Census report: More insured as poverty rate holds steady

John Ketchum Sep 12, 2012

Today’s census numbers on poverty show that more people had healthcare in 2011.  The report found that the percentage of people without healthcare coverage fell from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent and the number of uninsured dropped from 50 million to 48.6 million.  

Below are some highlights from the Census Bureau’s findings:

-In 2011, the number of people with health insurance jumped from 256.6 million to 260.2 million.

-For the first time in the last 10 years, the rate of private insurance coverage did not decrease.

 -The number of people on Medicaid jumped from 48.5 million to 50.8 million.

 -The percentage of people on Medicare increased from 14. 6 percent to 15.2 percent.

 -Over 9 percent of children under age 18 had no health insurance.  Thirteen-point-eight percent of children in poverty were uninsured.

 -The percentage and number of people covered by government health insurance increased to 32.2 percent and 99.5 million in 2010.

Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in The United States: 2011, U.S Census Bureau.

Breaking the numbers down by race, the Census Bureau found that the number of non-Hispanic whites without health insurance decreased from 22.5 million to 21.7 million.  The number of uninsured blacks also dipped from 8.2 million to 7.7 million.  The number of uninsured Hispanics remained the same.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Alvarez took a deeper look into the health insurance side of the poverty numbers.  She says that although the data is important when looking at poverty in America, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

“The Census report today was more of a snapshot of the country rather than an explanation of what it means, so there isn’t too much information on any nexus between poverty and health care costs.”

Read Alvarez’ story “Uninsured rate declines because of government insurance”

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