The number of Koreans who permanently relocated overseas fell to a record low last year largely due to the country's economic development.
The data released by the foreign ministry showed that a total of 538 people applied for emigration in 2012, down from 753 a year ago. The figure is the lowest since 1962 when records began.
The emigration rate has been on a steady decline since 1977 after reaching its peak in 1976, when the figure was more than 46,000. The United States was the top destination followed by other Asian countries, with about half of the emigrants leaving for job opportunities.