Visualizing Health Inequality

Drilling Down with Tableau

In our latest additions to the Community Health Score website, we're seeking to add new dimensions of understanding of the health in our community by adding new and powerful visualizations using Tableau Public.  Over the coming semester, we'll be adding new measures and techniques to better quantify health inequalities while updating the site so that our measures and indexes reflect the most current data and information.   For example, we're working on:


Gini Coefficient - a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation's residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality.

Diversity Index - an indicator of social diversity that measures the probability that any two people chosen at random from a given census area are of different races or ethnicities.

Food Balance Score -  an index measuring the ratio of mainstream to fringe food at the Census tract level, which is a predictor of diabetes and other health factors.


In our first visualization using Tableau, we recreated the maps of our Community Types at the Census tract level of the characteristics of designated Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) in Kent County.   The MUA designation is an aggregate measure  of health shortages managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration.   The measures includes components of health status, ability-to-pay, accessibility to health services, and availability of health professionals.  In the interactive visualization below, you can select Community Type in the left map or MUA designation in the right map and to focus on data within the scatterplot.  The scatterplot represents data on women's access to prenatal care and the proportion of the overall population within each community and by MUA status without health insurance.   There are some rather strong relationships between health insurance status and access to prenatal care as well.