Population in High Wage Occupations

Louisville’s economic development efforts should focus the quality of jobs created, not just the quantity. Emphasizing job growth in high-wage sectors will help more families achieve financial stability and reinvest their expendable income into the community. Additionally, the percentage of high wage jobs is an important factor for individuals who are considering moving to Louisville and joining the workforce.

Peer City Perspective

Louisville currently ranks 16th among its peer cities in the rate of workers employed in high wage jobs, with 39% of its workforce employed in high wage jobs. Jobs are determined as high wage if their categorical assignment within the American Community Survey has a median income of greater than $35,600. These industries include management professionals, law enforcement, and construction/maintenance.

Louisville is in the bottom of its peer group according to a natural breaks algorithm. Cities in green are those that outperform their peers, cities in yellow represent the middle cluster, and those in red are a group that lags behind its peers on this indicator.

Where are employees in high wage occupations found in Louisville?

There is a clear geographical divide in where workers in high wage occupations live. In the map to the left, areas where more workers in high wage occupations live are displayed in purple, while areas containing fewer can be seen in blue and white.

More workers in high wage occupations live in eastern Louisville in communities such as the Highlands and Northeast Jefferson, where the highest percentage reaches 60%. In comparison, western and southern Louisville communities have the fewest workers in high wage occupations with rates as low as 12% in the California neighborhood.

Scroll over the map to see values for each census tract. Zoom in to see street names that form the boundaries of each tract.

Trends Over Time

The rate of workers employed in high wage jobs has increased since 2000. However, Louisville has consistently had a lower rate of workers employed in high wage jobs than the average of its peer cities, consistently around the 25th percentile.

Comparison Between the Most and Least Improved Cities

Louisville continues to fall below the peer mean, although the rate of residents in high wage occupations is increasing. Tulsa, the least improved city, has seen a decrease in the percentage of high wage jobs since 2013. Grand Rapids is the most improved peer city and has seen an increase of 7.5 percentage points since 2000, however the city still has a lower percentage of high wage jobs than Louisville.

Differences Based on Race

The gap between White high wage earners and Black high wage earners is increasing. Since 2008, the percentage of Blacks in high wage occupations has fallen, while the percentage of Whites in high wage occupations has continued to increase. Both groups are below their respective 25th percentiles.

Differences Based on Sex

The percentage of females in high wage occupations has increased since 2000 and has consistently been equal to their peer mean. The percentage of males in high wage occupations has stayed approximately the same since 2000. Males continue to fall below their respective peer mean. The gap between females and males is increasing.