60% of N.Korean Defectors Feel Lower Class

  • By Kim Myong-song

    April 21, 2016 10:52

    Six out of every 10 North Korean defectors in South Korea feel they are part of the lower classes, according to a study.

    The Unification Ministry and Korea Hana Foundation surveyed 2,444 defectors last year, and 61.4 percent said they consider themselves low class, 35.8 percent saw themselves in the middle class and only one percent felt they were part of the upper class.

    This contrasts with South Korean society at large, where according to Statistics Korea 53 percent believe they are low class, 44.6 percent middle class and 2.4 percent upper class.

    Some 51 percent of the defectors said they were part of the middle class when they lived in the North, 43.1 percent lower class and 4.4 percent upper class.

    But 60.4 percent of defectors felt their children would rise on the social scale, while only 14.3 percent expected their children to fare worse than them and 23.9 percent did not know.

    Among South Koreans just 31 percent believe in upward mobility for their children and 50.5 percent believe their children will fare worse.

    The average monthly wage of defectors here is just W1.55 million, a mere 67 percent of South Koreans' W2.3 million (US$1=W1,133).

    The employment rate among defectors rose from 53.1 in 2014 to 54.6 percent in 2015, and unemployment fell from 6.2 to 4.8 percent.

    Despite feeling poor, 63 percent of defectors said they are generally satisfied with life in the South, and only 3.4 percent said they are dissatisfied.

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