Gap Between Rich and Poor Widens

  • By Kim Jung-hoon

    July 21, 2021 13:18

    The gap between rich and poor is much more alarming than the difference in wages alone shows, according to a report by the National Assembly Budget Office on Tuesday.

    The report found that the richest 20 percent of Koreans accounted for 46.9 percent of total earnings. Their average annual income rose from W100.3 million in 2011 to W139 million in 2019, but that of the bottom 20 percent rose from W7.61 million to W11.55 million, so the top 20 percent now earn 12 times more money than the bottom 20 percent (US$1=W1,149).

    But in terms of assets, the richest 20 percent owned a whopping 62 percent of total assets in 2019. The proportion fell slightly from 63.9 percent in 2011 to 60.2 percent in 2015, only to rise again.

    They owned on average W1.12 billion worth of net assets in 2019, up from W858.2 billion in 2011. But the assets of the poorest 20 percent rose only from W4.73 million to W6.75 million. That means the top 20 percent owned 167 times more than the bottom 20 percent.

    "If households are affected by job loss, disease or retirement, the impact could be amplified if they have fewer assets," the report warned.

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