Oklahoma has the sixth highest percentage of residents without health insurance, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Oklahomans in rural counties are more likely to be uninsured, while those living in suburban areas are more likely to have health insurance, data show.
More than 690,000 Oklahomans — 21.9 percent — were uninsured in 2010, and Oklahoma’s rate was worse than four of six neighboring states. At 26.3 percent, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured residents among U.S. states, according to the bureau’s annual Small Area Health Insurance Estimates.
Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents: 5.2 percent. Overall, the number of Oklahomans without health insurance increased 3.7 percent from 2009 to 2010.
The map below shows health insurance rates by county. Darker counties have a higher percentage of residents without health insurance. Click around. You’ll see the percentage and total number of residents with and without health insurance in 2010. How does your county compare?
Interactive Map: Uninsured in Oklahoma
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Nearly one-third of residents in Cimarron County — at the very tip of Oklahoma’s panhandle — were uninsured in 2010, the worst rate in the state. Canadian County has the lowest percentage — 16 percent — of residents without health insurance, data show.
Racially, Hispanics were the least likely to have health insurance, followed by blacks and whites. About 38 percent of Hispanics were uninsured, more than double the rate of whites. And men were more likely than women to be uninsured, data show.
Rural health care is a growing problem in Oklahoma. The state faces a shortage of rural doctors, and all but six of Oklahoma’s 77 counties have “medically underserved” populations, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The state is trying to remedy the problem by subsidizing medical students, residents and physicians with scholarships and stipends, which are handed out in exchange for commitments to work in rural clinics and hospitals.