Blog & News
2016 ACS: Uninsured Rate Fell Nationally and in 39 StatesSeptember 12, 2017:
New health insurance coverage estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that there was a statistically significant decline in the national uninsured rate between 2015 and 2016. Uninsurance also declined significantly in 39 states between 2015 and 2016, with year-over-year changes and 2016 rates varying widely between states.
Uninsurance from 2015 to 2016
- The national uninsurance rate fell from 9.4% in 2015 to 8.6% in 2016 (a 0.8 percentage-point drop), with almost 2.5 million fewer uninsured Americans in 2016. This drop in uninsurance has continued every year since the historic drop between 2013 and 2014.
- Among the 39 states that saw significant declines in their uninsured rates from 2015 to 2016, Montana saw the largest percentage-point decrease, from 11.6% to 8.1% (-3.5pp), and Massachusetts saw the smallest decrease, from 2.8% to 2.5% (-0.3pp).
- Eleven states (Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia saw no statistically significant change in uninsurance between 2015 and 2016. No state saw a statistically significant increase in uninsurance during this time period.
Uninsurance Levels in 2016
- Texas continues to have the highest uninsured in 2016, at 16.6%, although this was a decrease from 17.1% in 2015.
- The lowest 2016 uninsured rate was 2.5% in Massachusetts. This was also (as noted above) a decrease from 2015, when the state’s uninsured rate was 2.8%.
- Among Medicaid expansion states, the average uninsured rate in 2016 was 6.5%, and individual state uninsurance rates ranged from a low of 2.5% in Massachusetts to a high of 14.0% in Alaska.
- Among non-expansion states, the average uninsured rate in 2016 was 11.7%, and individual state uninsurance rates ranged from a low of 5.3% in Wisconsin to a high of 16.6% in Texas.
See our infographic illustrating uninsurance in Minnesota.
The ACS Estimates in Context
The findings from the 2016 ACS are consistent with estimates from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which were also released today. The CPS found that the percentage of all people who were uninsured for the entire calendar year fell 0.3 percentage points nationwide, from 9.1% in 2015 to 8.8% in 2016.
Census Bureau Experts Will Share Insights during September 19th Webinar
On Tuesday, September 19th, SHADAC will host a webinar to examine the new 2016 ACS and CPS estimates, with technical insight provided by researchers from SHADAC and from the U.S. Census Bureau, which administers both surveys.
Speakers will discuss the new national and state estimates, and attendees will learn:
- When to use which estimates from which survey
- How to access the estimates via Census reports and American FactFinder
- How to access state-level estimates from the ACS using SHADAC tables
Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions after the speaker presentations.
 Medicaid expansion status as of January 1, 2016.