Visualizing Uninsured Texans

The Texas Tribune‘s Becca Aaronson looked at who’s uninsured in Texas in 2010. That’s a lot of data because there are approximately more than 5.7 million people uninsured in the southern state. Many of these people, she says, are employed, have post-secondary education, and a household income above $50,000.

But Texas is known for having a lack of insurance coverage, according to Aaronson. The graph was politically relevant because of Governor Rick Perry’s political ambitions. Perry suspended his campaign a week before the Texas Tribune added one more problem to his full plate by releasing the graph.

The Texas Tribune pulled data from the American Community Survey over three years. I like that information about the margin error is listed at the bottom of graph.

Visually, the graphs are appealing. They are easy to read and easy to filter the categories, which range from age, sex, race, citizenship status, etc. I like that the Household Income graph lists the exact number of uninsured Texas if I hover of the yellow bars, which detail the household income.

I was surprised to find that more than 3.7 million uninsured people were born in the United States. I wonder if the ACS collected data that shows us the states where these people were born because it could say something about the state’s culture and political leaning.

While I like the graphs, I would have liked to see one large graph where I could compare the various factors, such as age and household income. For example, of the native-born, how many of them are under 20 or over 50? I think that may reveal more information about whether younger Texans are more likely to get insured or not.

Comparing the data helps journalists observe larger trends.

That being said, I never read the Texas Tribune prior to the class, and I was stunned to see how data-oriented the news organization is. The organization is almost like the United States’ version of the Guardian. I think I prefer a lot of the news org’s visualization to bigger newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.


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