Infographic We Love: A Map of American Health

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Check out this map that's being passed around on Twitter today. It's a nifty little tool from the American Human Development Project showing health by congressional district. They've actually got multiple breakdowns, and you can use the map to look at education, income, or the full "Human Development Index." Roll your mouse over particular areas and you get to see the full report, with the number of people in the area who have graduated high school, college, and graduate school; the life expectancy at birth; and median earnings--you can even get the demographic breakdown with regard to race and ethnicity, percentage school enrollment, and whether the district is represented by a Democrat or a Republican.

Here's a screenshot of the pretty setup, and click here for the interactive tool.

A few of the surprises and trends we've already stumbled up on:

  • Who Knew Western Minnesota Was So Healthy?  That's one of the odder areas to display such a high score, another being Texas's 15th congressional district, which appears to contain the city of El Paso and nothing else.  There are also less surprising islands of good health in the suburbs of big metropolitan areas, for example in the Missouri 2nd congresssional district, which is mostly St. Louis suburbs. That one lies in what is otherwise a vast health desert in the south. The Denver suburbs also do well, as well as those around San Antonio, Dallas, New York, Boston, etc.
  • Inner Cities Not So Good  Often the areas right around the cities do better than the cities themselves.
  • Maybe Californians Really Do Eat That Much Arugula  The whole area around L.A. and Santa Barbara is a mess of good health, the Bay Area doing pretty well, too, and northeastern California, in the 4th congressional district, similarly.
  • Political Implications: Unclear  True, many cities lean Democratic, and Michelle Obama may be the new figurehead of the healthy eating movement, but there are plenty of super-healthy districts represented by Republicans, and unhealthy ones represented by Democrats. We haven't done a full count yet, but a quick eyeballing suggests the trends aren't blindly obvious.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.