Census Report: Rate of Uninsured Californians Among Highest in U.S.

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The rate of California residents without health insurance in 2011 was among the highest in the U.S., according to a new Census Bureau report, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

National Findings

The report found that the percentage of U.S. residents without health insurance decreased from 16.3% in 2010 to 15.7% in 2011 (Walters, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/13).

Experts said the decline can be attributed in part to more young adults staying on their parents' health insurance plans under a provision in the Affordable Care Act. In addition, experts attributed the increase in insured individuals to more people qualifying for government-funded health insurance programs.

The report also found that the U.S. poverty rate decreased slightly from 15.1% to 15%.

David Johnson, division chief at the Census Bureau, said that the poverty rate held steady as more people moved from part-time to full-time work, mostly in low-income jobs (Aguilera, U-T San Diego, 9/13).

California Findings

The report found that the percentage of California residents without health insurance increased from 19.4% in 2010 to 19.7% in 2011, the fifth highest rate in the U.S. The 2011 rate is nearly two percentage points higher than it was 10 years earlier.

The 7.4 million uninsured California residents made up 15% of the 2011 total for all states ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/12).

According to the report, the number of California residents who lived in poverty in 2011 increased for the fifth straight year to nearly 6.4 million. The figure represents 16.9% of the state's population and is the highest poverty rate in California since 1996 (Lee, Los Angeles Times, 9/12).

The report also found that nearly 25% of California children lived in poverty in 2011. According to the report, more than one-third of California residents who lived in poverty last year were age 18 or younger (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 9/12).

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