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Is there slums in Seoul?


Seoul is a bustling and populous city in South Korea that has undergone significant economic growth over the past few decades. However, with this growth comes the issue of poverty and inequality. One of the main questions asked by many is whether there are slums in Seoul. This article aims to explore this question and provide a comprehensive answer.

History of Slums in Seoul

To understand whether there are slums in Seoul, it’s important to look at the city’s history. In the 1960s and 1970s, South Korea underwent rapid industrialization and urbanization, which led to the formation of slums in many cities, including Seoul. These slums were characterized by poor living conditions and a lack of basic services such as water, sanitation, and healthcare.

The Current Situation

Today, Seoul has developed significantly, and it’s no longer accurate to say that there are “slums” in the city. However, poverty and inequality still persist, particularly in certain areas of the city. These areas are often referred to as “low-income neighborhoods” or “informal settlements,” but they are not slums in the traditional sense.

Low-Income Neighborhoods

Low-income neighborhoods are areas where residents have lower than average incomes and face social and economic challenges. These areas often lack basic services such as healthcare, education, and transportation. While these neighborhoods may not be considered slums, they can still be difficult places to live.

Informal Settlements

Informal settlements are areas where people live in housing that is not recognized by the government or formal housing market. These settlements often lack basic services such as water, sanitation, and electricity. While some of these settlements may be considered slums, others are not.


One of the ways in which Seoul is addressing poverty and inequality is through gentrification. Gentrification is the process of renovating and improving low-income neighborhoods to attract wealthier residents. While this process can improve living conditions in these areas, it can also lead to displacement of long-time residents.

Government Policies

The South Korean government has implemented various policies to address poverty and inequality in Seoul. These include providing low-income housing, job training programs, and social welfare services. However, some critics argue that these policies are not enough and that more needs to be done to address these issues.

Impact of Poverty

Poverty has a significant impact on individuals and communities in Seoul. It can lead to poor health outcomes, limited access to education and job opportunities, and social isolation. Addressing poverty is important not only for individual well-being but also for the overall health and prosperity of the city.

Community Efforts

In addition to government policies, there are also community efforts to address poverty and inequality in Seoul. These efforts include grassroots organizations that provide services such as food banks, mental health support, and job training programs.


Despite efforts to address poverty and inequality, there are still many challenges facing Seoul. These include a lack of affordable housing, an aging population, and economic inequality.

The Future

The future of poverty and inequality in Seoul is uncertain. While the city has made progress in addressing these issues, there is still much work to be done. It’s important for policymakers, community organizations, and residents to work together to create a more equitable and just city.


In conclusion, while there may not be traditional “slums” in Seoul today, poverty and inequality still persist in certain areas of the city. Addressing these issues is important not only for individual well-being but also for the overall health and prosperity of the city. By working together, we can create a more equitable and just Seoul for all residents.

Is there slum area in South Korea?

As of May 2019, only 406 households out of 1,107 had been successfully relocated. Up until the blaze, about 666 houses still remained in the village, The Korea Herald reported. Seoul’s Gangnam district in May 2022 said the slums will one day be torn down and turned into an “eco-friendly luxury residential complex.”Jan 20, 2023

What is the last slum of Seoul?

Guryong Village, which is one of the few remaining slums in the major city of the fourth-largest economy in Asia, has experienced at least 16 fires since 2009. This information was reported on January 20, 2023.

Is Seoul a friendly city?

Seoul has safe neighborhoods where South Koreans are generally friendly and welcoming, though some areas should be avoided for safety reasons. While most of the city center is safe to explore, caution should be exercised in certain locations.

What is the poorest part of Seoul?

Guryong Village, also known as Guryong, is an informal settlement or shantytown located on private property in Seoul, South Korea. It is situated near the upscale neighborhood of Dogok-dong in the Gangnam District and is separated from it by a six-lane highway.

Are there homeless people in Seoul?

The government funds rehabilitation programs and low-cost housing options called gosiwons. Showers have been added to an underground pathway near Seoul Station where homeless individuals often sleep. Despite these efforts, the average length of time someone experiences homelessness in Seoul is still quite long at 11.2 years.

What is the dirtiest city in South Korea?

The current ranking of the most polluted cities in South Korea is updated in real-time. The top city with the highest pollution levels is Hongch’on in Gangwon-do, followed by Cheonan in Chungcheongnam-do and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi-do. The ranking includes a total of six cities.

One of the key factors contributing to poverty and inequality in Seoul is the high cost of living. Many residents struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, and healthcare. This is particularly true for low-income families, who may have to choose between paying for rent or buying groceries.

Another challenge facing Seoul is the aging population. As more people retire and require healthcare services, the demand for these services will increase significantly. This could strain the city’s healthcare system and lead to increased costs for residents.

In addition, economic inequality persists in Seoul, with a small percentage of the population holding a significant portion of the city’s wealth. This can lead to disparities in access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities.

To address these challenges, it’s important for policymakers to consider a range of solutions, including increasing access to affordable housing, investing in education and job training programs, and implementing policies to reduce economic inequality.

Community organizations also play an important role in addressing poverty and inequality in Seoul. These organizations provide essential services such as food assistance, mental health support, and job training programs. They also advocate for policies that promote equity and justice in the city.

Ultimately, creating a more equitable and just Seoul will require a collaborative effort among policymakers, community organizations, and residents. By working together, we can build a city that provides opportunity and prosperity for all its residents.

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