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Chapter 5. Health and Wellness

Indicator 41. Health Insurance

In 2009, about 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in the United States lacked health insurance, compared to 12 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds and 17 percent of the total population. In addition, a lower percentage of youth (ages 14 to 17) than young adults (ages 18 to 24) were uninsured in each year between 2000 and 2009. For both youth and young adults, some differences were found by sex and race/ethnicity in 2009. Among youth, no measurable difference was found by sex; among young adults, however, a higher percentage of males were uninsured than were females (33 vs. 28 percent). For both age groups in 2009, Hispanics were uninsured at a higher rate than were Whites, Blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and persons of two or more races. For example, 48 percent of Hispanic young adults were uninsured, compared to 24 percent of Whites, 36 percent of Blacks, 29 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 23 percent of persons two or more races. In addition, among young adults, a higher percentage of American Indians/Alaska Natives (44 percent) were uninsured than were Whites, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and persons of two or more races.

The overall percentage of youth who were uninsured decreased between 2000 and 2009 from 13 to 12 percent. In addition, a lower percentage of female youth were uninsured in 2009 than in 2000 (12 vs. 13 percent). The percentage of youth who lacked health insurance also decreased between 2000 and 2009 for Hispanics (from 32 to 22 percent).

A higher percentage of young adults were uninsured in 2009 than in 2000 (30 vs. 27 percent). Similarly, higher percentages of male and female young adults lacked insurance coverage in 2009 than in 2000 (33 vs. 29 percent for males and 28 vs. 24 percent for females). In terms of race/ethnicity, between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of White young adults who were uninsured increased (from 19 to 24 percent), and the percentage of Black young adults who were uninsured was higher in 2009 than in 2000 (36 vs. 32 percent) but there was no linear trend over the time period for Black young adults.

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