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Uninsured Population Hits 46.3 Million in 2008

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 10, 2009

The number of people in the United States without health insurance rose from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008, which represents 15.4% of the overall population, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.

The Census Bureau report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008, also notes that real median household income in the United States fell 3.6% between 2007 and 2008, from $52,163 to $50,303, breaking a string of three years of annual income increases and coincides with the recession that started in December 2007.

The nation's official poverty rate in 2008 was 13.2%, up from 12.5% in 2007. There were 39.8 million people in poverty in 2008, up from 37.3 million in 2007.

The uninsured rates for the native-born and foreign-born populations were statistically unchanged at 12.9% and 33.5%, respectively, in 2008. Among the foreign-born population, the uninsured rates for both naturalized citizens (18%) and noncitizens (44.7%) were statistically unchanged.

The Northeast and the Midwest, each at 11.6% had lower uninsured rates in 2008 than the West (17.4%) and the South (18.2%), all of which were not statistically different from their respective 2007 rates. The uninsured rate for the West increased to 17.4% in 2008, up from 16.9% in 2007.

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