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Applications of Calculus: The Gini Index

In calculus right now we are talking about the area between two curves as an application of integrals.  I was excited when we started talking about something called the Gini coefficient and the Lorenz curve.  It’s a crude, yet revealing, measure of inequality in a country.  There are many different things that a Gini index can be calculated for, but today we talked about the Gini index of income inequality in the US.  

We took data from the 2010 US Census based on the percent of income that various groups earn.  For example, the bottom 80% of the earners received about 49.8% of the total income, meaning that the top 20% earned about 50.2% of the total income (AHHHHH!).  We fit a few different best -fit lines to the data in order to calculate the Gini index, a number from 0 to 1.  An index closer to zero signifies less income inequality while a Gini index close to 1 would be indicative of a substantial amount of income inequality. 

To connect the class to the bigger picture… It was interesting to hear about income inequality from my calculus professor as well as from the perspective of mathematics.  I wish I could 100% say that the Vincentian mission is embedded in all of my classes, but there are probably classes where the Vincentian values aren’t necessarily applicable to the course content.  Yet, the the mission in other classes and in general interactions of people at DePaul has certainly been present.  ​
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