Introduction: This report examines the rates at which the four major racial/ethnic groups in the United States — Latinos, non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks and Asians — lacked health insurance from 2004- 2006 in the U.S. overall and in the ten states with the largest Latino populations: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, Colorado, New Mexico and Georgia.
Methods: The “lack of insurance data” in this report were derived from Health Statistics Data obtained by the Center for Disease Control from 2004 to 2006. In September 2008 these data became available by race, age and ethnicity/race on a state by state basis. They may be obtained if a request is accompanied by a proposal for a particular project. Lack of insurance statistics are available on the CDC website for regions (such as the Northeast) and nationally for the year 2007. The rates discussed here represent the rate at which individuals of a particular group responded that they did not have health insurance divided by the total number of people in that group who answered the question.
Results: In both 2001 and 2007, Latino adults in the U.S. were uninsured at rates which were extraordinarily higher than the other race/ethnic groups. In 2001, adults aged 18 - 64 in the U.S. were uninsured at a rate of about 18%. The rate at which Latino adults were uninsured in 2007 was more than double the national average at 42%. They were followed by non-Hispanic Blacks at 23%, Asians at 18% and non-Hispanic Whites at 14%. In 2007 the overall rate of uninsured adults in the U.S. had increased slightly by 1.4% from 2001. This rise was also observed for Latinos for whom the rate of uninsured persons increased by 2.5% which was greater than any other group. The rate at which non-Hispanic Whites lacked insurance also increased .6%. Non-Hispanic Blacks saw a decrease in the rate of uninsured individuals (-.08%) and lack of insurance rates for Asians decreased by 1.3%.
Discussion: It is probable that a combination factors contributed to the high rate at which Latinos lacked insurance rather than any one of the indicators examined in this report. The one factor which stands out, however, is the high rate of non-college attendance and absence of health insurance among Latinos. Although beyond the scope of this report, it is also likely that citizenship status and especially the timing of migration may be closely related to the high rates of absence of health insurance among Latinos. The large scale migration from Mexico and other Latin American and Caribbean countries from the 1980s on is probably critical since more recent migrants were likely not to have health insurance.