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How wealthy are Koreans?


South Korea is known for its rapid economic growth and technological advancements, but how wealthy are Koreans really? In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the different aspects of wealth in Korea, including income distribution, net worth, and economic factors that contribute to wealth.

The distribution of wealth in Korea

The wealthiest 1% of Koreans own 20% of the country’s assets, while the poorest 50% own only 3%. The income gap between the rich and poor is widening, with the top 20% of households earning more than ten times the bottom 20%. This inequality is a major issue in Korean society and a cause for concern for policymakers.

The net worth of Koreans

According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020, the median net worth of Koreans is $107,000. This puts Koreans in the top 20% of global wealth distribution. However, this figure hides significant variations in wealth between different segments of society.

The role of education in creating wealth

Education is highly valued in Korean society and is seen as a key factor in creating wealth. Koreans invest heavily in education, with private tutoring services being a multi-billion dollar industry. However, there is a growing concern that this focus on education is exacerbating social inequality by favoring the children of wealthy families.

The impact of gender on wealth in Korea

Gender inequality is a significant issue in Korea, with women earning only 63% of what men earn on average. This has a knock-on effect on women’s ability to accumulate wealth and contributes to the gender wealth gap.

The impact of age on wealth in Korea

Koreans place great importance on filial piety and caring for elderly parents. This can put a strain on younger generations financially and limit their ability to accumulate wealth. The elderly, on the other hand, may have significant assets but limited income, leading to a different type of wealth disparity.

The role of entrepreneurship in creating wealth

Korea has a thriving start-up scene and is home to several successful tech companies. However, entrepreneurship is still not as common in Korea as it is in some other countries. This may reflect a cultural preference for stability and security over risk-taking.

The impact of government policies on wealth in Korea

Government policies play a significant role in shaping the distribution of wealth in Korea. For example, progressive taxation and social welfare programs aim to reduce inequality, while policies that favor conglomerates can exacerbate it.

The impact of globalization on wealth in Korea

Korea has benefited greatly from globalization, with exports accounting for a significant proportion of its GDP. However, globalization has also contributed to job losses and wage stagnation in some sectors, leading to increased inequality.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on wealth in Korea

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the Korean economy, with GDP contracting by 1% in 2020. This has had a disproportionate impact on low-income households and small businesses, exacerbating existing inequalities.

The future of wealth in Korea

The Korean government has set ambitious targets for reducing inequality and increasing social mobility. Key initiatives include expanding access to education and affordable housing, promoting entrepreneurship, and strengthening social safety nets.


In conclusion, Koreans are generally wealthy compared to global standards, but there are significant disparities within Korean society. Addressing these disparities will require a multi-faceted approach that addresses factors such as income inequality, education access, gender equality, and government policies. By taking action to reduce inequality and promote social mobility, Korea can create a fairer, more prosperous society for all its citizens.

What percent of Koreans are millionaires?

This chart lists countries and regions with the number and percentage of millionaires they have. Italy has 1,413,000 millionaires, representing 2.6% of global millionaires. South Korea has 1,290,000 millionaires, representing 2.0% of global millionaires. Switzerland has 1,152,000 millionaires, representing 1.9% of global millionaires. The Netherlands has 1,149,000 millionaires, and there are 43 more countries listed.

Is 300 million won a lot of money in Korea?

If someone were to win 100 prizes of 300 million won, they would receive approximately $243,188 according to Reality Titbit. This is a substantial amount of money for an individual to receive.

What salary is considered upper class in Korea?

In a survey conducted in 2021 in South Korea, approximately 34.5% of millionaires surveyed believed that households with an annual income of at least 500 million South Korean won were considered rich. The standard for wealthiness increased as the respondents’ own wealth level increased.

What is the average income in South Korea in USD?

As of 2021, South Korea’s average annual salary is $42,747 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

What is the average Korean family net worth?

In South Korea in 2022, households with five or more people had an average wealth of approximately 730.47 million won, while one-person households had an average wealth of about 211.08 million won. This data was reported on February 24, 2023.

Why are South Korea so rich?

South Korea’s success in high technology and economic growth can be attributed in large part to its education system and the development of a motivated and educated population. The country also adopted an export-oriented strategy to drive its economy forward.

Another factor that could impact wealth in Korea is the country’s rapidly aging population. As more and more Koreans reach retirement age, there may be increased pressure on the younger generations to financially support their elderly family members. This could limit their ability to accumulate wealth and lead to intergenerational wealth disparities.

In addition, the cost of living in Korea is relatively high, particularly in urban areas such as Seoul. This can make it challenging for lower-income households to save and invest, further contributing to wealth disparities.

It is also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust social safety net. While Korea has implemented various measures to support those impacted by the pandemic, there may be scope for further investment in social welfare programs to ensure that all Koreans have access to a basic standard of living.

Finally, achieving greater wealth equality in Korea will require a significant shift in cultural attitudes towards wealth and success. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex issue, promoting a culture of inclusivity and valuing diversity could go a long way towards creating a fairer, more equitable society for all Koreans.

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