Given the close link between unemployment and uninsurance, and given the marked increase in the unemployment rate between 2008 and 2009, we estimate that the number of uninsured working-age adults (19-64) today is substantially higher than the Census Bureau’s 2008 estimate.
- In 2008, the national unemployment rate ranged from 4.8 percent to 7.2 percent and averaged 5.8 percent. It reached a high of 9.7 percent in August 2009, averaging 8.9 percent for the first eight months of the year.
- The following five states had the largest increases in average unemployment rates from 2008 to 2009: Oregon (from 6.4 percent to 11.6 percent unemployment, a 5.2 percentage point increase), Michigan (from 8.4 percent to 13.6 percent, a 5.1 percentage point increase), South Carolina (from 6.9 percent to 11.4 percent, a 4.5 percentage point increase), Nevada (from 6.7 percent to 11.2 percent, a 4.5 percentage point increase), and North Carolina (from 6.3 percent to 10.7 percent, a 4.4 percentage point increase).
- As a result of growing unemployment, we project that 4.0 million more working-age adults are uninsured in 2009 than in 2008.
- Every state has been affected by rising uninsurance among working-age adults. States with higher unemployment rates have suffered greater percentage losses in health coverage.
- The following five states have suffered the largest percentage point increase in working-age uninsured adults: Oregon (from 22.0 percent of working-age adults to 25.1 percent, a 3.1 percentage point increase), Michigan (from 15.7 to 18.7 percent, a 3.0 percentage point increase), South Carolina (from 20.7 to 23.4 percent, a 2.7 percentage point increase), Nevada (from 22.1 to 24.8 percent, a 2.7 percentage point increase), and North Carolina (from 21.4 to 24.0 percent, a 2.6 percentage point increase).
- The following five states have suffered the largest numerical losses in health coverage among working-age adults: California (661,600), Texas (396,900), Florida (297,600), New York (253,100), and North Carolina (184,700).
This report focuses on the link between unemployment and uninsurance among working-age adults because studies indicate that uninsurance among children remains relatively stable as unemployment rises, due to the availability of public coverage for children through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).3 Given the rapid rise in uninsurance among working-age adults, however, the total number of uninsured today likely exceeds 50 million.
[Return to top]