Uninsured Children: Who Are They and Where Do They Live

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Though the number of uninsured children has been declining since the late 1990s, as many as 9.3 million children nationwide continued to lack adequate health insurance in 2008, according to this report. Based on state-by-state information collected in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, some geographic trends exis, yet the demographics of uninsured children  also vary throughout each state and across the country.

The analysis focuses on children ages 18 and under, including those who live in college dorms. Despite certain patterns in the data (older children and Hispanic children, for example, tend to lack insurance at a higher rate than younger, non-Hispanic children), characteristics of the uninsured may vary even within states, according to the report. Information for Los Angeles, New York City and Long Island are reported separately from the California and New York state data.

Key findings focus on state-by-state comparisons. As much as 40 percent of all uninsured children live in just three states – Texas, Florida, or California. Children in Nevada, the state with the highest rate of uninsured children, are 11.8 times more likely to lack insurance than children in Massachusetts, the state with the lowest rate. Rates of lack of insurance vary by region as well, with more insured children residing in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South and the West. Adolescents (ages 13-18) and children from low-income families tended to be uninsured more than their counterparts.

The report summarizes the findings for each state, including the District of Columbia. A map of each state is included designating the location of uninsured children by area. Tables list the number and percentage of children without health insurance and the demographic characteristics of uninsured children per state.  The statistics collected from each household include information about citizenship, food stamp eligibility, and parental language skills, education levels, and marital status.

Free, 193 pages, http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/67668.pdf.