SEJONG, Feb. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s household income inequality hit a record high in the fourth quarter of 2018, government data showed Thursday.
An average household earned 4.6 million won (US$4,000) per month in the October-December period, up 3.6 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
The monthly average income of the bottom 20 percent income bracket dropped 17.7 percent on-year to 1.23 million won due mainly to a sharp decline in the number of people employed.
The number of jobless households accounted for 55.7 percent of the bottom 20 percent income bracket in the fourth quarter, compared with 43.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
In contrast, households in the upper 20-percent-income range earned 9.32 million won during the fourth quarter, up 10.4 percent vis-a-vis the same three month period in 2017.
Consequently, the country’s distribution ratio for disposable income — a key barometer of earnings equality — reached 5.47, the highest level for any fourth quarter since 2003, when such data began to be compiled.