U.S. household income distribution, by Gini-coefficient 1990-2018

In 2018, according to the Gini coefficient, household income distribution in the United States was 0.49. This figure was at 0.43 in 1990, which indicates an increase in income inequality in the U.S. over the past 30 years.

What is the Gini coefficient?

The Gini coefficient, or Gini index, is a statistical measure of economic inequality and wealth distribution among a population. A value of zero represents perfect economic equality, and a value of one represents perfect economic inequality. The Gini coefficient helps to visualize income inequality in a more digestible way. For example, according to the Gini coefficient, the District of Columbia has the greatest amount of income inequality in the U.S. with a score of 0.53, and Alaska has the greatest income equality with a score of 0.42.

The Gini coefficient around the world

The Gini coefficient is also an effective measure to help picture income inequality around the world. For example, in 2017 income inequality was highest in South Africa, while income inequality was lowest in Azerbaijan.

U.S. household income distribution from 1990 to 2018

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Source

Release date

September 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example levels of income). A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has an exactly equal income). A Gini coefficient of one (100 on the percentile scale) expresses maximal inequality among values (for example where only one person has all the income).
Data have been rounded to provide better understanding of the statistic.

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