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Income inequality in Minnesota’s largest counties

Eighty-six percent of the nation’s largest counties have more income equality than Hennepin County, according to an analysis of the investigative journalism site ProPublica.

About 86 percent of populous counties in the United States have more income equality than Hennepin County.
Source: U.S. Census 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates
About 86 percent of populous counties in the United States have more income equality than Hennepin County.

Eighty-six percent of the nation’s largest counties have more income equality than Hennepin County, according to an analysis of the investigative journalism site ProPublica.

ProPublica created an app that shows income inequality in the country’s 818 largest counties, including the 10 most populous counties in Minnesota.

Income inequality is measured using the Gini index. The index, explains ProPublica’s Al Shaw, is “a statistical measure that ranges from zero, which would describe a community in which every citizen has precisely the same income, to one, which would describe the opposite extreme, in which one person receives literally all of the income.”

For example, Ramsey County’s Gini index is 0.46, according to ProPublica, which means that 72 percent of the nation’s biggest counties have more income equality. Hennepin County’s index is 0.479. At the other end of  the list of Minnesota’s big counties is Sherburne with an index 0.361, which, according to ProPublica, means that zero percent of the country’s largest counties have better income equality.

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Nationally, 99% of counties have more income equality than Manhattan.

Here’s a look at 10 Minnesota counties on the list, ordered by ProPublica’s Gini index (the “% better” column represents the percent of populous counties in the United States with better income equality):

 

County Gini index % Better
Hennepin 0.479 86%
Ramsey 0.46 72%
St. Louis 0.452 65%
Olmsted 0.437 47%
Stearns 0.406 16%
Anoka 0.395 9%
Washington 0.39 7%
Scott 0.384 4%
Carver 0.38 3%
Sherburne 0.361 0%

Have a look at the data yourself, using ProPublica’s elegant app, Income Inequality Near You.