IG of the Day: Income Equality by Metro Region

Image credit: New Geography
Image credit: New Geography

This map, published by Richard Morrill in New Geography, shows the GINI coefficient, a measure of income inequality, for the nation’s major metro areas. Regions with low GINI numbers, shown in blue, have the least unequal incomes.

Note how the three Virginia metros — including Washington, Richmond and Hampton Roads — create a big patch of blue, making it the largest swath of low-inequality east of the Mississippi.

(In reference to PeterG’s post below, I wonder what Bishop Sullivan would have said about that!)


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7 responses to “IG of the Day: Income Equality by Metro Region”

  1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I can’t speak for a dead Bishop, but the simple answer is that the blue areas of Tidewater to DC are obviously saturated with government jobs. Not all of those jobs is directly connected to the manufacture of nuclear weapons, which I think was Sullivan’s critique.

    Which raises another question. Conservatives like you, including Baconauts and Boomergeddons, love to smash government jobs and spending. You all pretend there is something dishonorable about working for UNcle Sam (read Bacon’s chapter on how awful DC is). Well, our area benefits tremendously in terms of income and equality.

    What say you?

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      It is a bizarre belief which holds that being an accountant for the Department of the Interior is dishonorable while being an accountant at Wal-Mart is honorable.

      If Bacon, Cuccinelli, et al had their way the federal government would be much smaller and would spend far less.

      They forget the crucial equation:

      Virginia – (federal spending) = Mississippi.

      1. DOD/National Defense is a huge percentage of our spending.

        we spend more than the next 10 countries combined.

        I keep asking – what is a reasonable percentage for national security spending – as a percent of our available tax revenues?

        any takers on a percent number?

        I’ll start the bidding at 50%.

    2. I never said D.C. workers were “awful.” I noted that they are heavily dependent upon the government for their well being, they have been insulated from the ups and downs of the rest of the economy (although sequestration has since changed things) and that, therefore, they are overwhelmingly liberal and Democrat in political orientation

      If that’s “awful,” that’s your value judgment, not mine.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    Northern Virginia may have decent income equality. However, the city of Washington, DC has one of the worst cases of income inequality.

    “The District has one of the highest levels of income inequality among the nation’s cities, with the top fifth earning on average 29 times the income of the bottom fifth.”.


  3. billsblots Avatar

    I have often cringed listening to the various Virginia governors of both parties brag about their below average unemployment and high job growth. They like to tell us it’s because of their “business-friendly” environment.


    The Virginia economy is primarily dependent on the huge, almost unquantifiable amount and impact of federal dollars gifted to it. At an average compensation package of $200,000 for the northern Virginia federal worker, and hourly rate of $125/hour for consultants working for the federal agencies it is no secret why the housing market is still overpriced and the standard of living is highest in the nation. This is not due to secret economic tricks, rather untold billions pumped into Virginia that have been confiscated from the pockets of workers in other states.

    Not convinced? Contrast Loudoun County with southside cities like Martinsville and Danville, Virginia’s hulled out version of Detroit and Flint.

  4. billsblots nailed it! It’s dang ironic that the white-hot housing market in NoVa and the outer-suburbs is the result of govt spending – lavish spending on not only direct employees but contractors.

    Fairfax County schools get a cost-of-living adjust in addition to their regular state funding also.

    Think about this – a place that is what, 40-50% govt employees – and the teachers need cost-of-living supplements ?

    Oh.. and NoVa is cited over and over as THE economic engine in Va – and where do the dollars come from ? Uncle Sam.

    What next Gov of Virginia will face this issue and get Va on a transition path to private economic development by leveraging the current high tech industries that serve the govt?

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