Social changes reflected in statistics on Korean family names

April 26th, 2013 · Foreigners, Miscellaneous · 2 comments

Original article in Korean is at this link.

A study has found that there are over 4,700 family names in our country. The longest family name has 11 letters, and there are various rarities such as “Gyul,” “Kkang,” “Ddeong,” and “Maen.”

On the 25th Representative Kim Jae-gyeong of the New Frontier Party released statistics of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, according to which there were 4,706 family names recorded in the government’s national identity registration system as of April 12. Among them, Kim was recorded 10,970,706 times, or 21.5%, making it the most-used surname among the citizens. That means one in five of our country’s citizens is named Kim.

There are 7.51 million people named Lee (14.5%), 4.3 million named Park (8.4%), 2.47 million named Jeong (4.8%), and 2.4 million named Choi (4.7%).

There are 11 family names with over one million registrants, including 1.49 million people named Jo and 1.3 million named Kang. The others include Jang, Yun, Lim, and Shin.

There are 4,332 minority names with ten or fewer registrants, including Maen, Bun, and Sok. There are 3,025 with just one registrant, such as Gom, Gud, and Gilran. The increase in minority names is believed to be due to foreigners taking Korean citizenship and choosing names which are similar to the pronunciations of their original names.

The longest name has 11 letters: “Peuraiindeurotaejjujaendaen” (프라이인드로테쭈젠덴), the study found. Another has 10: “Allaeksandeokeullaibeudaehan” (알렉산더클라이브대한).

Particularly eye-catching are rare names such as “Gyul,” “Kkang,” Ddeong,” “Huin,” and “Kimnaegauriduim” which cannot be found just anywhere.

Rep. Kim said that “family names are a living part of our history and culture… in the identity registration system names are registered in hangul without separate hanja registrations, but we must reform the system to solve the problem of non-hanja names being separated.”

2 comments

  • You forgot to include this information in the second paragraph.

    이 중 김씨는 1097만 706명으로 21.5%를 차지해 가장 많은 국민이 사용하는 성씨로 등록됐다. 우리나라 국민 5명 중 1명이 김씨인 셈이다.

    Eddie · May 5th, 2013 at 12:06 AM

  • Thanks.

    Korea Beat · May 5th, 2013 at 1:26 AM

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