This study examines the multilevel associations between perceived socioeconomic status (SES) and subjective wellbeing (SWB) among community residing South Korean adults. Based on primary survey data, this research provides evidence on the contingent ways in which status perception and wellbeing are associated across individual and contextual (residential-community) levels. Three related but distinct questions guide the analysis. First, net of objective SES indicators (income, education, employment status, homeownership and financial assets), is perceived status related to SWB? Second, is the community-level status, net of individual-level status, associated with wellbeing? Lastly, how do residential characteristics moderate the linkage between status perception and SWB? Results from fitting hierarchical linear models reveal that perceived status is significantly and positively related to SWB. Adjusting for individual-level controls, significant contextual effect also emerges, i.e., residence in a higher-status community is associated with greater wellbeing. Finally, the relationship between status perception and SWB is stronger in lower-quality communities measured in terms of aggregate perceived SES, level of business commercialization (e.g., density of factories), suicide prevalence, and proportion of government welfare recipients.
- Perceived status
- Subjective SES