S.Korea's income inequality hits record low in 2018

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-17 16:19:19|Editor: xuxin
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SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Income inequality in South Korea hit a record low last year on the government's income-led economic policy to bolster earnings of the low-income bracket, joint government data showed Tuesday.

The Gini coefficient, also called Gini index, stood at 0.345 in 2018, down 0.009 from the previous year, according to joint data from Statistics Korea, the Bank of Korea (BOK) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

It was the lowest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2011. The ratio, used as the measurement of income or wealth inequality, represents a complete equality with zero and a complete inequality with one.

The index declined from 0.388 in 2011 to 0.352 in 2015, before edging up to 0.355 in 2016. It turned downward to 0.354 in 2017 and 0.345 in 2018 each.

The improved income inequality came as the government expanded welfare policies for the low-income bracket by providing more basic pension for the elderly and more unemployment benefits for the younger population.

The government launched a series of projects to create jobs for the older population, many of whom failed to make proper preparations for after-retirement life.

Business income of the high-income bracket declined last year on lackluster economic growth, contributing to the narrowed income gap.

The ratio of average income for top 20-percent income bracket to income for bottom 20 percent, also called income quintile index, diminished to 6.54 in 2018 from 6.96 a year earlier.

It marked the lowest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2011. The lower index indicates the improvement in income inequality.