Four of 10 defectors see themselves as lower class

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Four of 10 defectors see themselves as lower class

Four out of every 10 North Korean defectors living in a province surrounding Seoul regard themselves as belonging to the lower class in South Korean society, a poll showed yesterday.

The poll by Gyeonggido (Gyeonggi Province) Family & Women Research Institute showed 39.7 percent of 1,943 North Korean defectors surveyed said they belong to the bottom social class in the South.

As of the July, a total of 5,757 North Korean defectors were residing in Gyeonggi, with women accounting for 73.5 percent.

The research also showed that about 70 percent of the defectors in the province earn monthly incomes of less than 1.5 million won ($1,410), far less than those of native South Koreans.

About 51 percent of those surveyed said they have regular jobs, but another 41 percent said they have day jobs or temporary jobs, according to the research.

The majority of them, 96.5 percent, said they are living in rented houses.
Despite the relatively difficult environments North Korean defectors face in the South, 67.2 percent of the respondents said they are satisfied with living in the country mostly because of more economic affluence, freedom to seek their own interests and absence of surveillance.

Some 73 percent of the respondents said they have hope that their life in the South will become easier and richer.

Nearly 54 percent of those surveyed cited economic difficulties and food shortages as the main reason behind their flight from the home country in the survey.

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