The Korea Herald


How rich is the top 1% in Korea?

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : May 21, 2023 - 16:18

    • Link copied

A view of high-rise buildings, seen from Namsan in Seoul (Yonhap) A view of high-rise buildings, seen from Namsan in Seoul (Yonhap)

People in South Korea's top 1 percent net asset bracket had at least around 3 billion won ($2.26 million) in net assets in 2021, according to a local insurance firm’s report, Sunday.

Net assets refer to the value of a person’s assets such as houses, cars, investments and cash, minus liabilities.

According to Hanwha Life Insurance, individuals who had more than 2.9 billion won in net assets sat in the top 1 percent net asset bracket, while the threshold for the 0.1 percent bracket came to 7.68 billion won in net assets.

People in the top 5 percent and 10 percent had over 1.3 billion won and 900 million won in net assets, respectively.

The data also noted that more than the majority of the 1 percenters were living in the greater Seoul area, and they were home owners.

The number of households in the top 1 percent bracket came to 209,000.

The average income of households in the top 1 percent came to 215 million won, 3.5 times higher than the annual median household income of 61.2 million won.

The minimum monthly cost of living for the top 1 percenters came to 3.59 million won, the data also showed.

Meanwhile, the average retirement age of the people in the top 1 percent bracket was 70.7, higher than the overall retirement age of 68.2.

The net assets of the top 1 percent are on the rise, as they seek to increase their assets, with a focus on high-value investment in real estate, according to the report.

“People in the top 1 percent group have been found to increase their assets through being actively involved in investments in real estate and stock properties,” said an official from an insurance company in a local news report.

According to separate data released by Statistics Korea, the top 1 percent bracket’s net assets increased to 3.28 billion won in 2022 from 2.9 billion won in 2021. Real estate accounted for more than 80 percent of their net assets.