As politicians fight over healthcare policy in DC, Social Explorer takes a look at America’s health and voting patterns using different maps and datasets. In addition to our large library of demographic data and maps, Social Explorer also offers specialized surveys including the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and election results.
Taking stock of who has health coverage and who does not can help start the conversation about the nation's health. According to the American Community Survey, back in 2010, the year that Obamacare was signed into law, nearly 18 percent of Americans under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage. By 2015, that number decreased to just under 11 percent.
Yet, this information on its own doesn’t tell us about people’s wellbeings or their ability to take care of their health. We want to know more about how healthy people are and if they have access to medical care. The county-level health data available on Social Explorer offers rich detail on a number of health indicators. The following map shows adults who report having fair or poor health. This self-reported health status is a general measure of health-related quality of life. The status data comes from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This health status information is available for many counties across the nation. Click on Kentucky (marked by the hotspot) to zoom in on an area where the healthcare debate has been especially heated. Several areas in the Appalachia (Eastern Kentucky) have noticeably higher numbers of people reporting fair or poor health.
The following map shows the percent of adults with limited access to a doctor due to costs. This measure helps illustrate the prevalence of vulnerable populations who cannot afford healthcare or doctor visits.
Digging deeper into the politics of health policy, Social Explorer users can explore health data side-by-side with election data. Our election result maps come from David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
See how different areas voted while also looking at their population’s health. For example, many Kentucky counties with higher percentages of people reporting fair or poor health voted Republican.
Meanwhile, looking at New England, we see the other end of the spectrum where many counties with lower percentages of people reporting fair or poor health voted Democrat.