A Decomposition of Gender Differences on the Poverty among the Urban Working Households in Korea

우리나라 도시근로자 가구의 남녀 가구주 간 빈곤 격차 요인 분해

  • Received : 2009.08.03
  • Accepted : 2009.09.29
  • Published : 2009.11.30


This study decomposes the gender differences on poverty to explain the causes of the poverty gap between male- and female-headed households. In order to do this, we start from examining the extent of the poverty gap between maleand female-headed families and then conduct decomposition of poverty differences by gender using the Oaxaca method. This paper uses the (Urban) Family Budget Survey data from 1982 to 2008 and measures poverty using 50% of the median income poverty line. Major findings of this study are as follows: First, in 2008, the coefficient effect explains 70% or more of the total gender-poverty gap. Second, the trend of gender-poverty gap in the period of 1982~2008 shows that the poverty gap by gender increased in the 1980s', decreased in the 1990s', and a re-increased in 2000s'. Third, comparing the decomposition results in 1982, 1989, 1999, 2008, we found that the share of characteristic effect of the total gender poverty gap has been increased gradually over time. It means the characteristics of the female-headed households have become worse than those of the male-headed households in urban working families. At the same time, the still large coefficient effect suggests that the problems such as the discrimination against matriarchs or the lack of social support for them still play important roles among urban working families in Korea.


feminization of poverty;gender difference on poverty;decomposition of poverty difference;Oaxaca decomposition;relative poverty