The Distressed Communities Index (DCI) examines economic well-being at the zip code level in order to provide a detailed view of the divided landscape of American prosperity. When we consider the health of the U.S. economy only in aggregate terms, we miss out on the textured—and deeply uneven—story of how national growth and prosperity lift up, or leave behind, individual communities and the residents who call them home. The DCI is therefore an attempt to understand the spatial distribution of U.S. economic well-being. It is a lens through which we can evaluate where and for whom the country truly lives up to its promise as a land of opportunity.
This is the fourth edition of the DCI, which was first launched in 2015. Leading national and local news publications rely on the DCI to contextualize uneven economic conditions across the country. Non-profit organizations and state and local governments utilize the DCI to target services and programs supporting distressed communities. Healthcare providers, academics, and private businesses incorporate the DCI into their work. At the national level, the DCI is used to inform federal policies to forge a more balanced and equitable geography of national economic growth.
Explore how your community performs on the Distressed Communities Index. Users can visualize how well-being varies across zip codes, counties, and congressional districts. Click on a geography to activate the tool. Scroll below the map to dig deeper into the factors that make up the index and the demographic composition of each community.