Everyone is vulnerable to illness and injury. But where each person lives has outsized influence on what happens next. The U.S. is a wealthy country that devotes nearly 20% of its economy to healthcare, but those resources are inequitably distributed. With support from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Modern Healthcare used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social vulnerability index, along with Health Resources and Services Administration access scores, to map the regions with the poorest access to healthcare and highest levels of social vulnerability. Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, the Bronx, New York, and Navajo County, Arizona are among the hundreds of communities where access to quality, affordable healthcare is limited because of structural deficiencies. Each place is unique but they share common characteristics and experiences that underscore how the U.S. healthcare system falls short.
Unwell: How Health Inequity Maps Out Across America
The U.S. spends billions on healthcare every year, but areas that rank worst on the CDC's social vulnerability index suffer from the system's many shortcomings.
Creating access for unhoused people in the Bronx
The New York City borough's plight is forcing low-income residents to delay care. But when they need them, appointments with providers can be hard to find.
Access to transportation underlies disparities in rural Louisiana
Mamou, Louisiana — the self-proclaimed Cajun Music Capital of the World — has been federally designated as medically underserved since 1978.
Click here to listen to Senior Operations Reporter Alex Kacik and Health Disparities Reporter Kara Hartnett as they discuss health disparities in the U.S.
This map shows where social vulnerability and poor access to healthcare in the United States intersect. Massive gaps persist in the South and among rural, urban and tribal communities, which illustrate shortcomings of the industry to provide care to people that need it most.