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Income polarization deepened for decades due to unequal opportunity: report

Income polarization has deepened in South Korea during the past decades amid a growing number of high income earners coming from already rich and well-educated parents, a report said Monday.

The report written by professor Ju Byeong-ki of Seoul National University said income has been set not only by the efforts of individuals but also the economic clout and education of their parents.
An illustration of the rich and poor. (Yonhap)
An illustration of the rich and poor. (Yonhap)

The report, which analyzed the disposable income of selected households between 1998 and 2014, showed inequality of opportunity existed between those whose parents have college educations and high-skilled jobs such as company executives, managers and professionals and others whose parents had just middle school education and worked in low-skill jobs in the farming and fishing sectors.

The inequality index, based on the jobs of the parents of the households surveyed, meanwhile, rose to 40 percent in 2014 from 10 percent in 2001, according to the report.

"The level of income disparity has remained low up until the early 1990s due to the public education system and rapid economic development," the report said. "However, people's trust in equal opportunity has been shaken due to the deepening inequality and polarization." (Yonhap)