Income Gap Reaches New 10-Year High | Be Korea-savvy

Income Gap Reaches New 10-Year High

(image: KobizMedia/ Korea Bizwire)

(image: KobizMedia/ Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire)The nominal income of South Koreans belonging to the lower 40 percent of income earners in the second quarter of the year indicated the worst-ever drop recorded in the nation’s history when considering all previous second quarter data.

Meanwhile, the nominal income belonging to the top 20 percent of wage earners showed the highest ever growth, resulting in the highest income disparity in 10 years.

However, real household income on a national level grew by 4.2 percent, the largest margin of growth since the first quarter of 2014, making this the third consecutive quarter of growth.

According to data released by Statistics Korea yesterday, the nominal income for households of two persons or more belonging to the lowest 20 percent of the population’s income earners for the second quarter was 1.325 million won per month on average, a decrease of 7.6 percent from the same period last year.

Although the degree of the drop was slightly less than that of the first quarter, which recorded negative growth of 8 percent, the figure was the lowest ever recorded for a year’s second quarter since relevant data was first collected in 2003.

The nominal income for those belonging to the second lowest group of income earners (lowest 20 percent to 40 percent) saw a drop of 2.1 percent from last year to 2,800,200 won per month, which was also the largest drop for any second quarter on record.

Those who in the top 20 percent saw wage growth of 10.3 percent to total 9,134,900 won per month, while earners belonging to the upper 20 percent to 40 percent income bracket enjoyed an increase of 4.9 percent in monthly income, which was the largest growth for this demographic since 2014.

The gap in income growth between the top and bottom income earners continues to worsen.

This year’s data for the second quarter recorded the worst levels of income distribution since 2008, when just the second quarter of each year is taken into consideration.

An official at the statistics agency said that the decrease of income growth experienced by lower income earners was due to restructuring efforts within the shipbuilding and automotive industries, which has affected the income levels of small business owners.

Meanwhile, the income for those belonging in the top income brackets indicated significant growth, as both wage earners and business owners enjoyed higher levels of income.

Meanwhile, the income of the overall population continued to increase.

The average nominal income for households with two persons or more was 4,531,000 won, which represented an increase of 4.2 percent from the same period last year.

The growth rate for the second quarter was the highest rate recorded since 2014.

H. S. Seo (

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