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5 Worst House Districts for Gaps Between the Haves and the Have-Nots

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Here’s another installment in a series of articles we’re running about the demographic variables that shape House members’ lives, based on data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey results.

One of the complicated, hard-to-measure variables that affects a House member’s views is the level of income and wealth inequality in the member’s district.

A member who sees great wealth and great poverty side-by-side may have a different perspective than one who represents a district where most people seem to be about average.

The Census Bureau tries to summarize the level of income inequality in each district by providing a Gini index for income in that district.

A Gini index is a measure of equal the numbers in a collection of numbers are.

In a district where everyone had the same income, the Gini index would be 0.

In a district where one resident had everything and all other residents had nothing, the Gini index would be 1.

The Census Bureau says that, in 2017, U.S. congressional districts had a median Gini index of 0.46.

At the congressional district level, 2017 Gini index figures ranged from 0.39, in Salt Lake City, up to a high of more than 0.60 — near the level in South Africa — in one district.

In districts with very high Gini index figures, lawmakers and their aides may be keenly interested in protecting life insurance and annuity arrangements aimed at meeting the needs of affluent prospects, or keenly interested in eliminating those kinds of arrangements.

For the five districts with the highest 2017 Gini index figures, see the data cards in the slideshow above.

— Read 10 States Where Workers Went to Hell, on ThinkAdvisor.

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