In addition to educational, employment, poverty, transportation, and housing indicators, the overall level of economic inequality has important economic development implications. A community with lower levels of economic inequality is more likely to have economic and social stability at a community-wide level. Income inequality is a good way to provide a snapshot of how income is distributed throughout a region. The Gini Coefficient is one way to measure a region’s level of inequality. This indicator is a measure of how income is or is not equally distributed through a particular area. The Gini Coefficient is measured on a scale of 0 to 1, where 0 is complete equality and 1 is complete inequality.
This particular indicator does not allow calculating income inequality across the entire Pioneer Valley in a reliable way, but rates are available within each county area.
Within the Pioneer Valley, income inequality is growing in Hampshire County and Franklin County, but remaining fairly steady in Hampden County. Between 2014 and 2015, income inequality grew 1.5% across Hampshire County and 2% across Franklin County. During this time period, Hampshire County surpassed Hampden County having more inequality between residents of the county.