DemographicsThe growth in millionaires is a remarkable trend, considering the economic difficulties many people faced during the pandemic. In fact, the number of so-called high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) in South Korea – those whose net assets, including their homes, exceed one million and 30 million U.S. dollars, respectively – had been steadily increasing even before the pandemic. Although this group remains a minority, it owns proportionately more wealth than the rest of the population. In 2021, the richest ten percent of households held more than 40 percent of all wealth in South Korea.
According to a survey, about half of all South Korean millionaires lived in the capital Seoul. The bulk of their wealth came from various asset sources such as real estate and financial investments, with the share of real estate having risen sharply over the past few years. Most of them considered their fortunes to be self-made, such as running a successful business. Only about 18 percent attributed their wealth to family inheritance.