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Rates of Uninsured Fall in Rural Counties, Remain Higher Than Urban Counties

Jennifer Cheeseman Day

More people had health insurance from 2013 to 2017 across the nation, including in every state and almost every county.

The interactive graphic below, that uses Small Area Health Insurance Estimates released today, highlights uninsured rates for 2017 at the county level and the change since 2013.

It compares the percentage of people without health insurance in rural and nonrural areas and in states that expanded Medicaid and those that didn’t, as of 2017.  

Counties are Classified

  • “Mostly Urban” when less than one-half of their population lives in rural areas.
  • “Mostly Rural” when more than half but not all of their population lives in rural areas.
  • “Completely Rural” when everyone in the county lives in a rural area.

Highlights from the Interactive Graphic

  • In 2017, county uninsured rates for people under age 65 ranged from 2.3 percent in Norfolk County, Mass., to 33.7 percent in Gaines County, Texas. The median county rate was 10.6 percent.
  • Massachusetts’ 14 counties had one of the narrowest gaps among its counties. Texas had one of the widest ranges.
  • Residents of rural counties still lack insurance at higher rates than those living in urban areas. About 12.3 percent of people in completely rural counties lacked health insurance compared with 11.3 percent for mostly rural counties and 10.1 percent for mostly urban counties.
  • In nearly every county, whether completely rural, mostly rural or urban, the percentage of people without health insurance has declined since 2013.

Jennifer Cheeseman Day Shows You How

About the Data

This Census Bureau infographic shows all counties by rurality. It employs the Census Bureau typology for rurality using the 2010 Census definitions of urban/rural, based on the percentage of people who live in rural areas within the county.

The infographic combines this typology with estimates of uninsured rates for all counties from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates program, which models annual health insurance coverage for all counties by combining American Community Survey data with population estimates and administrative records.

Jennifer Cheeseman Day is a demographer in the Census Bureau's Communications Directorate.


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