The Korea Herald


Income gap widens in Korea

By Korea Herald

Published : March 8, 2012 - 13:23

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Income among the poorest people in South Korea grew at a slower pace than other income earners last year, further widening the overall wealth gap between the haves and have-nots, data showed Thursday.

According to the data by Statistics Korea, those in the lowest 10 percent income bracket earned less than the equivalised disposable income of 643,000 won ($572.5) last year. The richest 10 percent earned at least 3.1 million won.

Based on the results, the richest income earners made 4.82 times more money than the poorest population, which is slightly higher than the 4.80 tallied in the previous year, the data showed.

The ratio is one of the major tools to measure wealth distribution in a society. The higher it is, the larger the income gap between the haves and have-nots.

The 2011 ratio was even wider than 2008 when the nation was hit hard by the global financial crisis and economic slump. At the time, the wealthiest people earned 4.81 times more money than the poorest citizens, the data showed.

The Gini coefficient, another major tool to gauge wealth distribution, also pointed to a wider income gap in Korea as it inched up to 0.311 last year from 0.310 in the previous year.

If the figures approach one, it indicates a widening income gap. If the numbers are closer to zero, it means more equitable distribution. 

(Yonhap News)