Analysis of Children's Health Insurance Patterns: Findings from the SIPP. a. Distribution of the Population

05/12/1999

Table 2 presents the distribution of all children by the demographic characteristics that will be used to examine differentials in insurance coverage.

We divide children 0 through 18 into six age groups, using breaks that are relevant to Medicaid eligibility and, therefore, insurance coverage as well: infant, 1 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 18. We separate the 9 to 10 group because these children phased into coverage under the poverty-related criteria over the two fiscal years that we examine. Specifically, none of the children aged 9 to 10 at the end of FY92 qualified for poverty-related coverage under the mandatory federal guidelines whereas all of these children met the age limit for poverty-related coverage by the end of FY94. Children 1 to 5 and 11 to 15 each account for 27 percent of the children under 19 represented by the SIPP panel in September 1994. Infants account for 4 percent while the other age groups include between 10 and 16 percent of all children.

We divide children into four categories on the basis of race and ethnicity. White non-Hispanic children account for 68 percent of the total. Black non-Hispanic children are 15 percent of the total while Hispanic children represent about 13 percent, and children of other racial groups--Asian and Pacific Islander and American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut account for the remaining 4 to 5 percent.

TABLE 2: DISTRIBUTION OF CHILDREN UNDER 19 BY DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS: SEPTEMBER 1994
Demographic Characteristic Number Percent
All Children 69,935,000 100
Age of Child   100
    Infant (0) 2,943,000 4.2
    1 to 5 18,881,000 27
    6 to 8 11,423,000 16.3
    9 to 10 7,356,000 10.5
    11 to 15 18,770,000 26.8
    16 to 18 10,562,000 15.1
Race/Ethnicity of Child   100
    White Non-Hispanic 47,473,000 67.9
    Black Non-Hispanic 10,425,000 14.9
    Hispanic 8,907,000 12.7
    Other 3,130,000 4.5
Family Composition   100
    Both Parents Present 50,242,000 71.8
    Mother Only Present 16,607,000 23.7
    Father Only Present 1,521,000 2.2
    No Parent Present 1,565,000 2.2
Metropolitan Residence   100
    Metro 51,560,000 73.7
    Non-Metro 17,542,000 25.1
    Not Applicable 833,000 1.2
Region   100
    New England 2,990,000 4.3
    Middle Atlantic 9,968,000 14.3
    East North Central 12,543,000 17.9
    West North Central 6,081,000 8.7
    South Atlantic 11,390,000 16.3
    East South Central 4,782,000 6.8
    West South Central 7,679,000 11
    Mountain 3,358,000 4.8
    Pacific 11,143,000 15.9
SOURCE: Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1992 Panel.

We define family composition in terms of which parents are present in the household. Children living with both parents account for 72 percent of all children while children with only their mothers present represent 24 percent. The remaining four percent are divided evenly between children living with their fathers and children with no parent present. The latter will include older teens living on their own or with friends as well as younger children being raised by relatives or others who are not their natural or adoptive parents.

The SIPP files do not identify rural residents explicitly, so we have used metropolitan area residence to differentiate between a group including primarily urban children and a group including primarily rural children. The metropolitan category includes 74 percent of children while the non-metropolitan category includes 25 percent. The SIPP files assign 1.2 percent of children to a "not applicable" category, which is a Census Bureau designation that is not defined.

We used the census region classification to break down children by region of the country. The nine census regions and the states they include are:

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut

Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

East North Central: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin

West North Central: Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas

South Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida

East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi

West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada

Pacific: Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii

While the SIPP file does not individually identify nine of the 50 states, leaving us to randomly assign children in each of three groups to individual states, only one of these nine states is not grouped with others from the same region.

Four of the nine regions include between 14 and 18 percent of the child population, with the East North Central region being the largest. Two of the regions--New England and the Mountain region--include less than 5 percent of children under 19. The remaining three account for 7 to 11 percent of all children.

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