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J Epidemiol Community Health 61:849-852 doi:10.1136/jech.2006.052969
  • Glossary
    • Continuing professional development

Income inequality measures

  1. Fernando G De Maio
  1. Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6
  1. Fernando G De Maio: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6; fdemaio{at}sfu.ca
  • Accepted 10 December 2006

Abstract

The Gini coefficient has been the most popular method for operationalising income inequality in the public health literature. However, a number of alternative methods exist, and they offer researchers the means to develop a more nuanced understanding of the distribution of income. Income inequality measures such as the generalised entropy index and the Atkinson index offer the ability to examine the effects of inequalities in different areas of the income spectrum, enabling more meaningful quantitative assessments of qualitatively different inequalities. This glossary provides a conceptual introduction to these and other income inequality measures.

Footnotes

  • Funding: This research was supported in part by a President’s Research Grant from Simon Fraser University.