South Korea’s income inequality hits record low in 2018

Moon Jae-in
Moon Jae-in

INCOME inequality in South Korea on Tuesday hit a record low in 2018 on the government’s income-led economic policy to bolster earnings of the low-income bracket, joint government data showed.

According to joint data from Statistics Korea, the Bank of Korea (BOK), and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the Gini coefficient, also called Gini index, stood at 0.345 in 2018, down 0.009 from the previous year.

It was the lowest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2011.

The ratio, used as the measurement of income or wealth inequality, represents complete equality with zero and a complete inequality with one.

However, the index declined from 0.388 in 2011 to 0.352 in 2015, before edging up to 0.355 in 2016.

It turned downward to 0.354 in 2017 and 0.345 in 2018 each.

The improved income inequality came as the government expanded welfare policies for the low-income bracket by providing a more basic pension for the elderly and more unemployment benefits for the younger population.

The government launched a series of projects to create jobs for the older population, many of whom failed to make proper preparations for after-retirement life.

The business income of the high-income bracket declined in 2018 on lackluster economic growth, contributing to the narrowed income gap.

The ratio of average income for the top 20 per cent income bracket to income for bottom 20 per cent, also called income quintile index, diminished to 6.54 in 2018 from 6.96 the previous year.

However, it marked the lowest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2011. The lower index indicated the improvement in income inequality. (Xinhua/NAN)

– Dec. 17, 2019 @ 12:39 GMT |

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