Financial News

More than 27 Million US Residents Lacked Health Insurance Coverage in 2018

EPF Last Update: May 28, 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2018 income, poverty and health insurance coverage reports on September 10, 2019. Researchers found that nearly 27.5 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance coverage in 2018 – up 1.9 million from the 25.6 million seen in 2017. It was the first year-over-year increase since the Affordable Care Act was introduced in 2014.

Health Insurance Coverage

For all or part of 2018, 91.5% of U.S. residents had health insurance coverage – a decline from the 92.1% seen in 2017.

In a conference call with reporters, Laryssa Mykyta – chief of the Health and Disability Statistics branch at the U.S. Census Bureau – said a “decline in public coverage certainly contributed” to a decline in overall health insurance coverage. Uninsured children under the age of 19 also increased 0.6% to 5.5% overall, leading Mykyta to say, “For children we saw a similar pattern where there was a decline in public coverage and no statistical change in private coverage.”

By state, South Dakota saw the largest increase in uninsured residents – as a percentage of its population – rising from 9.1% to 9.8%. Conversely, Wyoming saw the largest drop – decreasing from 12.3% to 10.5%.

By type, private health insurance covered 67.3% of the population, while employer-based plans remained the most common, encompassing more than 55% of the population. By age, 99.1% of adults age-65 or older had some form of health insurance coverage in 2018, while 94.5% of children under the age of 19 had coverage and 88.3% of adults age-19 to 64 had coverage.

Income and Poverty

Real median earnings (adjusted for inflation) grew 3.4% year-over-year to $40,247. Overall median household income increased 0.9% to $63,179, while family household median income increased 1.2%. It was the fourth straight year family households saw an increase.

By race, Asian-Americans had a median household income of $87,194, followed by Whites at $70,642, Hispanics at $51,450 and Blacks at $41,361. By region, Northeast residents had a median household income of $70,113, West residents at $69,520, Midwest residents at $64,069 and Southern residents at $57,299. The amount of full-time, year-round workers also increased by 2.3 million.

The poverty rate also declined in 2018, falling from 12.3% to 11.8%. It was the fourth consecutive year the poverty rate has declined, and since 2014, the rate has decreased from 14.8% to 11.8%. On aggregate, there were approximately 38.1 million people in poverty in 2018 – nearly 1.4 million less than 2017. Poverty rates for children under the age of 18 declined from 17.4% to 16.2%, while poverty rates for adult’s age-18 to 64 declined from 11.7% to 10.7%. For individuals over the age of 64, the figure remained roughly flat at 9.7%.

By sub grouping, poverty rates declined for women, non-Hispanic Whites and residents of the Northeast, Midwest and West. It also declined for people without a disability and individuals with some college education. Conversely, the poverty rate for individuals age-25 or older without a high school diploma increased 1.4% to 25.9%.

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