September 16, 2010: The percent of uninsured in our country increased to 16.7%, or 50.7 million people in 2009 (up from 15.4% or 46.3 million in 2008). The newest numbers were released today by the U.S. Census Bureau based on data from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS).
The increase in uninsurance is reflective of the impact of the economic downtown, with more people losing jobs and losing health insurance coverage. 2009 was the first full year of the economic downturn.
Another important finding is that the number of people WITH health insurance coverage has decreased for the first time since the CPS began measuring this in 1987. We continue to see decreases in the number of people with employment-based or individual coverage, and increases in those covered by government insurance or with no coverage.
We don’t have data to tell us specifically why employment-based coverage is declining, whether it’s due to employers dropping coverage or to employees losing employment. However, the evidence suggests that public programs continue to carry much of the burden of lost coverage.
You can review the report, "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009," today’s press release, and tables/figures at the Bureau’s health insurance web page.
Estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) will be released on September 28. SHADAC will host a webinar to discuss the estimates at noon Eastern time on September 30. The webinar is free but advance registration is required at this link.
The State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a part of the Health Policy and Management Division of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.