More Arizona Hispanics Uninsured in 2005 Than Whites, New Census Analysis Finds
In 2005, 34.6% of Hispanics in Arizona were uninsured, compared with 12.7% of whites, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday, Cronkite News/Arizona Republic reports (Konopken, Cronkite News/Arizona Republic, 10/10). The report provides a detailed analysis of the uninsured population in the U.S., providing breakdowns by state, county and demographic groups.
According to the report, about 16% of U.S. residents did not have health insurance in 2005. Minnesota and Hawaii had the lowest uninsured rates in 2005 at 9.5% and 9.7%, respectively, followed by Wisconsin at 10.3%. The study also found Florida, New Mexico and Texas had the three highest rates of uninsured residents younger than age 65. In addition, the report found that states have wide variances between racial and ethnic groups. Mississippi and Texas had greater shares of uninsured Hispanic residents, while Montana and Oklahoma had higher rates of uninsured white residents (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 10/9).
In Arizona, 20.7% of residents were uninsured in 2005. Hispanics made up 28.6% of the state's population that year. Jill Rissi, associate director for research and policy at St. Luke's Health Initiatives, said, "The rates of the Hispanic population that are not insured parallel with things like their education, income and culture." She noted that Arizona has a larger proportion of small business that do not provide health insurance to employees, while other employers are reducing workers' hours to the point where they do not qualify for health benefits.
Alberto Esparza, president and CEO of the not-for-profit youth advocacy group Si Se Puede Foundation, said, "Our economy is suffering, and everyone seems to be looking for a reason of why it is that way. Both Hispanics and non-Hispanics are feeling its effects." He added that many Hispanics cannot afford health insurance coverage. "They want the health insurance, but they are in survival mode. People are having to choose between putting food on the table and health insurance," he said (Cronkite News/Arizona Republic, 10/10).