Poverty and Health Insurance in Appalachia

The Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Program and the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) Program are two of my favorite ‘go-to’ sources for small-area estimates. Both are easily grabbed via tidycensus so the first thing I’d like to do is explore county-level trends going as far back as is possible – 2008-2016 for SAHIE, 2006-2017 for all SAIPE estimates except for school-age (5 to 17 in families) poverty rate estimates that allow for longer comparisons (2005-2017).

Appalachia: A Profile in Numbers

The founding report of the Appalachian Regional Commission does a wonderful job of highlighting the state of affairs in Appalachia circa 1950 and 1960. The prose is not too shabby even if it careens every now and then into the romantic: “Graphs and tables can hardly relate the acutely personal story of a child in a remote valley, his horizon of opportunity limited to the enclosing hills; nor the despair of his father, who, idled by forces beyond his control and seeing no prospect of future employment, must live month in and month out with the vision of that child repeating his own history.