Uninsured Children in America
In 2008, the American Community Survey (ACS) began surveying the U.S. population on the subject of health insurance coverage. To date, the most complete data set available is the 2008-2010 3 year ACS which excludes counties and cities with less than 20,000 people. Therefore, it’s not a complete count like the decennial census.
The ACS collects data for this category by age. Although, health insurance is an important topic for all ages, we wanted to focus on the most vulnerable sector of the population – those under age 18. The following table contains the state by state tabulations for the uninsured population under age 18.
|Total Pop. < 18||< 18 Without Health Insurance||Percent Without Health Insurance|
|District of Columbia Total||101,791||3,099||3.0%|
|New Hampshire Total||290,932||14,269||4.9%|
|New Jersey Total||2,065,677||132,937||6.4%|
|New Mexico Total||489,603||59,350||12.1%|
|New York Total||4,331,689||215,694||5.0%|
|North Carolina Total||2,225,931||188,509||8.5%|
|North Dakota Total||98,789||4,860||4.9%|
|Rhode Island Total||226,106||12,877||5.7%|
|South Carolina Total||1,055,142||110,882||10.5%|
|South Dakota Total||116,218||6,066||5.2%|
|West Virginia Total||331,148||17,270||5.2%|
The percent of the U.S. population under age 18 that is uninsured is approximately 8.6% (excluding towns and counties with a population under 20,000). Check out this map which illustrates where the uninsured young people live. There are some areas that stand out. Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona have rather significant shares of the uninsured under 18 population. There are also notable pockets of uninsured children in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. This reflects the concentrations of Amish communities.
It’s estimated that the insured population directly pays an additional $1,017 in health insurance premiums to pay for the health care costs incurred by the uninsured. But what about the long term ramifications of having so many uninsured children. Are these children more likely to be unhealthy adults and if so, what is the cost to society?
National health care is a hot topic in America. Is it a right or a privilege? What about the long term economic impact of having so many uninsured children. Are they more likely to become uninsured adults? Are they more likely to develop health problems at a younger age? Who pays for all the negative externalities?