Adding a new dimension to current political debates over health care, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of individuals without health insurance continued to grow in 2006.
In terms of both pure numbers as well as a ratio of the population, people without health insurance increased in 2006, the bureau says in a new report. The number of uninsured rose from 44.8 million to 47 million, while the percentage without health insurance increased from 15.3% of the population in 2005 to 15.8% in 2006.
U.S.-born residents who were uninsured increased from 33 million to 34.4 million in the period, or from 12.8% to 13.2% of people in this group.
The number of foreign-born uninsured rose from 11.8 million in 2005 to 12.6 million, while their rate was statistically unchanged at 33.8% in 2006.
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Looking at ethnic differences, the number of uninsured among non-Hispanic whites remained statistically unchanged in 2006 at 21.2 million or 10.8%, the bureau found.
For blacks, the number and percentage increased, from 7 million in 2005 to 7.6 million and from 19% in 2005 to 20.5%.
The number and percentage of uninsured Hispanics increased from 14 million (32.3%) in 2005 to 15.3 million (34.1%).
The number of uninsured Asians remained statistically unchanged, at 2 million in 2006, while their uninsured rate declined to 15.5% from 17.2% in 2005.
Regionally, the Midwest had the lowest uninsured rate in 2006, at 11.4%, followed by the Northeast (12.3%), the West (17.9%), and the South (19%). Increases in uninsured were most noteworthy in the Northeast and South where uninsured rates for 2005 rates had been 11.7% and 18%, respectively.
Among states, Texas had the highest percentage of uninsured using a 3-year average, with 24.1%. The rates for Minnesota (8.5%), Hawaii (8.6%), Iowa (9.3%), Wisconsin (9.4%) and Maine (9.5%) were lowest.
Other highlight’s of the bureau’s report:
o The number of people with health insurance increased to 249.8 million in 2006 from 249 million in 2005. The number of people covered by private health insurance in 2006 (201.7 million) and the number covered by government health insurance (80.3 million) were not statistically different from 2005.