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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Seoul Survey 2004: north and south of the river

I haven't been able to find the recently published "Seoul Survey 2004" online yet, but bit and pieces have been made available in the media. Hankyoreh has a Yonhap piece on the differences between areas of Seoul, paying most attention to the continuously wide gap between North and South of the river. In the survey, made on 50000 citizens and 5000 business establishment, the city was divided into five areas: downtown (Jongno-gu, Jung-gu, Yongsan-gu), Northeast (Seongdong, Gwangjin, Dongdaemun, Jungnang, Seongbuk,Gangbuk, Dobong, Nowon), Southeast (Seocho, Gangnam, Songpa, Gangdong), Northwest (Eunpyeong, Seodaemun, Mapo), and Southwest (Yangcheon, Gangseo, Guro, Geumcheon, Yeongdeungpo, Dongjak, Gwanak).

Not surprisingly, Southeast came on top in most of the figures measuring wealth and education, which also reflects in satisfaction concerning educational facilities, and housing environment.

Household heads with 4-year university-education: Southeast 36%, Southwest 25, Downtown 23, Northeast 22, Northwest 21,
Households with +4 mil W [3000€] monthly income: Southeast 20%, Southwest and Downtown 10.5, Northeast 9, Northwest 9
Housing in apartments: Southeast 52%, Northeast 40, Southwest 38, Downtown 26, Northwest 21.

The proportion of smokers (21%) and those who don't do any excercising (15%) were the lowest in Southeast, where the use of culture facilities (art exhibitions, museums, concerts etc) was the highest. The opposite of Southeast in this regard was Northeast.

When inquired in subjective terms from the respondents, there was no difference in the satisfaction concerning one's life, relations with friends and the like. Downtown was actually ahead of Southeast by 0.1 points, so those who like to think that life in outrageously expensive apartments doesn't necessarily bring happiness can be somewhat content.

One thing that comes to mind is the character of Southeast, to which "my own" neighborhood belongs. Soutwest has longstanding and established apartment areas in Mok-dong, but many of the "last" hillside settlements have been located there, and up to the 1990s Gwanak-gu had the highest proportion of "substandard housing" (pullyang chut'aek) among the gu's in Seoul, but it seems to have been quite succesful in shedding that image due to straightforward redevelopment.

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