It turns out Korea's richest 0.1% aren't actually all that rich
When Americans hear the term "richest 0.1%," we think about multi-billionaires, those who live lavish lifestyles that the rest of us can't even imagine. But in South Korea, the wealthiest of the wealthy do enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle, but in reality, aren't that incredibly rich. Which may actually be a good thing.
As the 4th largest economy in Asia and 11th largest in the world, South Korea does certainly have it's share of billionaires. With companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and others establishing themselves as players in the international market, and family-owned conglomerates called chaebols dominating domestic industries, there are many Koreans who are definitely making A WHOLE LOT more than the rest of the population. But compared to the United States, for example, where the richest 0.1% have more accumulated wealth than the lower 90%, Korea's wealth is way more evenly distributed amongst its citizens. According to the Korea Labor Institute, the richest 0.1% of Koreans averaged an income of 360 million won a year, which is only 308,000 US dollars. Sure, that's a whole lot of money, but here in the United States, the top 0.1% make an average of about 1.695 million dollars. And the reason for this is clear — the rich keep getting richer and richer in America, which means the rest of us are being left behind. Despite the number of billionaires, millions cannot afford basic necessities and adequate healthcare. Koreans, no matter how much rich or poor they are, can go to the doctor when they need to.
There are many differences between Korea and the United States in terms of specific wealth distribution as well. In South Korea, doctors make up 22% of the richest 0.1%. American doctors only account for 6%. In the US, lawyers make up 25.3% of the super-rich, and in Korea, only 9% of lawyers are in the top tier. It's interesting to see these kind of statistics, as they reveal just how different economies and people's values are according to where they're from.
As for the top 1%, Koreans only make 120 million won a year, which is about 102,700 US dollars. In the United States, they make 465,600. Quite the difference, but on that note, let's all remember one thing. More money, more problems.
World's richest vs. Korea's richest