Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Korean Census

Korea is taking its census this year and for the past few weeks, census worker have been going door to door in my neighborhood, canvassing the residents. They've visited me three times, but the first two times it was late, after 10:00, and I was already in pajamas and reading in bed, and didn't want to bother getting up and answering the door. Last night, they came at a more reasonable hour while I was cleaning the kitchen and looking for a diversion. The census collector was an adjumma who spoke little English. After spending a few minutes explaining the census to me in Korean and me explaining that while I understood what she wanted, but I didn't have the Korean vocabulary to fill out a form, she told me to wait ten minutes and went in search of an English census form for me to fill out.

The first part was pretty basic. How many people lived at my residence? My nationality and education and how long I had lived in Korea? The second part, questions about my apartment, was more difficult. How many bedrooms/living rooms/kitchens does the apartment have? Technically one of each, but that feels disingenuous since my apartment only has one room. I don't know the details about rent, since my school provides my housing, and I don't even know how big a pyeong (Korean unit of measurement) is, much less how many pyeongs my apartment is. I left a few of those questions blank.

I have now been duly counted as part of the Korean population. I left for Korea before the US held its census, and therefore wasn't counted. If I can't be considered a part of my country's population, at least I'm counted as part of the world's population.

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