Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from Urban Institute, the authors discuss the difference between income inequality and inclusion, arguing that inclusion is a better metric for equity at the local level.

• If income inequality is not a good measure of equity at the city level, what does that information reflect? If inclusion is a better measure of equity, how can it best be quantified?

• To learn more about trends in inequality, click here.

Income inequality may be a good measure of equity at the national level, where borders are more rigid and migration is difficult, but it is not as useful at the city level. In cities, a low level of income inequality can reflect the exclusion or displacement of low-income residents, or it can reflect an overall lack of opportunity.

In our new paper, we look at 274 US cities from 1980 to 2010 and explore the relationship between income inequality and inclusion—a measure we think better captures equity at the city level. Inclusion refers to the opportunity for all residents—especially those most marginalized—to contribute to and benefit from economic prosperity. We measure inclusion by creating indices that consist of poverty, spatial segregation, housing affordability and homeownership, and educational attainment, by income and race.

We find that income equality and inclusion are not highly correlated and often trend in opposite directions, as inequality doesn’t capture quality of life, especially for historically marginalized residents.

Read the full paper about income inequality and inclusion by Christina Plerhoples Stacy, Brady Meixell, Christina Plerhoples Stacy, and Brady Meixell at Urban Institute.