More than half of Koreans believe their income puts them below the middle class, a survey of 1,000 adults in major cities by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs suggests.

Some 50.5 percent of respondents said their income is below the median, while only 36.9 percent said their income is in the mid-range and 10.5 percent in the upper range.

The biggest concern was preparing for retirement with 41.1 percent, followed by children's education with 31.9 percent, job-related matters such as lay-offs and workplace closures with 27.3 percent, salary and living expenses with 24.9 percent, health and medical expenses with 23.6 percent, safety issues including food safety and crime with 22.6 percent and household debt with 16.3 percent. Multiple responses were possible.

By age group, the biggest concern for people in their 20s were jobs and safety issues, while those in their 60s were most concerned about preparing for retirement and health and medical expenses. People in their 30s and 40s were most concerned about their children's education.

Also, 40 percent of those surveyed said they support more welfare policies even if that means higher taxes. Only 26 percent supported cutting taxes even if it means fewer social welfare benefits.

Only 25.4 percent said they are satisfied with the current level of taxes and welfare benefits.

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