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Rising Insurance Premium for the Northeast


You are a journalist for the New York Times.  Your specialty is research.


Some reader’s have written you complaining that their health insurance premiums are going up while that is not the case for people living in the Midwest.  Upon calling several insurance companies (at your reader’s prompting), you were told the same thing –


“Those residing in the Northeast compared to those residing in the Midwest live a more risky lifestyle in terms of alcohol consumption, driving habits, etc.  As such their premiums unfortunately are going up while those living in the Midwest are not.”


You have decided to research this and write an article for the newspaper to either confirm or refute this claim by the insurance companies.  You suspect they are not telling the whole story and that the cost difference is most likely a function of the higher cost of living in the Northeast.


Upon searching for various data sources to assist you in this effort, you ran across the Center for Disease Control’s “2010 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.”  This survey is conducted every 10 years and compiles the following information by state. 





Current cigarette smokers


Overweight (based on government height weight formula


Sedentary lifestyle (less than three 20-minuted exercise sessions a week)


No leisure time activity off of the job


Binge drinking (five or more drinks on occasion)


Drinking and driving (after too much to drink)


Seat-belt use (occasionally or never)


U.S. State (alphanumeric)


Number of people surveyed


In this study you will note that about 1,000 people from each state were randomly chosen to estimate the true population percentages. 


The file has been uploaded to blackboard.  A printout of the dataset is attached.  Please note that some data is missing for certain states and is denoted with an asterisk.


Your task:


  1. First you will need to determine which states represent the Midwest and which represent the Northeast.  You can find this information as defined by the U.S. government at the web address:  www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf 


  1. Once determined you will then need to weight together the survey percentages based on population estimates for each state for the northeast and again for the Midwest.  Use the 2000 population estimates. You can find these population estimates at the web address:  http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/index.html


  1. Once all data is obtained and weighted together, you will then be ready to conduct some hypothesis tests to determine statistical significance.  I suggest you create confidence intervals around the difference in percentages or averages.  For example, you may want to determine if the percentage of those that binge drink is higher in the Northeast versus the Midwest and if so, is the difference statistically significant. 


  1. In addition to using the CDC data you are required to also add some census data on income (median income) and education (% with bachelors degree) to the mix.   But you must confirm it makes sense by correlating these measures with the risky CDC behaviors at a state level.  In other words, you will conduct a correlation analysis where you correlate the census median incomes and percent with a bachelors degree versus the CDC smoking and alcohol consumption percentages.  Are they correlated and if so how?


  1. Addiitonally read the lasted research on education on life expectancy.  Google “Do Rich People Live Longer Harvard.”  You may wish to cite portions of this study in your findings.


  1. In addition, I want you to consider the cost of living differences for the NE states versus the Midwest states.  Google “Money Magazine Cost of Living Calculator” to find a tool to help you conduct this portion of the analysis.  The true reason as to why we in the NE pay more is simply because our cost of living is more.  Is that true?  What do these calculators suggest?


  1. At this stage you will then be ready to create a final presentation.  The presentations will need to display the raw data and findings in table and graph format using Excel.  Be creative.  (Hint:  Perry loves presentations with nice backgrounds and graphics).


  1. Your final report will be in Power Point format with no more than 15 slides.


  1. Each Presentation must have at a minimum the following sections:


  • Introduction
  • Data Used and How Collected
  • Analysis Steps
  • Findings
  • Conclusion


  1. On the last class each person will present their findings.



Census Web Site Screen Shoot





  1. This is where you will go.  At this location you can get mini reports by state including population estimates, median income values, education levels, etc.  It is a vast source of free information by state. 


  1. To find the map that defines what states represent Northeast versus the Midwest go to the PDF file located at:  www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf 



2010 CDC Survey Data Regarding Behavior Risk




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CASE xxxxxxx xxxxxxx clear="all" xxxxxxx Insurance Premium xxxxxxx the Northeast


You xxxxxxx a xxxxxxx xxxxxxx the New xxxxxxx Times.  Your xxxxxxx is research.


Some xxxxxxx have written xxxxxxx complaining that xxxxxxx health insurance xxxxxxx xxxxxxx going xxxxxxx while that xxxxxxx not the xxxxxxx for xxxxxxx xxxxxxx in the xxxxxxx Upon calling xxxxxxx insurance companies xxxxxxx your reader’s xxxxxxx you were xxxxxxx the same xxxxxxx xxxxxxx align="center" xxxxxxx residing in xxxxxxx Northeast compared xxxxxxx those xxxxxxx xxxxxxx the Midwest xxxxxxx a more xxxxxxx lifestyle in xxxxxxx of alcohol xxxxxxx driving habits, xxxxxxx As such xxxxxxx xxxxxxx unfortunately xxxxxxx going up xxxxxxx those living xxxxxxx the xxxxxxx xxxxxxx not.”


You have xxxxxxx to research xxxxxxx and write xxxxxxx article for xxxxxxx newspaper to xxxxxxx confirm or xxxxxxx xxxxxxx claim xxxxxxx the insurance xxxxxxx You suspect xxxxxxx are xxxxxxx xxxxxxx the whole xxxxxxx and that xxxxxxx cost difference xxxxxxx most likely xxxxxxx function of xxxxxxx higher cost xxxxxxx xxxxxxx in xxxxxxx Northeast.


Upon searching xxxxxxx various data xxxxxxx to xxxxxxx xxxxxxx in this xxxxxxx you ran xxxxxxx the Center xxxxxxx Disease Control’s xxxxxxx Behavior Risk xxxxxxx Surveillance Survey.”  xxxxxxx xxxxxxx is xxxxxxx every 10 xxxxxxx and compiles xxxxxxx following xxxxxxx xxxxxxx state. 




Current xxxxxxx smokers


Sedentary xxxxxxx (less than xxxxxxx 20-minuted exercise xxxxxxx a xxxxxxx xxxxxxx style="width:480px;height:29px;">

No leisure xxxxxxx activity off xxxxxxx the job

Binge drinking xxxxxxx or more xxxxxxx on occasion)

Seat-belt xxxxxxx xxxxxxx or never)

U.S. State xxxxxxx style="width:96px;height:29px;">


Number xxxxxxx people surveyed


In xxxxxxx study you xxxxxxx note that xxxxxxx xxxxxxx people xxxxxxx each state xxxxxxx randomly chosen xxxxxxx estimate xxxxxxx xxxxxxx population percentages. 


The xxxxxxx has been xxxxxxx to blackboard.  xxxxxxx printout of xxxxxxx dataset is xxxxxxx Please note xxxxxxx xxxxxxx data xxxxxxx missing for xxxxxxx states and xxxxxxx denoted xxxxxxx xxxxxxx asterisk.


Your xxxxxxx you will xxxxxxx to determine xxxxxxx states represent xxxxxxx Midwest and xxxxxxx represent the xxxxxxx xxxxxxx can xxxxxxx this information xxxxxxx defined by xxxxxxx U.S. xxxxxxx xxxxxxx the web xxxxxxx  www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf 


  1. Once xxxxxxx you will xxxxxxx need to xxxxxxx together the xxxxxxx percentages based xxxxxxx xxxxxxx estimates xxxxxxx each state xxxxxxx the northeast xxxxxxx again xxxxxxx xxxxxxx Midwest.  Use xxxxxxx 2000 population xxxxxxx You can xxxxxxx these population xxxxxxx at the xxxxxxx address:  In addition xxxxxxx using xxxxxxx xxxxxxx data you xxxxxxx required to xxxxxxx add some xxxxxxx data on xxxxxxx (median income) xxxxxxx education (% xxxxxxx xxxxxxx degree) xxxxxxx the mix.   xxxxxxx you must xxxxxxx it xxxxxxx xxxxxxx by correlating xxxxxxx measures with xxxxxxx risky CDC xxxxxxx at a xxxxxxx level.  In xxxxxxx words, you xxxxxxx xxxxxxx a xxxxxxx analysis where xxxxxxx correlate the xxxxxxx median xxxxxxx xxxxxxx percent with xxxxxxx bachelors degree xxxxxxx the CDC xxxxxxx and alcohol xxxxxxx percentages.  Are xxxxxxx correlated and xxxxxxx xxxxxxx how?


  1. In xxxxxxx I want xxxxxxx to consider xxxxxxx cost xxxxxxx xxxxxxx differences for xxxxxxx NE states xxxxxxx the Midwest xxxxxxx Google “Money xxxxxxx Cost of xxxxxxx Calculator” to xxxxxxx xxxxxxx tool xxxxxxx help you xxxxxxx this portion xxxxxxx the xxxxxxx xxxxxxx true reason xxxxxxx to why xxxxxxx in the xxxxxxx pay more xxxxxxx simply because xxxxxxx cost of xxxxxxx xxxxxxx more.  xxxxxxx that true?  xxxxxxx do these xxxxxxx suggest?



  1. Your xxxxxxx report will xxxxxxx in Power xxxxxxx xxxxxxx with xxxxxxx more than xxxxxxx slides.


  1. Each xxxxxxx must xxxxxxx xxxxxxx a minimum xxxxxxx following sections:


  • Introduction
  • Data xxxxxxx and How xxxxxxx Steps
  • Findings
  • Conclusion


  1. On xxxxxxx last class xxxxxxx person will xxxxxxx xxxxxxx findings.


Census Web xxxxxxx Screen Shoot





  1. This xxxxxxx where you xxxxxxx go.  At xxxxxxx location you xxxxxxx get mini xxxxxxx xxxxxxx state xxxxxxx population estimates, xxxxxxx income values, xxxxxxx levels, xxxxxxx xxxxxxx is a xxxxxxx source of xxxxxxx information by xxxxxxx style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> 

    1. To xxxxxxx the map xxxxxxx defines what xxxxxxx xxxxxxx Northeast xxxxxxx the Midwest xxxxxxx to the xxxxxxx file xxxxxxx xxxxxxx www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf 



    2010 CDC xxxxxxx Data Regarding xxxxxxx Risk



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