The Distressed Community Index (DCI) was designed by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) to provide a simple way to identify and evaluate distressed communities around the country, as well as to understand key economic challenges on a local and regional level. 

Distressed Communities Index Map

     About the index on the map above: The scores range from 0 to 100, moving from dark green in the most prosperous zip codes to dark red in the most distressed ones.


The DCI was built using data from more than 25,000 zip codes (those with populations over 500 people). In all, it covers 244 million Americans — 99 percent of those over the age of 16.

Each zip code is given a distress score, based upon the ranking of seven economic indicators: educational attainment, housing vacancy, unemployment rate, poverty rate, median income, change in employment, and change in business establishments.

Index Mapping and Infographics

There also is an infographic on the DCI website that ranks the top and bottom cities for each indicator. Users can identify how a target geography performs in those seven metrics, and compare it to other communities throughout the country. The result is a first-of-its-kind interactive “heat map” of distress and prosperity.

The DCI index is organized on its mapping website in tabs, each providing a different view of the data. Some tabs allow you to drill deeper into a geographic area.

For example, if you click on the bubble representing Detroit in the “Cites” tab, you will be taken to a map of that city where you can explore pockets of distress by zip code.  And, if you click on Nevada in the “States and Counties” tab, you can get more information for a specific county in that state.