Income Inequality

The HCI uses the Gini Coefficient to illustrate income inequality. Income Inequality is a measure of the distribution of income that highlights the gap between individuals or households making most of the income in a given community and those making very little (sometimes referred to as the gap between the rich and the poor). It is based on a scale of 0 to 1, with larger values indicating greater inequality. Substantial amount of research identifies an association between income inequality and various health outcomes. Income inequality is strongly correlated with per capita group membership and lack of social trust, which are associated with total mortality, as well as rates of death from coronary heart diseases, malignant neoplasms, and infant mortality. Income inequality has been repeatedly shown to be inversely associated with good health, but there is controversy about its effects apart from absolute poverty or economic hardship. Although there is limited evidence that income inequality directly influences health outcomes, research suggests that raising incomes of the disadvantaged will improve their health, help reduce inequalities, and generally improve population health. Data are available at the census tract level from the U.S. Census.

Neighborhoodsort descending Indicator Value Rank
Blackstone 0.5 -
Charles 0.5 -
College Hill 0.6 -
Downtown 0.7 -
Elmhurst 0.4 -
Elmwood 0.5 -
Federal Hill 0.5 -
Fox Point 0.5 -
Hartford 0.5 -
Hope 0.4 -
Lower South Providence 0.5 -
Manton 0.5 -
Mount Hope 0.5 -
Mount Pleasant 0.5 -
Olneyville 0.5 -
Reservoir 0.3 -
Silver Lake 0.4 -
Smith Hill 0.5 -
South Elmwood 0.5 -
Upper South Providence 0.4 -
Valley 0.4 -
Wanskuck 0.5 -
Washington Park 0.4 -
Wayland 0.6 -
West End 0.5 -

Key Citations:
1. Braveman, Paula, et al. “Issue Brief #4 Exploring the Social Determinants of Health – April 2011; Income, Wealth and Health” (2011). Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
2. Bhatia, Rajiv and Mitchell Katz. “Estimation of Health Benefits from a Local Living Wage Ordinance” (2001). American Journal of Public Health.
3. Pickett, K.E. and M. Pearl. “Multilevel analyses of neighbourhood socioeconomic context and health outcomes: a critical review” (2001). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
4. Pollack, C.E., et al. “Should Health Studies Measure Wealth?” (2007). American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
5. Subramanian, S.V. and Ichiro Kawachi. “Income Inequality and Health: What Have We Learned So Far?” (2004). Epidemiologic Reviews, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
6. Shi, Leiyu, et al. "Income inequality, primary care, and health indicators." The Journal of family practice 48.4 (1999): 275.
7. Lynch J, Smith JD, Harper S, Hillemeier M, Kaplan GA, Wolfson M. Is income inequality a determinant of population health? Part 1. A systematic review. Milbank Q. 2004;82(1):5-99.
8. Filmer D, Pritchett L. The impact of public spending on health: does money matter? Social Science & Medicine. 1999;49:1309–1323
9. Dixon, Jane. Social determinants of health. Health Promotion International. 2000:15(1):87-89.