America: “The Land of the Percents”

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Romney’s recent characterization of the mindset of the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes has spurred discussion about who pays what, and how income, taxes and entitlements affect American voters’ decisions in the voting booth. And though percentiles have become a trendy way to describe groups of people, they sometimes aren’t as effective in telling the whole story as we might like.

That said, the Guardian‘s Data Blog has a put together an interactive map that attempts to break down America’s 47 percent even further, showing how different groups of Americans are distributed by state: “The U.S. has become a land of percents: the 1% versus the 99%, the 8% unemployed or the 15% in poverty,” writes Guardian news editor Simon Rogers. His map groups Americans not just by taxes, employment and poverty; it also shows the seven percent who are veterans, the 15 percent without medical insurance, the 13 percent over 65 years of age.

The Guardian's interactive map of America. Click to go to The Guardian's site to interact.

The Guardian's interactive map of America. Click on the map to go to The Guardian's site to interact.

Some highlights:

– Most of the states with the highest percentage of people without health insurance are in the south – and these same states also have high percentages of residents with no tax liability and residents living in poverty. Most of these states went to John McCain in 2008 – the exceptions are Florida and New Mexico.

– The richest Americans live in California and are clustered in the northeast — in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. In 2008, those states all went to Obama.

-Americans receiving Medicare are fairly evenly distributed across the country. The exceptions are Utah and Alaska, which are also America’s most youthful states – only 8 percent of the population of Alaska and 9 percent of the population of Utah is over 65 years old. The states with the most senior citizens are Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. On average, 13 percent of state populations are over 65.

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  • Dave Witter

    i hope the 47% vote

  • diane

    Love that the state with the highest rate of people covered by health insurance is – drum roll please – Massachusetts!! But of course RomneyCare/Obama Care is EVIL!

  • rattlecages

    So do I. And I hope they think before they do.

  • franciemw

    I am more offended by Romeny’s statement that47 percent of citizens are not willing to take personal responsibility for themselves than his statement about not paying income taxes.

  • WOW

    Funny that the states that contain the 1% who pay no tax are the same states with the fewest veterans. The only exception being Utah, which is one of the 2 states containing the youngest Americans, the other being Alaska (can’t lose our oil producers).
    Our veterans should be clear who they are fighting for and sacrificing for: The wealthy.