Social Backgrounds of Local Council Members in Korea: Focusing on Social Diversity

  • Hye-Jung Kang Sun Moon University, Center for Intergovernmental Relations
  • Kyung Deuk Kwon Sun Moon University, Department of Global Public Administration
Keywords: local council members, social backgrounds, social diversity, underrepresentation of women


Local council members have become an important research issue in many countries. However, the research on the social backgrounds of local council members has not enough progressed. This study analyzed the social backgrounds of local council members in Korea elected from 1991 to 2014. For the analysis, this study used gender, age, education, occupation, and political party affiliation and also used the index of qualitative variation to understand the social backgrounds of Korean local councilors. The results showed that social backgrounds of Korean local council members are centered on male, 50s, highly educated, people with political experience, and affiliated to two major parties. The gender diversity of local council members is lowest in comparison with other social background factors. To increase the gender diversity of local council members, the election system should be reformed, and social perception towards female politicians should be improved.


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