Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Statistical Profile of the Uninsured in Washington, DC, New Mexico, and Texas

In my most read post on income and life expectancy, I used this graph to show the relationship between income and life expectancy for the 50 states.  The District of Columbia, while not technically a state, was an outlier with the highest income but the lowest life expectancy making the relationship borderline significant.  I reanalyzed the data using the percent of population under age 65 that are within 200% of the US federal poverty level for 2007 on the x axis and life expectancy on the y axis with a best fit regression line for both graphs and was highly statistically significant.  In the second graph the District of Columbia is no longer an extreme outlier on the x axis with a low 19th highest rate on the x axis at 31.5% but still the lowest life expectancy.  This indicates that there is a high degree of income variability in the nation's capitol.

The relationship between the percent uninsured in each state and life expectancy was then studied and was significantly negatively correlated.  This relationship was not as strong as the one between poverty and life expectancy (0.156 vs. 0.466).  Texas and New Mexico are the states with the highest rates of uninsured with 26.8% and 26.7% respectively.  These states ranked near the middle of the life expectancy table with New Mexico 31st at 77.7 years and Texas 34th at 77.6 years.  Infant mortality data averaged from 2004-2006 for each state was available and correlated but was not significant for % uninsured.  DC had the highest rate at 12.6 deaths/live births (neighboring Maryland was last at 4.9), Texas was 29th at 6.3, and New Mexico was 34th at 6.1.  

The effects of being uninsured are less clear in immediate health outcomes because in this country those in the lowest income range are covered by Medicaid.  It is those in the low to middle income range who are most likely to be uninsured.  Texas ranked 5th for those within 200% of poverty with 36.1% and New Mexico was ranked second with 39.9%.  All of this data was from the census bureau from 2007 except the infant mortality data.  New data will be available from the Census Bureau for the State and the County level for 2008 and 2009 which should give an indication of the effect the recession is having on the uninsured.   


Lewis Black rips on Rick Perry for ripping on New York State but forgets to mention the uninsured in Texas.  New York State has 15% uninsured, 30% withing 200% of poverty, a life expectancy of 79 and a per capita income of $47,000.  Not exactly cause for celebration.  Warning there is profanity in the clip.

**Related Posts**

Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US?


Correlating Pennsylvania’s Uninsured with Other Health Measures | Healthcare 4 All PA Education Fund