include army surgeon, statistician, fiancé auditor, patent lawyer, nurse, researchers and physicist.

The most common federal official position among Korean-Americans is army surgeon as there are 272 of them currently working, followed by federal judges (205), patent attorneys (203), nurses (180) and information technologists (179).

The Department of Veterans Affairs had the highest number of Korean-Americans employed at 772. The Department of Health and Human Services came in second at 551. Those two departments held 45 percent of all Korean-American federal officials.

Korean-Americans are currently working in 392 cities as federal officials. Washington D.C. had the most with 546, marking 19.2 percent and one in every five.

On the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website, it also showed that Washington D.C. held 14.68 percent of all Korean-American federal officials. Alexandria came in second at 172, followed by Bethesda (152) and Silver Spring (145). L.A. was fifth with 114, while New York was sixth with 85.

■How were the figures analyzed?
Since 2015, has publicized the names, departments, job titles and salaries of more than two million federal officials in the country.

Through the database, the total of 71 Korean last names were applied by the Korea Daily to handpick the Korean-Americans, including the likes of Lee, Yi and Rhee. Among about 10,000 names that initially came up, Chinese and Vietnamese-Americans were excluded. The same person with two names were removed.

Even a dot when searching for names made a big difference in the database, so it was a difficult task. In the end, the result was that there are at least 2,846 Korean-American federal officials. Ambiguous names that may have sounded Korean were all excluded. Hence, there are many more Korean-American federal officials than the minimum figure pulled up in this analysis.

By Koohyun Chung