Income inequality (Gini Coefficient)

Measure Overview

Disparities in income can be an indicator for health risks amongst those experiencing the highest rates of inequality within a state. Short-term effects such as hunger and housing instability can lead to long-term health consequences, making it important to identify and target populations experiencing high rates of income inequality who may be at risk for a number of poverty-related adverse health outcomes.

State Health Compare provides annual, state-level rates of income inequality using the Gini coefficient—an index that incorporates the detailed shares data into a single statistic, summarizing the dispersion of income across the entire income distribution.

The data for this measure are sourced from the American Community Survey (ACS). As SHADAC and other organizations have documented, the COVID-19 pandemic was the cause of several substantial disruptions to data collection efforts (i.e., non-response bias) for the 2020 ACS, among other impacts. Users are cautioned by the U.S. Census Bureau to treat these estimates with care.

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