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Cheong Wa Dae refutes analysis on widening income inequality

The office of President Moon Jae-in on Sunday refuted analysis of the government's latest data claiming that household income inequality widened during the second quarter, defending the administration's fiscal policy.

On Thursday, Statistics Korea announced the average household income for the April-June period, with most media reports analyzing that household income inequality widened to the worst level in more than a decade despite the government's efforts to bridge the gap for the low-income bracket.

"(The data showed that) income of the bottom 20 percent income bracket has turned on upward momentum and that the overall income level improved considerably," Lee Ho-seung, a senior secretary for economic affairs at Cheong Wa Dae, told reporters on Sunday. 

President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in. (Yonhap)

The data showed that the average household earned 4.7 million won (US$3,900) per month in the April-June period, up 3.8 percent from the previous year.

The monthly average income of the bottom 20 percent income bracket came to 1.32 million won in the second quarter, unchanged from a year earlier. In contrast, households in the upper 20 percent income range earned 9.42 million won during the cited quarter, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier.

The Moon administration has been pushing forward an aggressive fiscal policy to cope with the widening income gap through so-called income-led growth.

"Effects of the fiscal policy strengthened to the highest level," Lee said, adding that the overall household income level for the 2018-2019 period is higher compared to previous years.