San Diego County Income Inequality Increases Despite Low Unemployment

Income inequality grew slightly in San Diego County from 2011 to 2016. To measure it, inewsource used the Gini index from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The index is a number between 0 and 1 that measures how evenly income is distributed in a given area. In this context, it answers the question:  Does everyone in a region have a similar income, or is one individual receiving all of the income? A higher number means a higher level of inequality. 

The Gini index is generally considered a go-to measure of income inequality. Gini numbers less than 0.35 are relatively low, and more than 0.50 is relatively high.

Use the map to find the Gini index for your ZIP code. Lighter shades of green indicate a lower income inequality. Darker green indicates a higher level of inequality.

Red indicates ZIP codes for which not enough data was available.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 five-year American Community Survey

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San Diego County’s income inequality increases despite falling unemployment rate

By Leonardo Castañeda, inewsource

Income inequality in San Diego County continues to increase, despite some of the lowest unemployment numbers since the late 1990s.

That finding comes from an inewsource analysis of the Gini index, which is tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau and measures how evenly incomes are distributed in an area. The index is a number between one and zero, with a higher number equating to higher income inequality.

San Diego County’s Gini index increased to 0.47 from 2011 to 2016 — a jump of 2.5 percent.

“A rising tide isn't lifting all boats,” said Peter Brownell, research director at the Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego nonprofit that advocates on behalf of the working poor. “It's actually leaving behind most of the boats.”

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