The 25 Cities That Most Need Affordable Health Care

March 4, 2014 at 5:50 am CST

In February, we launched our first list of Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care. We looked at a number of factors about costs, access and quality of health care available in small to mid-sized cities throughout the U.S.

Let’s take that a step further and look at cities that have the greatest need for affordable health care. By that, we mean cities that need both affordability and care. Cities need affordability due to low overall incomes. We’ll look at a high need for health care due to high percentages of the most doctor-going populations: kids and those over age 60.

Finally, we added into our ranking the percent of the population without current health insurance (as of 2012, when the data was compiled as part of the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey). We ranked each city based on the sum of its ranks on those four data points. Clearly, this isn’t nearly as rigorous as our Top 100 Best Places to Live or our monthly top 10 lists, but the results do show some interesting patterns right off the bat.

  1. Only one of the top 25 cities that most need affordable health care is in a state other than Texas, Florida, California or Arizona.
  2. Using a Pearson statistical function to examine correlation, ranking poorly on this list was much more related to having high uninsured populations than having a high proportion of kids or senior citizens. Again, there are only four data points we’re measuring, but those two results were highly correlative. That would seem to indicate that the high number of Florida cities on the list is more related to the uninsured population than the senior citizen population, for instance.
  3. Overall cities in the Northeast (Vermont, New Hampshire), Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin) and Plains states (North and South Dakota, Wyoming) fared much better than cities in the South (Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi) and Southwest (New Mexico, Nevada, Texas).

Here is the full list of the 25 cities most in need of affordable health care:

  1. Nogales, Arizona
  2. San Benito, Texas
  3. Eagle Pass, Texas
  4. Calexico, California
  5. Weslaco, Texas
  6. Hialeah, Florida
  7. Pharr, Texas
  8. Haines City, Florida
  9. Sweetwater, Florida
  10. Hialeah Gardens, Florida
  11. Socorro, Texas
  12. El Monte, California
  13. Harlingen, Texas
  14. National City, California
  15. Brownsville, Texas
  16. Selma, California
  17. Rosemead, California
  18. Lauderdale Lakes, Florida
  19. Woodburn, Oregon
  20. Cathedral City, California
  21. Indio, California
  22. San Juan, Texas
  23. Miami Gardens, Florida
  24. Marshall, Texas
  25. Baldwin Park, California
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