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Where Korea’s Rich Live

Posted November. 21, 2005 08:40,   


There are as many as 12,758 “cash-rich” individuals in Korea. These people have over one billion won in bank accounts.

Their bank deposits total nearly 30 trillion won. This means that each has slightly more than 2.3 billion won on average.

It was discovered that one out of every three “cash-rich” individuals in Korea live in the Gangnam area in Seoul, such as Gangnam-gu, Seocho-gu and Songpa-gu.

Fourteen banks including eight large ones, five local ones and HSBC documented where their wealthy customers (corporate customers excluded) who have bank accounts worth more than one billion won live as of late August. The report was submitted to Uri Party lawmaker Oh Je-se. Dong-A Ilbo gained exclusive access to the material and, after a verification and modification process, completed a map that shows where Korea’s wealthy people live.

The map breaks down Seoul or other metropolitan cities including Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Ulsan and Incheon into districts. It also provides provincial information on Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Gyeongsang, Jeolla, Jeju, and Chungcheong.

The 12,000-plus persons documented have a total of 29.67 trillion won deposited in bank accounts. The average sum owned by each of them is approximately 2.33 billion won.

“Most wealthy customers spread their investments out among real estate, stocks and bonds, etc. If a person has an over-one-billion-won account at a bank, he is likely to have five times more than one billion as his total property,” said Hana Bank official Chang Gyeong-hun.

A total of 64.3%, or 8,208 of those cash-rich persons live in Seoul. Their money accounts for 69.7% of the 30 trillion won, 20.68 trillion won.

In addition, it was confirmed that Korea’s wealthy population is concentrated in Seoul’s Gangnam area. A total of 31.9% of all cash-rich people live in one of Gangnam-gu, Seocho-gu and Songpa-gu. Their cash assets account for 34.1% of the total.

The number of cash-rich individuals in Gangnam-gu and their share of Korea’s total cash assets owned by individuals are 16.8% and 19.1%, respectively. The percentage figures are bigger than those of six metropolitan Korean cities (Seoul excluded) combined, and equivalent to those of all provinces combined.

Based on the 2000 census, the concentration level of the rich population was calculated. It found how many wealthy people who possess over one billion won in cash live in a region out of every 10,000. In Seoul, it is 8.3, in Busan, 2.3, in Gyeonggi-do, 2.1, in Daegu, 2.0, and in Daejeon, 1.8.

The concentration rates for Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu, as expected, topped out at 41.0 and 36.1 persons, respectively. Outside the Gangnam area, the concentration is fairly intense in traditionally wealthy neighborhoods such as Jung-gu (29.9), Jongno-gu (28.3) and Yongsan-gu (23.7).

“Good living conditions and cultural facilities attract wealthy people. In turn, the fact that these rich people live in certain places more than in others, intensifies their concentration,” said Dongguk University sociology professor Cho Eun.

Kyung-Joon Chung Jin-Young Hwang news91@donga.com buddy@donga.com