where do people lack complete plumbing?

First, despite what you may think – these households are not mostly in rural areas - only 9 percent are. This dispels a widely held myth that most plumbing incomplete households are in hard-to-reach rural areas. Seventy-three percent of these households are in large metros. As you can see – the urban-rural distribution of plumbing incomplete households is very similar to overall population trends.

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Households with incomplete plumbing are not randomly scattered across the US. Rather they are clustered in particular areas. The map below shows the block group proportions on a scale from 0 to 100.

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The Four Corners region - the location of a large Navajo Reservation stands out. Most of Alaska is also an area of concern.

Importantly, these maps show that plumbing incompleteness is not spatially random. These patterns are only apparent because we have zoomed out to look at the entire country. The aggregate number of plumbing incomplete households across the United States is small enough to seem insignificant – 0.39 percent. However, 73 percent of the population in one neighborhood in northeastern Arizona lack complete plumbing - a major cause for concern that is hidden if we don’t pay attention to the geography.