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Study Says Austin Has The Lowest Levels Of Income Inequality Among Large US Cities

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

Austin leads the nation in its balance of lower and higher incomes, according to a new online public health database from the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine.

The City Health Dashboard, which was released today, reports on 36 key measures and drivers of health, including drug use, obesity, housing and income inequality. The dashboard breaks down the factors along race and gender on a citywide scale and on a more granular level along individual Census tracts in the 500 largest cities in the U.S.

The study found Austin has significantly less income inequality than the other cities.  The overall income inequality for the 500 cities in the study is 79 times higher than the income inequality in Austin, according to the dashboard. Gourevitch says a city with a number close to zero means the proportion of households that are very poor or very wealthy is about the same.

“So, it’s not say that there isn’t income inequality,” he says. “It’s saying that the overall balance is approximately the same.”

Another interesting takeaway from the survey: Austin homes have a substantially lower-than-average risk of lead paint in homes.

According to the dashboard, Austin has an 8.6 percent risk of lead in housing, while the dashboard average for all 500 cities is 18.6 percent.

“That really tells you something about the age of the housing stock in Austin -- that it is probably newer on average than it is for the 500 cities that we have looked at overall,” Gourevitch says. “And that is a good thing in terms of lead exposure.”

Clarification: This story quoted Marc Gourevitch as saying the overall income inequality index was 79 times higher than Austin's index.

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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