According to the Census Bureau, the least-insured state in the nation is Texas, where one-in-four people (24.1 percent) lacked health insurance in 2008. Massachusetts reported the highest rate of coverage, with fewer than one-in-twenty (4.1 percent) people going uninsured. The rate of uninsured children ranged from 2.1 percent in Massachusetts to 20.2 percent in Nevada.
Why the first-ever inclusion of a health insurance question? The Census Bureau states, “Every question on the ACS is included either because the data are required to satisfy one or more federal laws, regulations or court decisions, or are needed to manage federal programs and allocate more than $400 billion of federal tax dollars annually to states and local communities.”
A few non-health insurance-related highlights from the 2008 ACS included:
- Income: The U.S. median household income in 2008 ranged from a median of $70,545 for Maryland to $37,790 for Mississippi.
- Citizenship and Year of Naturalization: The total foreign-born population represented 12.5 percent of the population in 2008, compared to 12.6 percent in 2007. In 2008, there were about 21.6 million non-citizens, compared with 21.9 million non-citizens in 2007. The percentage of naturalized citizens increased, from 42.5 percent in 2007 to 43.0 percent in 2008.
- Marriage: The percentage of women 15 and over who have never married was 28.1 percent in 2008, up from 27.6 percent in 2007 and 27.3 percent in 2006.
- Commute to Work: The percentage of workers who drove alone to work decreased slightly between 2007 and 2008 — from 76.1 percent in 2007 to 75.5 percent in 2008. The percentage of commuters using public transportation increased slightly between 2007 and 2008, from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent.
- Housing: California homeowners with mortgages had the highest monthly median housing costs in the nation at $2,384. New Jersey had the second highest median housing cost at $2,360 per month.
The American Communities Survey (ACS) sends questionnaires to approximately 3 million addresses every year and covers more than 40 topics such as income, educational attainment, housing and family structure. Just like the regular decennial census, responses to the ACS are required by law and held strictly confidential.