The Republic of Korea (unofficially, South Korea) is located in the eastern part of Asia, washed by the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, and has a strong economy focused on high-tech production. The main cultural, financial, scientific, political center and the capital of the country is Seoul, which is among the top five richest cities in the world, ahead of such European megacities as London and Paris.

South Korea has a population of 51.8 million people. More than 99% identify themselves as ethnic Koreans. In addition, several tens of thousands of Chinese live here. Other major diasporas include the Vietnamese, Thais and Filipinos. About prices and costs of living, taxes, specifics of employment, salaries, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in South Korea in 2024 we'll talk further.

Living in South Korea

Pros and cons of living in South Korea

South Korea is one of the most developed and successful countries in Asia. Thanks to the economic achievements of the state, Korean citizens can boast of a high standard of living and overall well-being. Of course, life in South Korea also has its drawbacks. Let's highlight the positives and negatives of living in Korean territory.

Pros of living in South Korea

  • South Korea is a beautiful country with a comfortable climate and low crime rate.

  • To invest and conduct business in South Korea is very profitable, as evidenced by the 5th place in the famous ranking of the agency Doing Business.

  • The country hosts a lot of colorful festivals and large-scale sporting events, where you can have fun and interesting time.

  • Korea's infrastructure is almost perfect, with free access to Wi-Fi and many other advanced technologies available everywhere.

  • The locals are generally friendly to foreigners and have a good command of English.

Pros and cons of living in South Korea

Cons of living in South Korea

  • Living in South Korea is quite expensive.

  • It is very difficult to find comfortable housing within the city limits.

  • The Korean language is difficult to learn.

  • Work in South Korea, including the schedule and corporate culture, is not suitable for all foreigners.

  • Despite significant progress in establishing peaceful relations with neighboring North Korea, the risk of escalation of tensions still exists.

Prices and cost of living in South Korea

Renting a studio apartment in South Korea costs about 612.1 thousand won per month (450 euros) in the central area, and about 461.8 thousand won (340 euros) in remote areas. The price per square meter of real estate in the center is 18,840,4 won (€13,790), and 11,156,9 won (€8,165) outside the city. By the way, Seoul is one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.

Prices in South Korea in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 3,902.62 ₩

  • Milk (0.6 L) – 2,818.44 ₩

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 4,219.69 ₩

  • Chicken fillet (1 kg) – 11,438.36 ₩

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 5,279.40 ₩

  • Korean cheese (1 kg) – 15,969.32 ₩

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 4,633.82 ₩

  • Apples (1 kg) – 9,223.85 ₩

  • Petrol (1 liter) – 1,687.18 ₩

  • Cab (1 km) – 1,000 ₩

  • Public transport fare – 1,400 ₩

  • Monthly bus pass – 60,000 ₩

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 220,917.90 ₩ per month

  • Cell phone service (month) – 63,767.86 ₩

  • Internet – 28,788.49 ₩ per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency, the South Korean Won (₩). The exchange rate of one won today is 0.0007 U.S. dollars and 0.0007 euros.

Tax rates in South Korea

Tax rates in South Korea in 2024

Corporate income tax:

  • Turnover up to 200 million won – 10%.

  • Turnover from 200 million to 20 billion won – 20 million, plus 20% on the amount over 200 million won.

  • Turnover from 20 billion to 30 billion won – 3.98 billion, plus 22% of the amount over 20 billion won.

  • Turnover over 30 billion won – 65.58 billion won, plus 25% of the amount over 30 billion won.

Dividends (interest, royalties) – 22%.

Real estate tax – 0.24 to 0.6

Income tax:

  • Annual income up to 12 million won – 6%.

  • Annual income from 12 million to 46 million won – 720,000 won, plus 15% of the amount over 12 million won.

  • Annual income from 46 million to 88 million won – 5.82 million won, plus 24% on the amount over 46 million won.

  • Annual income from 88 million to 150 million won – 15.9 million won, plus 35% of the amount over 88 million won.

  • Annual income from 150 million to 300 million won – 37.6 million won, plus 38% of the amount over 150 million won.

  • Annual income from 300 million to 500 million won – 94.6 million won, plus 40% of the amount over 300 million won.

  • Annual income over 500 million won – 170.6 million won, plus 42% of the amount over 500 million won.

Jobs and wages in South Korea

To find a job in Seoul and other major cities in South Korea, a foreigner must first obtain a work visa. The country's immigration system has nine types of visas that allow you to work or run a business, depending on your specialization and the job you're applying for. The most in-demand occupations in South Korea are related to the automotive, IT, shipbuilding, finance, and electronics manufacturing industries.

The national minimum wage in South Korea in 2024 is 9,860 won per hour, the equivalent of 7 euros. With full-time employment, a Korean worker should earn at least 2,010,580 won (about 1,365 euros) monthly. According to the Korea Economic Research Institute and statistics from the local Ministry of Employment and Labor, the average salary in South Korea is 50,973,180 won (about €34,600) per year.

Higher education in South Korea

Higher education in South Korea

South Korea's economic success has been achieved largely thanks to skilled professionals who are well educated at local universities. Currently in the country there are more than 370 higher educational institutions – universities and colleges. The main language of instruction is Korean, but many programs are taught in English, particularly master's programs.

The prestigious international QS World University Rankings 2024 lists 41 South Korean universities, with six of them in the top 100. The Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology are considered the best. Average cost of education in South Korea is about 4-9.5 thousand dollars a year.

Medicine in South Korea

South Korea has built one of the most efficient, high-quality, and universal health care systems in the world. It is financed by the mandatory National Health Insurance Scheme, which covers about 97% of the population. Basic services are provided free of charge to Koreans as well as to foreigners permanently residing in South Korea. Patients can choose the Western model of medicine or traditional Oriental methods of treatment.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in South Korea in 2024 is 83 years, with women living about 86 years and men 79.

© 2020–2024 All Rights Reserved.