By Paul T. Choate
Aug. 31, 2012. According to estimates released Wednesday from the United States Census Bureau, several High Country counties are above the state average for the percentage of those who do not have health insurance, including one High Country county that tops the list.
Based on data from the 2010 Census for citizens under 65 years old, Watauga and Avery counties had 20.1 percent and 25.4 percent of people uninsured, respectively. Both were above the state average of 19.1 percent.
The estimate for Avery County’s percentage of uninsured residents in 2010 is up slightly from 2005 estimates, when it was 24.6 percent. Watauga County’s uninsured is down sharply from 2005 estimates, when it was 27.7 percent.
Another High Country county, Alleghany, now holds the designation as the county with the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the state, at 30.1 percent. This is up significantly from 2005 estimates, when 22.8 percent of residents were uninsured.
Ashe and Caldwell counties also came in with figures higher than the state average. As of the 2010 estimates, Ashe County uninsured residents make up 23 percent of the population, while Caldwell sits only slightly above the state average at 19.3 percent.
Counties in Western North Carolina have historically had somewhat higher percentages of uninsured residents when compared with the rest of the state.
The three counties with the lowest percentage of uninsured residents were Wake (15.5 percent), Camden (16 percent) and Onslow (16 percent) counties.
For more information and to view extensive data and interactive maps on uninsured percentages around the country, visit census.gov/did/www/sahie/data/interactive.