More than half of Seoul’s citizens believe they belong to society’s lower middle class, marking a slight increase from last year, a survey showed Wednesday.
By political, economic and social status, a total of 51.3 percent said they fall under the category of “lower middle class,” while 23.2 percent said they belong to the upper middle class, according to the survey by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. More than 47,000 citizens took part in the poll last October.
The results indicated a growing perception among citizens that they belong to the lower middle class, with previous surveys showing rates of 49 percent in 2008 and 50.6 percent in 2009.
About 23 percent of those polled last year identified themselves as among the lower class, while a mere 2 percent said they belonged to the upper class.
Compared with 2008, the total proportion of self-perceived middle-class citizens rose 4.5 percentage points, while that of the upper class edged up 0.5 percentage points. The proportion of lower-class citizens, however, fell 5.3 percentage points.
By average monthly income, 50.3 percent of those surveyed fell within the middle-class range at between 2.1 million ($1,954) and 4.5 million won, the survey said.
It also showed a higher level of happiness among the upper- and middle-income classes at 70 and 67 points out of 100, respectively, while their lower-income counterparts recorded only 59 points.
“The middle class showed similar characteristics to the lower class in terms of level of satisfaction with their living and social environments, but in terms of their preferences on cosmetic surgery and branded goods, they were more similar to the upper class,” said an official at the municipal government.