A First Look: EIG’s Distressed Communities Index

Source: Economic Innovation Group, 2015

Today, EIG is releasing a first look at our Distressed Communities Index (DCI), a customized dataset examining economic distress spanning nearly every community throughout the country. The DCI captures data from more than 25,000 zip codes (those with populations over 500 people). In all, it covers 99 percent – 244 million – of Americans over the age of 16. …

One of EIG’s core values is that good data is essential for good public policy. EIG aimed to provide a simple way to identify and evaluate pockets of distress around the country, as well as to understand key factors driving that distress on a local and regional level. We wanted to provide a richer and more dynamic look at these communities than what is possible by merely relying on existing poverty and unemployment rates alone.

To accomplish this goal, EIG designed the DCI using seven metrics to assess economic well-being:
• Educational Attainment: Percent of population 25 years and over with a high school degree.
• Housing Vacancy Rate: Percent of habitable housing that is unoccupied.
• Unemployment Rate: Share of the labor force that is unemployed.
• Poverty Level: Percent of population living under the poverty line.
• Median Income Ratio: Ratio of the zip code’s median income to the state’s median income.
• Change In Employment: Percent change in the number of individuals employed.
• Change in Business Establishments: Percent change in the number of businesses. …..

States Ranked by Economic Distress

Swing State Survey
The Most Economically Distressed Zip Codes in America by State and Population Density
Which States Have The Highest Percentage Of Population Living In Economic Distress?
Seven Metrics Measuring Economic Well-Being Across The Country