# Lorenz curve

## Graphical representation of the distribution of income or of wealth / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In economics, the **Lorenz curve** is a graphical representation of the distribution of income or of wealth. It was developed by Max O. Lorenz in 1905 for representing inequality of the wealth distribution.

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The curve is a graph showing the proportion of overall income or wealth assumed by the bottom *x*% of the people, although this is not rigorously true for a finite population (see below). It is often used to represent income distribution, where it shows for the bottom *x*% of households, what percentage (*y*%) of the total income they have. The percentage of households is plotted on the *x*-axis, the percentage of income on the *y*-axis. It can also be used to show distribution of assets. In such use, many economists consider it to be a measure of social inequality.

The concept is useful in describing inequality among the size of individuals in ecology^{[1]} and in studies of biodiversity, where the cumulative proportion of species is plotted against the cumulative proportion of individuals.^{[2]} It is also useful in business modeling: e.g., in consumer finance, to measure the actual percentage *y*% of delinquencies attributable to the *x*% of people with worst risk scores. Lorenz curves were also applied to epidemiology and public health, e.g., to measure pandemic inequality as the distribution of national cumulative incidence (y%) generated by the population residing in areas (x%) ranked with respect to their local epidemic attack rate.^{[3]}