The Spatial Gini Coefficient
Paul Sutton, University of Denver
The ‘Spatial GINI Coefficient’ is a simple, objective, spatially explicit and globally available empirical measurement of human well-being derived solely from nighttime satellite imagery and population density. There is increasing recognition that the distribution of wealth and income amongst the population in a nation or region correlates strongly with both the overall happiness of that population and the environmental quality of that nation or region. GINI coefficients derived from Lorenz curves are a well established method of measuring income distribution. Well documented problems associated with the use of GDP/capita as an average measure of wealth also apply to measures of the distribution of wealth that use monetary metrics such as GDP. In this paper we develop an alternative measure of the distribution of wealth we choose to call the ‘Spatial GINI coefficient’ that completely avoids the use of monetary measures of wealth.