Nearly 80 percent of the top earners in South Korea reside in the Seoul metropolitan area, data showed Monday, highlighting the concentration of good job opportunities in this region.
According to tax agency data released by Rep. Kim Hoi-jae of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, the number of the top 1 percent of earners in the country was 199,591. Their average annual income was 317 million won ($234,500) in 2021.
Among those, 77.1 percent of them, said they work in Greater Seoul, which includes Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.
Specifically, 44.5 percent of the top earners work in Seoul, while 32.6 percent are in Gyeonggi Province and Incheon combined. Outside the region, 3.8 percent of the top 1 percent earners lived in Busan.
Jeju Island and the administrative city of Sejong, where government offices are clustered, had the fewest top earners, at 1,146 and 461, respectively.
“This data shows that the country has not developed in balance by region. Related policies to boost regions and to create good jobs in the region should be made,” Rep. Kim stressed.
Roughly half of the country’s population lives in Greater Seoul, which accounts for 11 percent of its land.
According to Statistics Korea, 50.5 percent of the country’s population was living in Seoul and its surrounding cities as of 2022. Statistics Korea anticipates the number will rise to as high as 53 percent by 2030.
Many reports have shown that many Koreans are forced to live in Greater Seoul for better jobs.
According to the Korea Human Resource Development Institute for Health & Welfare, 25.4 percent of alumni who studied at non-Seoul universities moved to Greater Seoul in 2022 for work. A stable job, mainly referring to permanent employment, was the most critical factor that young people considered when moving to the area, according to the report.
Other data released by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade showed that 87 percent of the top 1,000 companies in the country are located in Greater Seoul as of last year.