Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 871–905 | Cite as

Explaining Spatial Distribution of the Middle Class: A Multiple Indicator Approach with Multiple Explanatory Dimensions

  • Jungyul SohnEmail author
  • Soo Kyoung Oh


This study attempts to investigate the pattern of the middle class in the Seoul Metropolitan Region and to explain why such a pattern occurs from spatial perspectives. For this purpose, the middle class are first defined based on four indicators: income, education, occupation and housing. Then, the spatial concentration of the middle class are explored by each indicator for 2010. The explanation of the pattern is pursued based on four dimensions often considered as critical factors in residential location decisions of the middle class: neighborhood, employment, consumption and educational environment. The findings suggest that the spatial distribution of the middle class generally shows a combination of concentric and sector models as we go farther from Seoul. The results of the global and the local regression analyses suggest that employment (producer service jobs) and educational environment (private after-school educational institutes) are important dimensions in explaining the residential location of the middle class in the Seoul Metropolitan Region.


Middle class Spatial distribution Employment Educational environment Geographically weighted regression (GWR) Seoul 



This work was supported by the Institute for Korean Regional Studies, Seoul National University. The authors thank Cheonghun Lee, a former graduate student in the Department of Geography, SNU, for collecting and compiling the database.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Institute for Korean Regional Studies, College of Social SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Social WelfareSeoul Digital UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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