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Health Insurance Coverage: 1997

Report Number P60-202
Robert L. Bennefield

The Haves and Have-Nots

An estimated 43.4 (± 0.5) million people in the United States or 16.1 (± 0.2) percent of the population were without health insurance coverage during the entire 1997 calendar year. This number was up 1.7 million from the previous year; statistically, the proportion was also higher than the previous year.

Other highlights are:

  • The status of children’s health care coverage was unchanged in 1997. The number of uninsured children under 18 years of age was 10.7 (± 0.2) million in 1997, 15.0 (± 0.3) percent of all children; both the number and percent were not significantly different from the previous year.
  • Despite the Medicaid program, 11.2 (± 0.3) million poor people had no health insurance in 1997, nearly one-third of all poor people, or 31.6 (± 0.7) percent.
  • The highest uninsured rate was among people of Hispanic origin: Over one-third or 34.2 (± 0.6) percent of Hispanics were uninsured in 1997, compared with 12.0 (± 0.2) percent for non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Among the general population 18 to 64 years old, workers (full- and part-time) were more likely to be insured than nonworkers, but among the poor, workers were less likely to be insured than nonworkers. About one-half, or 49.2 (± 2.0) percent, of poor full-time workers were uninsured in 1997.
  • A higher proportion of the foreign-born population in the U.S. was without health insurance in 1997, compared with natives, 34.3 (± 0.8) percent versus 14.2 (± 0.2) percent. Poor immigrants were even worse off; 51.7 (± 2.0) percent were without health insurance.
  • Young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 were more likely than other age groups to not have coverage; 30.1 (± 0.7) percent were without coverage in 1997. Because of Medicare, the elderly were at the other extreme; only 1.0 (± 0.1) percent lacked coverage.

Note: The figures above in parentheses denote the 90-percent confidence intervals.


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