An undertow of the current health care debate has been the suspicion that working Americans will be forced to cover the cost of health care for deadbeats who decline to work and pay for their own. I thought it would be interesting to look, state by state, at just how many people 16 years of age or older are actually in the work force as defined by the census bureau, i.e., working outside of the home or actively looking.
This graphic, from the latest American Community Survey by Bureau of the Census, shows a large disparity from region to region.
Why are so many people older than 15 not in the work force today? According to a 2004 study (current unemployment will change these numbers temporarily) the main reasons are:
37.9% are retired
19.1% are going to school
14.7% suffer from chronic illness or disability
13.2% are taking care of children/others at home
4.3% are unable to find work
3.6% are uninterested in working