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1996 Chartbook on Childrens' Insurance Status

Publication Date
Aug 31, 1997

Cover

Cover

Preface

This chartbook examines demographic and other characteristics of insured and uninsured children in the U.S. It is based on data from the March 1996 Current Population Survey (CPS) and reflects children’s insurance status during calendar year 1995. For the purposes of this chartbook, the term “children” applies to all U.S. citizens and non-citizen residents under age 18. This definition is consistent with that used by other data sources. However, charts are available that present the same data for all children under age 19. The population characteristics described by the two chartbooks are consistent with each other, with a few exceptions: including 18-year-olds raises the total number of uninsured children from 9.8 to 10.5 million but does not significantly change the overall percentage of children uninsured (14%). Eighteen-year-olds are more likely to be uninsured than children generally: 14% of children overall are uninsured, while 20% of 18-year-olds are. This chartbook was prepared by Gene Moyer, Adele Kirk, and Ellie Dehoney from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Office of Health Policy. For further information, contact Gene Moyer at 202/690-7861.

Health Insurance Coverage by Coverage Category

Each March the Current Population Survey asks about the health insurance status of each person in the household during the previous year. The 1996 results are presented in the following two charts, each contrasting uninsured children under age 18 with the U.S. population as a whole. The first chart indicates the percentage of children and the percentage of the U.S. population having a particular source of health insurance; the second indicates the number of people having a particular source of health insurance in millions. Note that persons with more than one insurance type are represented more than once. Results are summarized in the table below:

Type of Coverage Children Population
Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI) 46.6 (61%) 161.5 (61%)
Other Private Insurance 2.8 (5%) 24.4 (9%)
Medicaid 17.0 (23%) 31.9 (12%)
Medicare 0.4 (1%) 34.7 (13%)
VA, Military, Other 2.5 (3%) 9.4 (4%)
Uninsured 9.8 (14%) 40.6 (15%)

Key findings include:

  • 9.8 million children, 14% of the population under age 18, are uninsured.
  • Nearly 47 million children (61%) are covered under employer-sponsored insurance. This is consistent with the proportion of individuals in the overall population who are insured through an employer.

Health Insurance Coverage Percent of All Persons

Percent of All Persons

Health Insurance Coverage Percent of All Persons

Persons with more than one insurance type are represented more than once.
Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Health Insurance Coverage Millions of Persons

Millions of Persons

Health Insurance Coverage Millions of Persons

Persons with more than one insurance type are represented more than once.
Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Uninsured Children by Adult's Work Last Year

The following three charts show the relationship between uninsured children and adult work history in a child's household. The first two charts show the number and percentage distribution of uninsured children by the family adult's work status the previous year. The "Family Adult" is the adult of the household with the most complete work history during the previous year. This person is not necessarily the parent of the child. About 12% of uninsured children have no parent in the household. The third chart shows coverage status by the number of working adults in the family (none, one, or two working adults).

  • 6.1 million children ( 62%) of the 9.8 million uninsured children lived with at least one adult who worked full-time throughout the previous year.
  • 1.4 million, or 14%, lived with a family adult who worked full-time for a portion of the year.
  • 1.1 million, or 11%, lived with a family adult who worked part-time either for a portion or throughout the previous year.
  • 1.3 million, or 13%, lived with a family adult who had no employment during the previous year.
  • 87% of uninsured children lived with at least one adult with some full- or part-time work in the past year.
  • Children with one adult worker in the household were slightly more likely to be uninsured than those with no adult workers (18% vs 16%); only 10% of children with two working adults in the household were uninsured.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Adult's Work History

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Adult's Work History

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey The family adult is the family head or spouse with the most complete work history.

Uninsured Children by Family Adult's Work History in 1995

Uninsured Children by Family Adult's Work History in 1995

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey The family adult is the family head or spouse with the most complete work history.

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Adult Workers in the Family

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Adult Workers in the Family

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Uninsured Children by Income Class

The following charts examine the relationship between children's insurance status and family income. Family income is shown as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). For example, "< 100%" means less than 100% of the FPL, while "500%+" means five or more times the FPL. For a family of four in 1996, 100% of FPL is approximately $15,600. The first chart compares the distribution of uninsured children to that of insured children in terms of family income status. The second chart shows the percentage of children in each income group who are uninsured.

  • 34% of uninsured children below age 18 are in families with income below the federal poverty level, compared to 19% of insured children.
  • Similarly, 36% of uninsured children below age 18 are in families with income between 100 and 199% of poverty, compared to 20% of insured children.
  • Above 199% of poverty, the distributions switch: children from higher income classes are under-represented in the uninsured population. For example, 15% of insured children live in families with income over 500% of poverty, but only 4% of uninsured children come from families with income above 500% of poverty.
  • Lower income children are considerably more likely to be uninsured than those from higher-income families: 22% of children from families with incomes less than 200% of poverty are uninsured, while only 4% of children with family incomes greater than 500% of poverty are uninsured.
  • However, uninsurance is not just a problem among poor children: more than one-fourth of uninsured children (30%) live in families with incomes at or above 200% of poverty (about $31,000 for a family of four).

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Income Class

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Income Class

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Family Income Class

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Family Income Class

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Uninsured Children by Race/National Origin

The following two charts show the relationship between coverage status and race or national origin (Hispanics of any race are counted as Hispanics). The first chart compares a given race's representation in the insured and uninsured popoulations. The second chart shows the percentages of children in each race/national origin who are uninsured.

  • Although white children comprise 67% of the insured population under 18 years, they are less than half (49%) of the uninsured population under 18.
  • Hispanics, on the other hand, comprise a disproportionate share of uninsured children: Hispanic children comprise 12% of insured children, but 28% of the uninsured.
  • African-American children are also over-represented among uninsured children, although not to as great a degree as Hispanics: they represent 15% of insured children, but 17% of the uninsured.
  • Over 1/4 (27%) of all Hispanic children are uninsured, compared with 15% of all African-American, non-Hispanic children and 11% of all white, non-Hispanic children.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Race/National Origin

Bar Chart

Hispanics of any race are counted as Hispanic. Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Race/National Origin

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Race/National Origin

Hispanics of any race are counted as Hispanic. Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Lack of Insurance and Self-Reported Health Status

As the following two charts show, uninsured children differ in their self-reported health status from insured children:

  • Uninsured children are less likely to report excellent or very good health status than insured children: 81% of insured children report excellent or very good health status, compared to 72% of the uninsured children under 18.
  • More than half of insured children under 18 report their health as excellent, while only 41% of uninsured children under 18 do so.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Self-Reported Health Status

Bar Chart

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Self-Reported Health Status

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Self-Reported Health Status

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Family Structure

The next two charts illuminate differences in family structure among families with uninsured children and those with insured children. Both charts focus on the relationship between children and the head of household; i.e., is the household head the child's parent, another relative, or unrelated to the child? The first chart shows the prevalence of each type of family structure among uninsured children relative to insured children. The second chart shows the percentage of children with a given relationship to the head of household who are uninsured; it demonstrates the dramatic differences among different family structures in rates of uninsurance.

  • Compared to insured children, uninsured children are less likely to be part of families in which one of their parents is the household head. A full 20% of uninsured children live in households run by a non-parent relative or an unrelated adult, compared to 7% of insured children.
  • Children living with a parent who is the household head are at lowest risk of being uninsured: 12% of such children are uninsured.
  • Children living with a non-parent adult who is the household head are more likely to be uninsured than those living with a parent who is the household head: 30% of those living with a head of household who is a relative other than a parent and 39% of those living with a head of household who is an unrelated adult are uninsured.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Relationship to Family Head

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Relationship to Family Head

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Relationship to Family Head

Bar Chart

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Presence of Insurance in the Family

The following chart shows the distribution of uninsured children by the presence of insurance in the family. The vast majority of uninsured children (86%) live with a parent or spouse who is also uninsured, while 14% have an insured parent or spouse.

Distribution of Uninsured Children by Presence of Insurance in the Family

Distribution of Uninsured Children by Presence of Insurance in the Family

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Insurance Status by Country of Citizenship

These charts compare the coverage status of children who are U.S. citizens and those who are non-citizen residents.

  • The first chart indicates that non-U.S. citizens are over-represented in the uninsured population relative to their numbers in the insured population. Non-citizens comprise 2% of insured children, but they account for 9% of the uninsured population.
  • The second chart compares the coverage rates of citizen and non-citizen children. Although they comprise a small proportion of the uninsured population, non-citizen children are at a higher risk of being uninsured: 13% of U.S. citizen children are uninsured, while 37% of non-citizen children are uninsured.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Country of Citizenship

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Country of Citizenship

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Country of Citizenship

Bar Chart

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Insurance Status by Census Region

As the following two charts show, uninsured children are not evenly distributed among geographic census regions. The first chart compares the relative proportions of uninsured children and insured children in each census region: the first bar shows the proportion of uninsured children living in a given region, while the second bar shows the proportion of insured children living in that same region. The second chart shows the percentages of children within each region who are uninsured.

  • The South and West regions are home to a disproportionate percentage of uninsured children under 18: 57% of insured children reside in the South or West, but 70% of uninsured children live in these regions.
  • 43% of all uninsured children reside in the South, while only a third (34%) of insured children live there.
  • Although 14% of children nationwide are uninsured, only 9% of those in the Midwest are uninsured, while 17% of those in the South and 16% of those in the West lack insurance.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Census Region

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Census Region

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Census Region

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Census Region

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Insurance Status by Age Class

The following two charts show the differences in coverage status among children of different age groups. The first chart compares the distribution of uninsured children among different age groups with the distribution of insured children. The second chart shows the percentages of children in each age group who are uninsured.

  • The distribution of uninsured children among age groups is close to that of the distribution of insured children, and levels of uninsurance remain fairly constant among different ages through age 17.

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Age Class

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Age Class

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Age Class

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Age Class

Source: ASPE tabulations of the March 1996 Current Population Survey

Insurance Status by Family Adult's Firm Size

The following two charts show the insurance status of children by size of firm at which the family adult is employed. The first chart shows the percentage of children who are uninsured among each firm size at which the family adults are employed, while the second chart compares the distribution of the uninsured children across firm sizes.

  • The chance of a child being uninsured is inversely related to the size of the firm in which his or her family adult is employed. 22% of children whose family adults work for firms with less than 25 employees are uninsured, compared to only 7% of children whose family adults work for firms with greater than 1,000 employees.
  • 47% of uninsured children have family adults employed by firms of less than 25 employees, in contrast to only one-fourth of insured children. For firms employing greater than 1,000 people, the opposite is seen: 41% of insured children have family adults employed by firms of this size, while only 20% of uninsured children do.

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Family Adult's Firm Size

Percentage of Children Uninsured by Family Adult's Firm Size

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Adult's Firm Size

Distribution of Uninsured and Insured Children by Family Adult's Firm Size

Populations
Uninsured & Underinsured | Children
Program
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)