Health Insurance in the USA (Part 3)

It’s been a long time since my last post. I was traveling the American Southeast, mostly as part of a Road Scholar Trip: “Heart of the Civil Rights Movement.” An amazing trip.

This post looks at the share of Americans who have no health insurance, in 2015, by US Congressional Districts. The lowest (best) congressional districts are in the State of Massachusetts. Eight Massachusetts districts rank in the top eight, ranging from a low of 1.9 percent uninsured (Massachusetts District #8, Lynch, D-Boston) to 3.2 percent uninsured (Massachusetts District #9, Keating, D-Bourne).

File:Massachusetts congressional districts large.pdf

In ninth place is the Minnesota 6th Congressional District (Emmer, R-Delano). And in tenth place is the Illinois 18th Congressional District (LaHood, R-Dunlap).

This is all based on data from the 2015 American Community Survey, Table GCT-2701.

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Warm and Fuzzy vs the Cold Hard Facts

The ongoing survey program by the US Census Bureau, the American Community Survey (ACS), provides a great opportunity to examine detailed and current trends in the USA. The American Community Survey has been said to contain “warm” (more current), and “fuzzy” (less precise) data, compared to the April 1st of each decade’s Decennial Census. (The Cold, Hard Facts!)

You won’t see mention of “standard errors” and “margin of error” in the Decennial Census data. It’s a 100 percent “sample” (that is, a “census”) without standard errors. (There are other errors associated with Decennial Census data, but that’s another story.)

I didn’t invent the metaphor of the ACS as a “warm and fuzzy” database. I think I first came across this in an article:

  • Heather MacDonald. “The American Community Survey: Warmer (More Current), but Fuzzier (Less Precise) than the Decennial Census” In Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 72, No. 4, Autumn 2006, pp. 491-503.

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Health Insurance in the USA (Part 2)

The share of the national population without health insurance, in 2015, was 9.4 percent. This is from the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the US Census Bureau. This is down from 15.1 percent uninsured in 2009. This is significant progress.

The 2015 uninsured share ranges from a low of 2.8 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 17.1 percent in Texas.

Massachusetts has the lowest uninsured rate (and highest insured rate) due to the passage of their state health care reform act in 2006, four years before the federal Affordable Care Act. Massachusetts has a four year head start on the rest of the USA.

Texas (17.% uninsured) has not expanded their state Medicaid program after passage of the federal ACA. Alaska (14.9% uninsured) at the second highest, has expanded the state Medicaid program. Rounding out the top (or bottom) five states are: Oklahoma (13.9% uninsured), Georgia (13.9%) and Florida (13.3%). Only Alaska of these five states has expanded their Medicaid program.

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The Most Densely Populated Place in the USA is…..Friendship Heights, Maryland

The most densely populated place in the United States, as of April 1, 2010, is Friendship Heights Village (a Census Designated Place, or CDP), in Maryland. Friendship Heights is a small, 38 acre neighborhood on the border of the District of Columbia. Population = 4,698; Area = 0.059 square miles; Density = 79,627 persons per square mile (ppsm).

Densest Places_2010.png

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Mark Twain was Born There…. Now, Nobody Lives There

Mark Twain was born in the village of Florida, Missouri, in 1835. He’s more closely associated with Hannibal, Missouri, the town that inspired Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Twain and his family moved to Hannibal when he was four.

The population of Florida, Missouri, is zero people according to the 2010 Census. That’s right, a place/city/town/village with zero/nil/goose egg population. Florida is tied with 19 other places for the “least populated places in the United States.” Mark Twain once said that Florida, Missouri was “a nearly invisible village.” Now, it’s basically the home to the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site.

Birthplace of Florida's most famous resident, Mark Twain.

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Health Insurance in the USA (Part 1)

This blog post is probably the first of several related to health insurance in the United States. The US Census Bureau has an amazing array of data related to health and health insurance, and I’m just trying to see what is available, what are the trends, and what are the characteristics of the insured and the not-insured.

The most recent and key report summarizing health insurance coverage is the US Census Bureau Report P60-257: “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015” (published September 2016) available on this Census Bureau web page. It’s a must read for anyone interested in health insurance, the health care debate, and the Affordable Care Act.

Here is a graphic from this report which shows the uninsured rate by detailed age, and how it’s changed between 2013 and 2015:


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I have updated my race/ethnicity diversity blog posts to include the spreadsheet workbooks (large cities, 65,000+, Congressional Districts).

Also, I updated the spreadsheet workbooks for the Bay Area Congress blog post.

I use Apple Numbers as my spreadsheet software. I then export Excel files from Numbers. I hope this is of use!

Spreadsheets for Large City Ranking (65,000+, 2015 ACS):

Spreadsheets for Congressional District Ranking (2015 ACS)

Spreadsheets for California/Bay Area Congressional Districts (2010 Census)