One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A graph on which the cumulative percentage of total national income (or some other variable) is plotted against the cumulative percentage of the corresponding population (ranked in increasing size of share). The extent to which the curve sags below a straight diagonal line indicates the degree of inequality of distribution.
- ‘To show the extent of inequality I have used Lorenz curves, which are easily interpreted.’
- ‘The Lorenz curve depicts the percentage of the total amount of whatever is measured, income, wealth or well-being, possessed by any given percentage of the poorest among the population.’
- ‘The closer the Lorenz curve to the diagonal line, the more equal is the distribution of income.’
- ‘The further the Lorenz curve lies below the line of equality, the more unequal is the distribution of income.’
- ‘The Lorenz curve plots the cumulative share of income held by the cumulative tenths of households ranked from the poorest to the most affluent.’
Early 20th century: named after Max O. Lorenz, the American statistician who devised the curve.
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