You don’t have to wait for 2020 for U.S. Census health data

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source:“Number of People per Doctor's Office by County and Counties with No Doctor's Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers data beyond the nation’s population. It has statistics on everything from health insurance and disability to veterans and HIV/AIDS. This map shows the proportion of doctor’s offices across the country. Source: “Number of People per Doctor’s Office by County and Counties with No Doctor’s Offices,” U.S. Census Bureau.

The nation’s next population count won’t come until 2020, but in the meantime reporters can use the U.S. Census Bureau to find a host of data related to health disparities, including income, poverty status, race, age, gender and housing.

We have created this tip sheet to help AHCJ members search for information and spot trends as they cover stories whether nationally or in a particular state, county or city. You can even search by ZIP code.

Most recently, the bureau released its annual statistics on income, poverty and health insurance coverage, drawing wide media coverage. NPR, New York Times, CBS and other national outlets all covered the news. However, many other local outlets, such as the San Antonio Express-News and SFGATE/SanFrancisco Chronicle, were also able to drill down into the data to find stories for their readers.

While that data release is an annual affair, the census bureau’s website offers year-round data on a wide range of related topics, from fertility and health insurance coverage to HIV/AIDS and “doctor density” of a particular geographic area.

By the way, AHCJ members interested in a census-related training webinar can let us know by emailing: determinants@healthjournalism.org.

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