Estimating the Number of Individuals in the U.S. Without Health Insurance. CPS Portrait of the Uninsured Population

Before discussing changes to the survey over time, it is important to first be familiar with the characteristics of the uninsured based on the most recent CPS. This will establish a baseline against which the insights gained from creating a more consistent time series can be measured. Using data from the 2004 Annual Social and Economics (ASEC) Supplement to the Current Population Survey (formerly called the March Demographic Supplement), which contains information on insurance for calendar year 2003, ASPE examined the demographic characteristics of the uninsured population. The CPS estimates that 45.0 million individuals, or 15.6 percent of the U.S. civilian population, were without health insurance for the entire year in 2003. The main source of health insurance coverage was employer-sponsored insurance (60.4% of persons had such coverage), followed by Medicare (13.7%) and Medicaid (10.7%).

Table 1 contains a more detailed breakdown of the uninsured population. An important consideration to keep in mind when reviewing the demographics of the uninsured is that there are several ways to analyze the data. For example, one can determine the uninsured rate of a given demographic group, such as “what percentage of men are uninsured?” Alternatively, one can calculate the percentage of the uninsured that is comprised of given demographic group, such as “what percentage of the uninsured are male?” Table 1 shows, for some key demographic groups:

• the total number of individuals within those groups,
• their percentage of the population,
• the number of uninsured within those groups,
• the uninsured rate for the group, and finally,
• the percent of the total uninsured population the uninsured from that group represent.

Table 1. The Uninsured in 2003 According to the Unadjusted CPS

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions) Percentage of the Total US Population Number of Uninsured (Millions) Percentage of the Group Uninsured Percentage of the Total Uninsured
Total Population 288.3 100% 45.0 16% 100%
Poverty Below 100% 36.4 13% 11.2 31% 25%
100- 200% 53.5 19% 13.3 25% 30%
200- 300% 49.5 17% 8.2 16% 18%
300- 400% 40.0 14% 4.8 12% 11%
400- 500% 31.5 11% 2.6 8% 6%
500% and Over 77.4 27% 5.0 6% 11%

Age Below 18 73.6 26% 8.4 11% 19%
18- 24 27.8 10% 8.4 30% 19%
25- 34 39.2 14% 10.3 26% 23%
35- 44 43.6 15% 7.9 18% 18%
45- 54 41.1 14% 6.0 15% 13%
55- 64 28.4 10% 3.7 13% 8%
65 and Over 34.7 12% 0.3 1% 1%

Parental Status Parents 65.5 23% 10.9 17% 24%
Childless Adults 114.7 40% 25.5 22% 57%
Children 73.4 25% 8.3 11% 29%

Race/ Ethnicity White 194.9 68% 21.6 11% 48%
African-American 35.7 12% 6.9 19% 15%
Hispanic 40.4 14% 13.2 33% 29%
Other/ Mixed 17.3 6% 3.3 19% 7%

Immigration Status Citizen 267.2 93% 35.4 13% 79%
Non-Citizen 21.1 7% 9.6 45% 21%

Work-Status Full Time 156.5 54% 20.5 13% 46%
Part Time or Part Year 55.3 19% 12.6 23% 28%
Not Working 76.5 27% 11.9 16% 26%

Source: The 2004 CPS

Table 1:Total Population

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Total Population288.3100%45.016%100%

Table 1:Poverty

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Below 100%36.413%11.231%25%
100- 200%53.519%13.325%30%
200- 300%49.517%8.216%18%
300- 400%40.014%4.812%11%
400- 500%31.511%2.68%6%
500% and Over77.427%5.06%11%

Table 1:Age

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Below 1873.626%8.411%19%
18- 2427.810%8.430%19%
25- 3439.214%10.326%23%
35- 4443.615%7.918%18%
45- 5441.114%6.015%13%
55- 6428.410%3.713%8%
65 and Over34.712%0.31%1%

Table 1:Parental Status

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Parents65.523%10.917%24%
Children73.425%8.311%29%

Table 1:Race/ Ethnicity

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
White194.968%21.611%48%
African-American35.712%6.919%15%
Hispanic40.414%13.233%29%
Other/ Mixed17.36%3.319%7%

Table 1:Immigration Status

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Citizen267.293%35.413%79%
Non-Citizen21.17%9.645%21%

Table 1:Work-Status

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Full Time156.554%20.513%46%
Part Time or Part Year55.319%12.623%28%
Not Working76.527%11.916%26%

Table 1:Firm Size

Characteristic Total US Population (Millions)Percentage of the Total US PopulationNumber of Uninsured (Millions)Percentage of the Group UninsuredPercentage of the Total Uninsured
Under 10 32.111%9.530%21%
10 to 2415.35%3.926%9%
25- 9919.57%3.719%8%
100- 49919.87%2.814%6%
500- 9998.03%1.012%2%
1,000 and Over57.320%6.111%14%
Children or Not Working136.347%18.013%40%

As seen in Table 1, the uninsured are more likely to be low and middle income working individuals who are under 35, not parents, white, and citizens who work for small firms. Table 1 also shows, however, that the uninsured population contains disproportionate numbers of Hispanics and non-citizens. In terms of their share of the population, the uninsured come from all demographics groups and the problem is not isolated in one or two groups. For example, while just over 50% of the uninsured are adults who are not parents, parents represent 25% of the uninsured, and children 20%.

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