Sustainability Science

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 1167–1174 | Cite as

Inequality, poverty, and the carbon intensity of human well-being in the United States: a sex-specific analysis

  • Andrew K. Jorgenson
  • Thomas Dietz
  • Orla Kelly
Technical Report
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Concepts, Methodology, and Knowledge Management for Sustainability Science


Sustainability requires reducing the carbon intensity of human well-being (CIWB): the level of anthropogenic carbon emissions per unit of human well-being. Here, we examine how multiple forms of inequality affect sex-specific measures of CIWB using data for the 50 US states, while taking into account the effects of other socio-economic and political factors. Results from longitudinal models indicate that state-level female CIWB and male CIWB are both positively associated with (1) income concentration, measured as the income share of the top 10%, and (2) the percent of the population at or below the poverty line. Overall inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has no net effect on male CIWB or female CIWB. These findings suggest that reducing forms of inequality, especially poverty and the concentration of income among the most affluent, are potential pathways to sustainability.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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