This study identifies the patterns and characteristics of the distribution of the poor across the regions of Korea, so as to determine the causes of poverty in the local social and economic conditions of the regions.
The Korean economy has been growing remarkably over the last two decades, and has also managed to avoid the extreme income polarization that has afflicted other similarly industrializing and developing countries worldwide. However, the economic growth of Korea has not solved the problem of growing poverty. Poverty raises serious demand for social welfare and services.
For the purposes of this study, we define the “poor population” as people who are not paying any taxes due to financial difficulties, a population which made up 5.5 percent of the total national population in Korea between 1974 and 1981. The share of the non-taxpaying poor in Korea’s total population of 34.7 million grew from 5.68 percent in 1975 to 8.73 percent in 1980. The urban-rural gap is obvious in these statistics, as well. From 1974 to 1981, the poor made up 35.5 percent of the urban population and 64.5 percent of the rural population. There are also notable regional variations. The poor made up 25.6 percent of the population of Jeolla-do, and only 4.3 percent of the population of Busan in 1974. They represented 12.6 percent of the population in Seoul. By 1980, the poor still constituted only approximately four percent of Busan’s population, and eight percent of the populations of Gangwon-do and Gyeongsang-do. Their proportion decreased to 10 percent of Seoul, but grew to 30.7 percent in Jeolla-do.
Even so, surveys on urban areas also tend to under-measure the number of poor people and households. In rural areas, residents are required to register themselves and report their income. In urban areas, on the other hand, many residents remain unregistered and do not have a full understanding of how much they are earning. While there are many factors that lead to poverty, one key factor is that, the more educated one is, the more likely one is to leave their rural hometown and move to an urban area. This pattern of exodus from rural areas was especially pronounced among young, highly educated people who were capable of finding better-paying jobs in cities. This outflow of educated and work-capable population from rural areas is the decisive factor accounting for the high ratio of the poor in rural populations in Korea.
우리나라 영세민의 지역적 분포특성과 원인(Distribution of the poor in Korea by region: causes and factors)
|Journal Title; Vol./Issue||한국개발연구:vol. 3(no. 4)|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Economy < Macroeconomics|
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|