Census Bureau confirms it again: Uninsured rate plummeted in 2014

At this point, after well-documented reports from Gallup, the RAND Corporation, the Commonwealth Fund, the Urban Institute, the HHS Dept and the CDC, it seems a little superfluous to keep documenting, but seeing how a certain (ahem) subset of the population continues to claim that the uninsured rate hasn't dropped significantly, it's good to see the U.S. Census Bureau join the crowd:

NOTE: The bold-faced clarifiers are important. For instance, unlike surveys by Gallup, the Kaiser Family Foundation and so forth, this report covers the full calendar year, which can make a big difference. It also cuts off as of the end of 2014, which means that none of the additional coverage added in 2015 is included.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013. The number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period.

Health Insurance Coverage

The Current Population Survey shows that the percentage of people with health insurance for all or part of 2014 was 89.6 percent, higher than the rate in 2013 (86.7 percent).

After several years of a relatively stable uninsured rate between 2008 and 2013 as measured by the American Community Survey, the percentage of the population who were uninsured dropped in 2014. This represents the largest percentage point decline in the uninsured rate during this period. Over time, changes in the rate of health insurance coverage and the distribution of coverage types may reflect economic trends, shifts in the demographic composition of the population, and policy changes that impact access to health care. Several such policy changes occurred in 2014, when many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Between 2013 and 2014, the increase in the percentage of the population covered by health insurance was due to an increase in the rates of both private and government coverage. The rate of private coverage increased by 1.8 percentage points to 66.0 percent in 2014, and the government coverage rate increased by 2.0 percentage points to 36.5 percent, changes which were not significantly different from each other.

Of the subtypes of health insurance, employment-based insurance covered the most people (55.4 percent of the population), followed by Medicaid (19.5 percent), Medicare (16.0 percent), direct-purchase (14.6 percent) and military health care (4.5 percent).

(Note: These add up to 110%, but it's important to remember that some people have multiple forms of coverage; about 12 million people have dual enrollment in both Medicare and Medicaid, for instance).

Between 2013 and 2014, the greatest changes in coverage rates were the increases in direct-purchase health insurance and Medicaid. The largest percentage-point change in coverage was for direct-purchase, which increased by 3.2 percentage points to cover 14.6 percent of people for some or all of 2014. The percentage of people with Medicaid coverage during all or part of the year increased by 2.0 percentage points to 19.5 percent in 2014.

In 2014, the uninsured rate for children younger than 19 was 6.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent in 2013.

(Note: This confirms what I've noted many times before, usually when analyzing a survey by Gallup or other firms which don't include children in their surveys; children under 18 make up around 23% of the population, so those surveys are actually missing nearly 1/4 of the picture by their very nature).

In 2014, the uninsured rate for children younger than 19 in poverty (8.6 percent) was higher than the uninsured rate for children not in poverty (5.6 percent).

Race and Hispanic Origin
(Race data refer to people reporting a single race only; Hispanics can be of any race)

Between 2013 and 2014, the overall rate of health insurance coverage increased for all race and Hispanic origin groups. The increase was comparable for blacks, Asians and Hispanics (just over 4.0 percentage points) and lower for non-Hispanic whites (2.1 percentage points).

In 2014, non-Hispanic whites had a higher rate of health insurance coverage (92.4 percent) compared with blacks and Asians (88.2 percent and 90.7 percent, respectively). Hispanics had the lowest rate of health insurance coverage, at 80.1 percent.


Between 2013 and 2014, health insurance coverage rates increased for all nativity groups. The foreign-born population, including both naturalized citizens and noncitizens, experienced a larger increase in health insurance coverage than did the native-born population.

In 2014, the uninsured rate of noncitizens was over three times that of the native-born population (31.2 percent for noncitizens compared with 8.7 percent for the native-born population).


According to the American Community Survey, during 2014, the state with the lowest percentage of people without health insurance at the time of the interview was Massachusetts (3.3 percent), while the highest uninsured rate was for Texas (19.1 percent).

The American Community Survey also showed that between 2013 and 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia showed a decrease in the percentage of people without health insurance coverage at the time of the interview. The declines for the states ranged from 0.4 percentage points to 5.8 percentage points.