The Census bureau announced today that 50.7 million people in the U.S., including 7.5 million children, did not have health insurance in 2009, up from 46.3 million in 2008. The number of U.S. residents with insurance in 2009 was 253.6 million, down from 255.1 million. This is the first time the number of people with insurance has dropped since the Census started measuring coverage this way in 1987.
More people than ever before are getting insurance through the government, with 30.6% of the population enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare or military coverage programs. Only 55.8% of people are now covered by job-based insurance, the lowest percentage since 1987.
Hispanics had the highest rate of uninsurance of any ethnic group in 2009, at 32.4%, followed by blacks, at 21%. Both groups had the largest increase in uninsurance from 2008 to 2009. Young adults continued to lack insurance at a rather alarming rate – 30.4% of people 18 to 24 were without insurance in 2009. Non-citizens too had a very high of uninsurance, at 46% in 2009. People in the South were less like to have coverage than in other regions of the country, as were people earning less than $25,000 per year.