A college education is often seen as the equalizer when it comes to the gender and racial wage gap; however, the earning potential in various majors differs. In 2013, the most popular degrees with the highest earning potential were architecture and engineering with a median annual income of 83 thousand U.S. dollars. A major in elementary education had much lower earning potential with an expected annual income of 45 thousand U.S. dollars.
Another factor determining income is region, and the distribution of income within it. In 2015, the District of Columbia had the highest average wage in private industry at over 81 thousand U.S. dollars, and it had the highest inequality in income distribution with a Gini coefficient score of 0.54. The Gini coefficient is a statistical measure of inequality with zero representing perfect equality and 100 representing perfect inequality. On the opposite side, Hawaii with score of 0.43, was ranked as the most equal state. There is a general trend in the U.S. of increasing inequality between the poor and the wealthy. In the time period from 1990 to 2015, the Gini coefficient for household income has increased by 0.5 points.