SEOUL, July 13 (Korea Bizwire) – In the past five years, income levels of the Korean middle class have increased steadily, but at half the rate of income growth for the upper class, leading to a deepening gap in the economic disparity between the classes.
According to Oh Jae-sae, a lawmaker from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, the income of the upper 40th percentile, which is in the middle class, increased 6.5 percent to 33.4 million won in 2013 from 31.3 million won in 2008. He analyzed the income data of 100 groups based on percentile submitted by the National Tax Office.
Those in the upper 30th percentile earned 42.1 million won in 2013, up 7.8 percent from 2008’s 39.1 million won, and those in the upper 50th percentile recorded 25 million won of income in 2013, a 6.4 percent increase from 2008.
In the low-income class segment, those in the upper 80th percentile showed a relatively high-income increase rate of 9.1 percent to 12.3 million won in 2013 from 11.3 won in 2008.
However, the average income of the 1st percentile reached 378.4 million in 2013, a 14 percent rise from 2008’s 331.9 million won. Those in the upper 10th percentile also saw their income increase 12.8 percent to 74.8 million in 2013 from 66.3 million won in 2008.
In general, the income growth rate of the upper class was two times higher than that of the middle class.
Meanwhile, as of 2013, the top 100 people in terms of total income earned 2.13 trillion won, or 21.3 billion won per person. On average, they paid 6.23 billion won in taxes.
Lawmaker Oh said, “From the statistics, we can see economic disparity widening and the middle class falling. We need policies to raise income evenly in all the classes, for a virtuous economic cycle to overcome the current economic slowdown.”
By M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)