Keep this map in mind now that the Supreme Court has ruled to uphold Obamacare.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, it's worth taking another look at a visual representation of the millions of Americans who still lack health insurance. A few months back, our own Richard Florida broke down the geography of America's uninsured, noting the "uninsured belt” he saw running through much of the South and the Sunbelt.

Nationwide, 17.1 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in 2011, according to the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index, which also produced the map below. But there are stark differences between the states. More than one in five people are uninsured in roughly a dozen states, starting with Texas (27.6 percent), Mississippi (23.5 percent), Florida (22.9 percent), Oklahoma (22.1 percent), California (22.0 percent), and Nevada (21.9 percent). Compare those figures with Massachusetts, which boasts the lowest rate of uninsured people in the nation, at less than five percent. Massachusetts, of course, already has an individual mandate thanks to the health-care reform efforts of former governor Mitt Romney.

(Click the map for a larger image)

Here's Richard Florida on some of his findings on the geography of the uninsured:

Uninsured states are significantly more religious, based on the percentage of state residents who say that religion plays an important role in their everyday life. The correlation between the two is .51.

Politics and ideology factor in as well. Conservative states (based both on the percentage of state residents who identify as conservatives (.58) and the percentage of who voted for McCain in 2008 (.60) have a higher percentage of uninsured citizens. Economics also comes into play. There is a positive correlation between the percent of a population that is uninsured and the poverty rate (.58). Blue-collar and working class states also boast a higher level of uninsured (.40). 

Not surprisingly, the share of the population that is uninsured is lower in more affluent and more highly educated states. The share of uninsured people is negatively associated with state income levels, the percentage of college grads, and the percentage of workers in professional, knowledge, and creative occupations.

Legal scholars are still parsing today's complicated ruling, which upheld the mandate as a tax and precluded the federal government from withholding Medicaid funds from states that choose not to participate in the law's Medicaid expansion. In that sense, there remains some uncertainty as to how the landscape of the uninsured might vary state-by-state once the law is fully implemented in 2014. Still, regardless of any potential variation in Medicaid expansion, one thing at last seems certain: This map of uninsured Americans will soon look very, very different.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A rendering of Quayside, the waterfront development now being planned for Toronto.
    Solutions

    A Big Master Plan for Google's Growing Smart City

    Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs has revealed its master plan for the controversial Quayside waterfront development—and it’s a lot bigger.

  2. Anthony Bourdain in 2001, when he was still the chef-owner of Les Halles in New York City.
    Life

    Urbanists Could Learn a Lot From Anthony Bourdain

    The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

  3. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

  4. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  5. Design

    Revisiting Pittsburgh’s Era of Big Plans

    A conversation with the trio of authors behind a new book about the Steel City’s mid-20th-century transformation.

×