The bureau attributed the decline partly to a rise in work-based coverage, thanks to last year’s tight labor market, which saw employers offering health benefits to employees as a means of retaining staff.
Based on data from 50,000 households, the Census Bureau estimated that 38.7 million people, or 14% of the population, were without health insurance during 2000, down from 39.3 million people, or 14.3%, the previous year.
The number of uninsured children dropped to 8.5 million from 9.1 million, lowering the%age of such children to 11.6% of all people under 18 from 12.6%.
Health and Wealth
The percentage of poor people not covered by health insurance fell to 29.5% from 31.1% the previous year.
But while insurance levels rose among those with household incomes below $50,000 and remained flat among those with incomes of $75,000 and higher, the households falling between these income levels experienced a decrease in coverage, the number of the uninsured in this bracket rising to 26.9% from 24.7%.
People aged 18 to 24 were less likely than any other age group to have health insurance, with 72.7% covered for some or all of 2000.
In addition, those born in foreign countries were three times as likely to lack health insurance as those born in the US.
Most agree that, against the backdrop of a weaker economy, a softer job market and increasing healthcare costs, the decline in the numbers of the uninsured is unlikely to continue.
And though the decline in the number of uninsured is encouraging, it occurred at a slower pace than the previous year, which saw the number of the uninsured falling by 1.7 million between 1998 and 1999