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 13th among its peer cities in the rate of workers employed in high wage jobs, with 41.3% 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 middle 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 62%. In comparison, western and southern Louisville communities have the fewest workers in high wage occupations with rates as low as 16% 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

Since the year 2000, Louisville has trailed behind the peer mean, hovering around the 25 percentile. The city is less than one percentage point below the 25th percentile and sits at 39.9%.

Comparison Between the Most and Least Improved Cities

Louisville has never risen above the peer mean during the period of data collection shown on the graph. The percentage of Louisvillians in high wage occupations currently stands at 39.9%, below the 42.1% peer mean. Knoxville, the most improved peer city has outpaced the peer mean since 2000. Memphis, the least improved city has fallen below the peer mean since 2000.

Differences Based on Race

Louisville has a consistent gap between Black and white residents in high wage occupations. Since 2013, the gap has widened. Forty-four point 4 percent of white Louisvillians are employed in a high wage occupation. This is below their peer mean of 48.5%. Only 25.7% of Black Louisvillians are employed in high wage occupations. The gap between Black Louisvillians and the peer mean for Black people is wider than the gap for white Louisvillians and their white peers.

Differences Based on Sex

Females in Louisville began outpacing males in Louisville prior to the year 2008 in the percentage of individuals employed in high wage occupations. While both groups are currently below their respective peer means, females in Louisville are closer to their peer mean than males.