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How rich is the top 1% in Korea?

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.

By Shim Woo-hyun (