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S. Korea's income gap slightly narrows in Q1

National 12:00 May 23, 2019

SEJONG, May 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's household income inequality narrowed in the first quarter for the first time in four years as monthly wages of those in the bottom 20-percent income bracket fell at a slower pace, government data showed Thursday.

An average household earned 4.82 million won (US$4,000) per month in the January-March period, up 1.3 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The monthly average income of the bottom 20 percent income bracket dropped 2.5 percent on-year to 1.25 million won, compared with 17.7 percent on-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2018.

In contrast, households in the upper 20 percent income range earned 9.92 million won during the first quarter, down 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Consequently, the country's distribution ratio for disposable income -- a key barometer of earnings equality -- reached 5.80, compared with 5.95 in the same period of last year.

A bigger ratio means increased inequality in income distribution.

The first-quarter distribution ratio fell for the first time since 2015, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The ministry said the government's major policies meant to help support low-income people would improve conditions of low-income people down the road.


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