Financial Security
80/20 Income Ratio


Income Inequality

What does this measure?

The 80/20 ratio describes the disparity in the size of the income of a household at the 80th percentile relative to that of the income of a household at the 20th percentile. A higher ratio indicates greater income inequality.

Why is this important?

High levels of income inequality can make it more difficult for lower income children and families to become part of the middle class (upward mobility). The greater the disparity in income, the less likely it is that positive effects of economic growth will be distributed among all households.

How is our region doing?

In 2014-18, MetroWest had an 80/20 ratio of 5.0, an increase of 15% since 2000. The 80th percentile salary was $520,500 and the 20th percentile salary was above $105,100. The MetroWest regional ratio was slightly higher in 2014-18 than the national ratio of 4.9, although the ratio increased in MetroWest as it fell for the nation from 2000 to 2014-18. It was lower than the Massachusetts rate of 5.5.

The ratio was the highest in Lincoln, at 5.4, with an 80th percentile salary of $250,000 and 20th percentile salary of $46,000. Income inequality was a bit higher in Middlesex and Worcester counties, with ratios of 5.0 and 5.1, than in Norfolk at 4.8.

Notes about the data

The ratio was calculated by dividing the median household income at the 80th percentile by the median household income at the 20th percentile. Household income was sourced from U.S. Census data.

Income Inequality
United States4.44.94.9
Acton town, Middlesex County3.84.74.4
Ashland town, Middlesex County3.34.24.1
Bedford town, Middlesex County3.44.04.4
Bellingham town, Norfolk County2.93.64.1
Boxborough town, Middlesex County3.55.5*4.6
Carlisle town, Middlesex County0.03.9***4.0***
Concord town, Middlesex County4.64.8***4.3***
Dedham town, Norfolk County3.74.05.0
Dover town, Norfolk County0.03.6***2.4***
Framingham city, Middlesex County4.45.35.1
Franklin town, Norfolk County4.04.0
Groton town, Middlesex County3.43.94.6
Harvard town, Worcester County3.53.83.9***
Holliston town, Middlesex County3.54.73.7
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County3.53.63.5***
Hudson town, Middlesex County3.74.54.2
Lexington town, Middlesex County4.14.9***3.7***
Lincoln town, Middlesex County4.94.55.4***
Littleton town, Middlesex County3.75.44.9
Marlborough city, Middlesex County3.94.54.1
Maynard town, Middlesex County3.85.45.0
Medfield town, Norfolk County3.73.94.0***
Medway town, Norfolk County3.23.54.0
Milford town, Worcester County4.44.34.2
Millis town, Norfolk County3.13.73.7
Natick town, Middlesex County3.74.64.7
Needham town, Norfolk County4.24.5***4.0***
Sherborn town, Middlesex County0.04.0***2.8***
Southborough town, Worcester County4.44.0***4.1***
Stow town, Middlesex County3.04.13.7
Sudbury town, Middlesex County0.02.9***3.2***
Walpole town, Norfolk County3.74.14.6
Waltham city, Middlesex County4.04.94.4
Wayland town, Middlesex County0.04.9***3.5***
Wellesley town, Norfolk County0.03.8***3.5***
Westborough town, Worcester County4.03.94.2
Westford town, Middlesex County3.13.03.8
Weston town, Middlesex County0.03.6***5.1***
Westwood town, Norfolk County4.05.54.0***

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.

Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Reports of Domestic Violence Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Contribution Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Increasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Decreasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Decreasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Maintaining
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Increasing
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Increasing
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Homelessness Increasing