January 20, 2021

For the First Time in Years, More Parents Are Without Health Insurance

Data released last fall revealed that the percentage of children without health insurance in the United States had risen between 2018 and 2019. We now know that the share and number of parents without coverage also increased.

According to an analysis of American Community Survey data by the Population Reference Bureau, the number of parents without insurance jumped by more than 200,000 from 2018 to 2019 and the percentage moved from 11% to 12%, the first such increase since 2010, just before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2019, 6.8 million parents — that is, people who live with at least one of their own children under age 18 — lacked insurance coverage. These data reflect conditions immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Directly comparable data from the pandemic period are not available, although the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey is asking adults with and without children in their households about their health insurance status.

Among the states, Texas had by far the highest percentage of parents without health insurance in 2019 (25%), followed by Oklahoma (19%) and Florida and Mississippi (both 17%). Massachusetts (3%) had the lowest percentage, a figure matched by the District of Columbia.

Children are more likely to be uninsured if their parents are without coverage.