Close to half of adults (46.1%) living in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX, had no healthcare coverage last year, nearly three times the national average, and the highest percentage across the 188 U.S. metropolitan areas that the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index surveyed. Texas and California account for nine of the 10 metro areas with the highest rates of uninsured residents, along with Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, SC.
Top 4 Insured Metro Areas in MA
In contrast, the four metro areas with the lowest rates of uninsured were in all Massachusetts, each with about one in 20 adults lacking coverage. Worcester, MA had the lowest rate of all, 4.7%. The other metro areas in the top 10 for lowest uninsured rates were located in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
These metro area findings are consistent with Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index 2010 state-level data, which show the uninsured rate is highest in Texas and lowest in Massachusetts (see below), where state law requires almost all adults to carry health insurance.
Uninsured Rates Highest in Largely Hispanic Metro Areas
The 10 metro areas with the highest uninsured rates have a significantly higher Hispanic population than the 10 metro areas with the lowest percentage of uninsured adults. On average, 44.5% of residents surveyed in the 10 metro areas with the highest rates of uninsured are of Hispanic or Latino origin, according to US Census Bureau data from 2009. This compares with an average of 7.1% in the 10 metro areas with the lowest percent uninsured.
In McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX, where nearly half the population is uninsured, 89.8% of residents are Hispanic. The 46.1% who were uninsured in that metro area is close to the national average of 38.9% of Hispanics who were uninsured in 2010.
Gallup also found that low-income Americans are among the most likely to be uninsured, which explains, in part, the high rate of uninsured among Hispanics, who, in general, have lower than average incomes. Hispanics at every income level, however, are more likely than non-Hispanics to be uninsured.
Some Metro Areas With High Uninsured Rates Have Low Hispanic Population
Not all metro areas in the top 10 uninsured group have a high Hispanic population. One exception is Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, S.C., where 28.9% are uninsured, but just 5% of the population is Hispanic. Additionally, more than 20% of U.S. adults were uninsured in 56 of the 188 US metro areas Gallup and Healthways surveyed, representing 21 different states, which Gallup says clearly demonstrates that high rates of uninsured residents exist in all types of communities.
Money for and Access to Care Bigger Issue for Metro Areas With High Uninsured Rates
Americans living in the 10 metro areas with the highest rate of uninsured residents are about 25% less likely than those in the 10 metro areas with the lowest rate of uninsured to have a personal doctor.
Residents of the 10 metros with the highest uninsured rates are also less likely than those of the lowest uninsured rates to say there was no time in the past year when they failed to receive medical care because of the cost, 73.8% vs. 85.5%. This difference in being able to afford care is relatively small though, considering the significant difference in coverage rates between these two groups of metros.
Adults in the 10 metro areas with the highest rate of uninsured are slightly less likely to say they have easy access to medicine where they live, although nearly nine in 10 say they do.
Texans Least, MA Residents Most Insured
Nearly three in 10 adults living in Texas (27.8%) do not have health insurance, making it the state with the highest uninsured rate in the country in 2010, according to other Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. Meanwhile, by a significant margin, Massachusetts – where state law requires all adult residents to have health insurance – continues to have the lowest percentage of uninsured residents at 4.7%.
About the Data: The 2010 metro area findings are extracted from Gallup’s 2010 Daily tracking data set and are based on more than 200,000 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who live in one of the nation’s larger metro areas.