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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 23, 2003
10:39 AM
CONTACT:  Children's Defense Fund
John Norton 202-662-3609
Children's Defense Fund Analysis Shows Percentage of Uninsured Children Varies by State; Texas Worst -- More than 1 in 5 Uninsured
 
WASHINGTON - October 23 - An analysis by the Children's Defense Fund of recently released Census data for 2002 reveals that the percentage of uninsured children in the nation varies widely from state to state. In more than half the states, at least 10 percent of children have no health insurance. The percentage of children without health coverage ranges from more than 20 percent in Texas to less than 5 percent in Vermont, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

"We know how to fix this problem through programs that already exist," said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund. "If we would just enroll all eligible, uninsured children in Medicaid and CHIP, we would reduce these numbers and provide more children with the good, quality health care all children deserve in order to have a healthy start in life."

The attached table shows the number and percent of uninsured children by state. Nationwide, about 9.3 million children are uninsured or 12 percent of the 77 million children under age 19.

National data show that the troubled economy has caused both children and adults to lose employer-based health coverage. However, the loss of coverage for children (1.4 million since 2000) was offset by increased coverage through two federal health insurance programs, Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Unfortunately, in response to revenue shortfalls, many states are cutting back on Medicaid and CHIP. For example, since 2002, Texas (the state with the highest percentage of uninsured children) has made the decision to cut back on CHIP, the very program designed to give health care coverage to uninsured Texas children.

The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to "Leave No Child Behind" and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. CDF pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investment before they get sick, into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. CDF has never taken government funds.

Uninsured Children Younger than 19 in the States, 2000-2002

............. Percentage .... Estimated number

US (2002) ...... 12.0 ......... 9.3 million

Alabama ......... 9.8 ......... 115,000

Alaska ......... 13.5 ......... 28,000

Arizona ........ 16.2 ......... 252,000

Arkansas ....... 11.6 .......... 83,000

California ..... 15.2 ....... 1,515,000

Colorado ....... 14.3 ......... 173,000

Conn. ........... 7.7 .......... 70,000

Delaware ........ 8.5 .......... 17,000

D.C. ............ 9.3 .......... 11,000

Florida ........ 16.6 ......... 677,000

Georgia ........ 13.1 ......... 312,000

Hawaii .......... 8.4 .......... 26,000

Idaho .......... 13.6 .......... 53,000

Illinois ....... 11.1 ......... 380,000

Indiana ........ 10.8 ......... 182,000

Iowa ............ 6.2 .......... 46,000

Kansas .......... 8.8 .......... 65,000

Kentucky ....... 10.7 ......... 106,000

Louisiana ...... 13.7 ......... 172,000

Maine ........... 7.8 .......... 23,000

Maryland ....... 10.0 ......... 145,000

Mass. ........... 6.2 .......... 97,000

Michigan ........ 7.0 ......... 191,000

Minnesota ....... 5.7 .......... 76,000

Mississippi .... 10.8 .......... 87,000

Missouri ........ 6.0 .......... 89,000

Montana ........ 14.4 .......... 33,000

Nebraska ........ 7.1 .......... 33,000

Nevada ......... 17.2 ......... 103,000

New Hampshire ... 6.5 .......... 21,000

New Jersey ..... 10.2 ......... 229,000

New Mexico ..... 16.9 .......... 89,000

New York ....... 10.4 ......... 508,000

North Carolina . 11.8 ......... 256,000

North Dakota .... 8.2 .......... 13,000

Ohio ............ 8.9 ......... 270,000

Oklahoma ....... 15.2 ......... 141,000

Oregon ......... 11.7 ......... 106,000

Pennsylvania .... 8.3 ......... 251,000

Rhode Island .... 4.6 .......... 12,000

South Carolina .. 8.9 .......... 92,000

South Dakota .... 8.8 .......... 18,000

Tennessee ....... 7.0 ......... 104,000

Texas .......... 22.6 ....... 1,452,000

Utah ............ 9.9 .......... 75,000

Vermont ......... 4.5 ........... 7,000

Virginia ....... 10.7 ......... 201,000

Washington ..... 11.0 ......... 177,000

West Virginia .. 10.4 .......... 43,000

Wisconsin ....... 4.9 .......... 69,000

Wyoming ........ 13.3 .......... 17,000

NOTES: The U.S. percentage and number of uninsured are from the March 2003 Current Population Survey.

The estimated percentage of uninsured children in each state is the average of the percentages of children uninsured during the years 2000-2002. Three-year averages are used because of small sample sizes in some states. The estimated number of uninsured children in each state is calculated by applying that average.percentage to the most recent Census estimates of the number of children younger than 19 in each state.

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau: March 2001, 2002, and 2003 Current Population Surveys; July 1, 2002 state population estimates. Calculations by the Children's Defense Fund, 10/03.

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