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Korea’s Top One Percent of Landowners Own 45 Percent of Nation’s Land

Korea’s Top One Percent of Landowners Own 45 Percent of Nation’s Land

Posted March. 04, 2005 22:31,   


Korea’s top one percent of landowners (about 100,000 people) own nearly half of the nation’s land.

These top landowners apparently earned an average of 1.2 billion won per person from their land over a period of five years (starting in 1999), considering the fact that Korea’s land prices have jumped by 265 trillion won during this period.

Professor Jeon Gang-soo of the Department of Economy and Trade of the Catholic University of Daegu concluded as such in his treatise titled, “Land Policy Guideline to Neutralize the Polarization of Wealth,” published on March 4, by estimating the top landowners’ ownership proportions with their annual aggregate land tax payments.

According to Professor Jeon, the top one percent of the aggregate land taxpayers of 2002 owned 45.3 percent of Korea’s land and the top 10 percent owned a whopping 72 percent of the land.

The “top 10 percent” taxpayers’ land ownership proportion peaked in 1994 at 79.1 percent and has more or less declined steadily since then, at 73.9, 74.0, 72.1, and 71.7 percent in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000, respectively.

Over the period of five years since 1999, Korea’s land prices have increased by about 264.5 trillion won.

More specifically, the year-by-year increase amounts were 42.4 trillion won in 1999, 9.9 trillion won in 2000, 19.7 trillion won in 2001, 135.9 trillion won in 2002, and 56.6 trillion won in 2003.

Professor Jeon said, “In the 1980s, the land price increase amount was twice as much as the Gross Domestic Product, so it is good news that the land prices have not been increasing as menacingly since 2000. However, the top 10 percent of landowners still has some 70 percent of the nation’s land in their pocket, and that proportion is by no means small.”

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com