The Gini index is often invoked for countries but it would be interesting to see it regularly utilized for suburban communities:
There are multi-million dollar McMansions and blue-collar families just trying to make ends meet. Across New Jersey, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to get wider.
But how are things changing in your town?
The Census calculates income inequality using a measure called the Gini index, which assigns a value between 0, which would mean complete equality, and 1. The closer a score is to 1, the more wealth is concentrated among fewer people and the bigger the income inequality.
My first thought is that I wonder how much income hetereogeneity suburbs have. There can be quite a bit of income or class segregation across different suburban communities but some of the larger suburbs could have quite the variation.
Then, it would be interesting to see how such information would be used. Would suburbs with less inequality use this as a selling point? Would community groups and activists be able to pressure suburbs into change with this statistic?
Finally, it would probably take a lot of work for this figure to become as widely known for suburbs as it is across countries. Yet, at this point, there is not an agreed-upon figure that works like this in order to compare suburbs. Median household income or the poverty rate can be used in this manner. Population figures probably matter the most for suburbs: it gives a sense of the character of the community and also hints at the growth that may be taking place.