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Monday, February 8, 2016

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Cascade: No. 84, Winter 2014

Mapping Our Community — Third Federal Reserve District

The Distribution of Household Income

One way to measure the level of equality in a community is to calculate the percentage of aggregate income accruing to its lowest-income households. For each county in the Third District, the map below illustrates the share of income reported by households in the lowest two-fifths of the income distribution — a group that is generally considered to represent a community’s low- and moderate-income households. If income were evenly distributed, two-fifths of a county’s households would claim 40 percent of its total income.

During the 2007–11 period, this share did not exceed 17 percent for any District county and was below 14 percent for six of the seven most populous counties. In all but two counties, a greater share of income accrued to the top 5 percent of households than to the lowest 40 percent. Relative to the national average, income distribution was slightly more equitable in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in 2011, and the percentage earned by households in the lowest two-fifths of the income distribution declined by less in these three states than in the entire U.S. between 2007 and 2011.

The Distribution of Household Income in the Third Federal Reserve District
  • Note: The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia or the Federal Reserve System.