The middle class increased after COVID-19… distribution of labor income improved but self-employed people damaged

기사입력 : 2021-10-12 09:22

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It is analyzed that the number of high-income people has decreased and the middle class has increased since COVID-19. In the case of worker households, both high-income and low-income households decreased and the middle class increased, while in the case of self-employed people, both high-income and middle-income households decreased and the low-income households increased by 65,000, showing serious damage.

According to the result of the analysis on the Statistics Korea’s Household Income Status Survey micro data quarterly report by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), there was no change in the proportion of low-income households in overall households, however, the proportion of high-income households decreased by 1.4%p and the proportion of middle-income households increased by 1.4%.

In the second quarter of 2019, before COVID-19, the overall proportion of the high-income class was 9.9%, middle-income class was 57.6% and low-income class was 32.5%. The overall income distribution has been slightly improved with 8.5% of the high-income class, 59.0% of the middle-income class, and 32.5% of the low-income class in the second quarter of 2021, after COVID-19.

However, since COVID-19, the proportion of both high-income and middle-income classes of self-employed people has decreased, and only low-income class has increased.

In the second quarter of 2019, before COVID-19, the proportion of self-employed households was 13.1% of the high-income class, 61.0% of the middle-income class, and 25.9% of the low-income class. However, it has changed to 11.8% of the high-income class, 59.8% of the middle-income class, and 28.4% of the low-income class as of the second quarter of 2021, after COVID-19. The proportion of high-income and middle-income households decreased by 47,588 (1.3%p) and 74,091 million (1.2%p), respectively, while the proportion of low-income households increased by 64,577 households (2.5%p).

The KERI said, “This result is based on the data up to the second quarter of this year. Considering the impact of the 4th wave of COVID-19 since July, the situation of self-employed people is likely to have worsened.”

As the proportion of high-income and low-income households decreased and the middle class increased, the income distribution of regular worker households has been improved.

In the case of regular worker households, the proportion of high-income class was 11.4%, middle-income class was 67.7%, and low-income class was 20.9% in the second quarter of 2019, before COVID-19. However, as of the second quarter of 2021, after COVID-19, it has changed to 9.8% of the high-income class, 70.4% of the middle-income class, and 19.9% of the low-income class. The proportion of both high-income and low-income classes decreased by 176,220 (1.6%p) and 79,999 (1.0%p) respectively, while middle-income class increased by 447,526 (2.7%p).

The gap between low-income classes of self-employed and regular workers has also widened.

In the second quarter of 2019, before COVID-19, the proportion of low-income class in self-employed households was 25.9%, and the proportion of low-income class in regular worker households was 20.9%, so the gap between self-employed and worker households was around 5.0%p. However, in the second quarter of 2021, the proportion of low-income self-employed households was 28.4% and the proportion of low-income worker households was 19.9%. The gap between low income classes of self-employed and regular workers was 8.5%.


By Global Economic Reporter Tae-jun Lee ; translate by Gounee Yang