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Race, Ethnicity, and Health

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Document date: March 18, 2004
Released online: March 18, 2004

No. 20 in Series, "Snapshots of America's Families III"

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).


DATA AT A GLANCE
BETWEEN 1997 AND 2002, INSURANCE COVERAGE INCREASED BY 6 PERCENTAGE POINTS FOR LOW-INCOME BLACK AND WHITE CHILDREN AND 5 PERCENTAGE POINTS FOR LOW-INCOME HISPANIC CHILDREN.
20 PERCENT OF HISPANIC CHILDREN WERE UNINSURED IN 2002 COMPARED WITH 9 PERCENT OF BLACK CHILDREN AND 7 PERCENT OF WHITE CHILDREN.

The creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), combined with many states' decisions to expand Medicaid eligibility, increased public coverage of black, white, and Hispanic children between 1997 and 2002. Uninsurance rates fell among children in low-income white, black, and Hispanic families, remained constant among white and black children in higher-income families, and increased among Hispanic children in higher-income families. The health status of children, as reported by their parents, was stable for blacks, whites, and Hispanics, except for a decline in health among higher-income Hispanic children.1

Over the same period, black and white adults saw increases in public health insurance coverage but not in overall coverage. The uninsurance rate of Hispanic adults increased, despite expanded public coverage of higher-income Hispanic adults.

This Snapshot uses data from the 1997, 1999, and 2002 rounds of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to examine changes in health insurance coverage and health status by race and ethnicity. The data reflect the effects of sharp economic fluctuations and recent changes in health policy. Economic growth early in the period brought with it improved job quality and increased rates of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, gains that were quickly reversed during the succeeding recession (Holahan 2003; Zuckerman 2003; Zuckerman, Haley, and Holahan 2000). Increased enrollment in public health coverage followed Medicaid expansion and SCHIP implementation in a number of states between 1999 and 2002. Shifts in insurance coverage associated with these factors were most dramatic among children and adults in low-income families (Kenney, Haley, and Tebay 2003; Zuckerman 2003).

Notes from this section

1 Throughout this Snapshot, "Hispanic" includes all races, while "black" and "white" include non-Hispanics only. Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indian/Alaska Natives are included in "all races/ethnicities." Children are age 17 and younger; adults are 18 to 64. "Low-income" refers to families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty thresholds, and "higher-income" refers to families with incomes above 200 percent. Estimates for 1997 and 1999 use new weights based on the 2000 Census and may differ from previously published estimates using weights based on the 1990 Census. All differences between groups and changes over time discussed in this Snapshot are significant at the 0.10 level, except where noted otherwise.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).



Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Health/Healthcare | Race/Ethnicity/Gender


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