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What’s the story with health care spending?

A look at per capita personal expenditures by state


The map above shows spending on health care per person in each U.S. state, with darker colors indicating higher amounts. Various factors in each state influence the composition of these expenditures: the age structure of the population, income level, level of competition among health care providers, and local policies and regulations. Thus, everyone can develop an interpretation of why some states spend more on health care based on, for example, older populations, higher incomes, greater market power of health care providers, and policies that lead to more spending.

As it turns out, the story hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years. The map below shows that expenditures in 1997 don’t look much different from expenditures in 2017. Relatively speaking, of course: Expenditures have at least doubled since then, but the fundamental forces that drive health care costs across states seem persistent. For example, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey still spend more than Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, which still spend more than Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

How these maps were created: On GeoFRED, go to the state-level maps, open the cogwheel in the upper-left corner, and select the series “Per Capita Personal Consumption Expenditures: Services: Health Care.” For the second map, simply change the date.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.



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