A news release from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) about its study said immigrants account for about 55% of the increase in the pool of uninsured in the U.S. in the 12 years ending in 2006. The EBRI study reported that in 1994 immigrants accounted for 18.8% of the U.S. uninsured population, while by 2006 they accounted for 26.6% of the uninsured population.
During the same period, native-born Americans dropped as a percentage of the uninsured, from 81.2% in 1994 to 73.4% in 2006.
The uninsured immigrant population increased from 6.9 million in 1994 to 12.3 million in 2006, an 80% jump. By comparison, the uninsured native-born population increased from 29.7 million to 34.1 million, a 15% advance over the same period, according to the study.
The study also found that:
- More than 46% of foreign-born noncitizens were uninsured in 2006. This compares with 19.9% uninsured among foreign-born individuals who have become U.S. citizens and 15% uninsured among native-born persons.
- Whether an immigrant is uninsured is highly correlated with his or her length of time in the United States. Just over 27% of foreign-born noncitizens who entered the United States before 1970 were uninsured in 2006. This compares with 45.5% uninsured among foreign-born noncitizens who entered the United States during the 1980s and 49% uninsured among foreign-born noncitizens who entered the country during 2000 - 2006.
- Immigrants are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs, in small firms, and in service or trade occupations - jobs that are less likely to offer health benefits.
- Well over half (58.8%) of the uninsured immigrant population is concentrated in four states. Based on a three-year average across 2004 - 2006, those four states are: California (27.1%), Texas (14%), Florida (9.9%), and New York (7.7%).