North Koreans social misfits within South Korean society?

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North Korean defectors now living in South Korea on average work longer, have more physically-challenging employment and are paid less than South Koreans.

Regardless, nearly 75% of 2,355 respondents said they are either moderately or very satisfied with their new lives.

Topping the list of reasons behind positive responses were: (1) income proportionate to workload, (2) a career of one’s own choosing, and (3) increased wealth compared to the life inside North Korea.

The outlook for quality of life was on average upbeat, with 70% saying they see an improvement coming their way.

There are however very real disparities, in that:

  • The average South Korean income of 3 million won was more than double that of a North Korean refugee.
  • A North Korea-born worker works an average 47.9 hours a week, compared with a native South Korean’s 40 hours.
  • The unemployment rate for the refugees was 9.7% last year, over three times the overall South Korean rate.


This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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