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What is considered middle class in South Korea?

What is considered middle class in South Korea?

In South Korea, the middle class is a group of people who have achieved a certain level of economic stability and social status. Unlike other countries, South Korea’s middle class has a significant impact on the country’s economic and political landscape. This article aims to define what is considered middle class in South Korea and why this particular social class is essential to the country’s growth and development.

The Definition of Middle Class in South Korea

The definition of middle class in South Korea is based on income and education levels. People who earn between 50% and 150% of the national median income are considered middle class. Additionally, those who have attained higher education degrees such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a reputable university are also considered part of the middle class. The middle class represents approximately 70% of the population in South Korea.

Characteristics of the Middle Class in South Korea

The middle class in South Korea has specific characteristics that distinguish them from other social classes. They are generally well-educated, have stable jobs, and live in urban areas. They prioritize education for their children, invest in real estate, and have a strong sense of community.

The Importance of the Middle Class in South Korea

The middle class plays a crucial role in the growth and development of South Korea’s economy. They drive consumer spending, invest in small businesses, and contribute to job creation. Additionally, they are politically active, demanding transparency and accountability from their government.

The Challenges Faced by the Middle Class in South Korea

Despite their economic stability, the middle class in South Korea faces challenges such as rising housing costs, stagnant wages, and job insecurity. They also struggle with high levels of debt and a lack of social mobility.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Middle Class in South Korea

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the middle class in South Korea in various ways. Many have lost their jobs, and those who have managed to keep their jobs face salary cuts and reduced working hours. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust social safety net for all citizens.

Government Policies Aimed at Supporting the Middle Class in South Korea

The South Korean government has implemented several policies aimed at supporting the middle class. These policies include tax breaks for small businesses, increased support for affordable housing, and measures to reduce household debt. The government also provides financial assistance to families with children to encourage birth rates.

The Future of the Middle Class in South Korea

The future of the middle class in South Korea is uncertain. The country’s aging population, slowing economic growth, and increasing income inequality pose a significant threat to the middle class’s sustainability. However, continued investment in education, innovation, and social welfare programs could help secure the future of the middle class in South Korea.


The middle class is a crucial component of South Korea’s economy and society. They contribute significantly to job creation, consumer spending, and demand for transparency from their government. However, they also face challenges such as rising living costs and job insecurity. It is essential that the government continues to implement policies that support this critical social class’s growth and development.

What is middle class income in South Korea?

As of 2021, the average yearly income for households in South Korea was approximately 31.74 million South Korean won, demonstrating a consistent rise since 2012. This information was last reported on January 20th, 2023.

What is considered upper middle class in South Korea?

People who identified as low middle class had an average monthly household income of 4.18 million won (3,760 dollars), while those in the mid-middle class made 5.3 million won (4,770 dollars), and those in the upper middle class earned 6.69 million won (6,020 dollars). The upper class had an average monthly income of 8.34 million won (7,500 dollars). This data was recorded in March 2013.

How rich is the average South Korean?

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

What are the 4 social classes of South Korea?

The society was divided into four social classes: the yangban nobility, the middle-class jungin, the commoners called sangmin, and the cheonmin, the outcasts who were at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

How much is a house cost in South Korea?

In Seoul, South Korea, as of January 2023, the typical price for purchasing a home was approximately 912 million South Korean won on average. Specifically, the average cost for an apartment was about 1.27 billion South Korean won, while for detached and row houses it was around 962.7 and 347 million South Korean won respectively.

What is the average income in Seoul Korea?

In Seoul, South Korea, the typical yearly pay for jobs is ₩52,263,037 (KRW), or an hourly wage of ₩25,126 (KRW).

Another challenge faced by the middle class in South Korea is the high cost of education. While education is highly valued in South Korean society, the cost of tuition and private tutoring can be a significant financial burden for middle-class families. This can limit access to quality education, which can have long-term consequences for social mobility and economic success.

Furthermore, the middle class in South Korea is also grappling with the effects of an increasingly competitive job market. With high levels of education and professional qualifications becoming more common, many middle-class individuals are finding it difficult to secure stable employment with adequate salaries and benefits. This has led to a rise in non-standard work arrangements such as part-time or contract jobs, which can further exacerbate financial insecurity.

Despite these challenges, the middle class continues to be a driving force behind South Korea’s economic growth and social progress. As the country continues to navigate changing global conditions and domestic challenges, it will be essential to prioritize policies that support the middle class’s stability and upward mobility. By investing in education, innovation, and social welfare programs, South Korea can ensure that its middle class remains a vital cornerstone of its society and economy for years to come.

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