First, a look at the Gini index (coefficient) in the US by county. The Gini index is a measure of income inequality, from 0 to 1. 0 being completely equal (everyone has the same income), 1 completely unequal (one person receiving all the income). More information on the Gini index can be found here: oecd.org. Lake County has a Gini index of 0.4857, higher than the average of 0.44, and has the fifth highest income inequality of all counties in Illinois.Link to full page map
Although Lake County's Gini index is relatively high, Lake County Forest Preserve and Illinois State Park locations are fairly evenly spread throughout the county and located in communities of varying incomes, as can be seen in the map below. Demographic data on park and preserve visitors was unavailable at the time this map and website were published.
Additional studies analyzing the impact the Lake County Forest Preserves and Illinois State Parks have on other factors such as mental and physical health of surrounding communities needs to be done to draw a more complete picture of the value they hold. These studies can help the county and state agencies plan future park locations and programs to ensure equitable access.
University of Kentucky, Department of Geography
- QGIS 3.4.4 on macOS Mojave
- Atom 1.34.0
- United States Census Bureau (Gini index data)
- United States Census Bureau (county shapefiles)
- United States Census Bureau (income data)
- United States Census Bureau (IL census tracts)
- Lake County (Lake County Forest Preserves shapefile)
- Rob Porter, Western Illinois University (IL State Parks shapefile)
- OECD (Gini index description)
- Spatial Disparities in the Distribution of Parks and Green Spaces in the USA (importance of green spaces to socio-economic well being)