Higher Uninsured Rates in Smaller Cities, Rural Pa., Census Data Show

Urban centers and rural communities are home to some of the highest uninsured rates in Pennsylvania, according to data released by the Census Bureau today.

For the first time, the Census released local and regional data on health insurance coverage as part of its American Community Survey. Data was released today only for counties and municipalities with populations of at least 65,000.

Among the state’s largest cities, Reading and Allentown had the highest uninsured rates — even higher than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In terms of sheer numbers, Philadelphia was home to the largest number of uninsured people in the state — with one in six uninsured Pennsylvanians coming from the city.

Municipality

Uninsured

% Uninsured

Host County

Uninsured

% Uninsured

Allentown

        19,229

17.1%

Lehigh   

          36,272

10.9%

Erie

        13,141

13.4%

Erie   

          27,280

10.0%

Philadelphia   

      200,243

14.1%

Philadelphia    

        200,243

14.1%

Pittsburgh

        30,127

10.3%

Allegheny   

          92,384

7.7%

Reading

        14,020

17.5%

Berks   

          32,276

8.1%

Scranton

          8,153

11.7%

Lackawanna   

          17,833

8.7%

Upper Darby Township

        11,084

13.8%

Delaware   

          43,615

8.0%

Source. U.S. Census, American Community Survey, 2008

Insurance Coverage by Age Group: Access a table detailing insurance coverage in the above municipalities by age group

Among the 39 counties in Pennsylvania for which data was released, several rural communities saw high uninsured rates, as well. Crawford, Lawrence and Lancaster counties were home to some of the highest uninsured rates in 2008 — after Philadelphia County — while suburban Bucks, Montgomery, Butler and Northampton counties had among the lowest rates.

Insurance Coverage in Selected Pennsylvania Counties, 2008

Geography

Number of Uninsured

% of Population Uninsured

Number with

 Private Health Insurance

% of Population with Private Coverage

Number with

 Public Health Insurance

% of Population with Public Coverage

United States

     45,080,009

15.1%

                  207,809,342

69.6%

               76,193,967

25.5%

Pennsylvania

      1,151,611

9.4%

                     9,349,635

76.6%

                 3,309,958

27.1%

Adams County 

             8,842

8.9%

                          79,121

79.5%

                     25,123

25.2%

Allegheny County 

           92,384

7.7%

                        949,198

79.0%

                    330,295

27.5%

Armstrong County 

             7,124

10.5%

                          48,348

71.2%

                     25,179

37.1%

Beaver County 

           13,532

7.9%

                        129,866

76.2%

                     53,335

31.3%

Berks County 

           32,276

8.1%

                        312,447

78.4%

                    103,433

26.0%

Blair County 

           10,235

8.4%

                          89,784

73.4%

                     42,034

34.3%

Bucks County 

           36,354

5.9%

                        528,862

86.5%

                    117,596

19.2%

Butler County 

           11,935

6.6%

                        150,546

83.6%

                     41,929

23.3%

Cambria County 

           12,179

8.7%

                        103,589

73.8%

                     49,482

35.3%

Centre County 

             9,837

7.0%

                        121,091

85.9%

                     25,604

18.2%

Chester County 

           33,838

7.0%

                        423,198

87.0%

                     80,698

16.6%

Clearfield County 

             9,457

12.3%

                          51,126

66.3%

                     26,995

35.0%

Columbia County 

             6,349

9.8%

                          49,416

76.6%

                     17,617

27.3%

Crawford County 

           12,425

14.4%

                          57,594

66.7%

                     28,761

33.3%

Cumberland County 

           18,018

8.1%

                        187,921

84.4%

                     49,415

22.2%

Dauphin County 

           24,238

9.6%

                        197,035

77.7%

                     65,621

25.9%

Delaware County 

           43,615

8.0%

                        444,262

81.7%

                    117,433

21.6%

Erie County 

           27,280

10.0%

                        193,562

70.9%

                     87,435

32.0%

Fayette County 

           17,233

12.4%

                          87,304

62.8%

                     55,508

39.9%

Franklin County 

           16,867

12.1%

                        107,372

77.1%

                     36,055

25.9%

Indiana County 

             8,676

10.1%

                          67,321

78.4%

                     23,030

26.8%

Lackawanna County 

           17,833

8.7%

                        157,493

76.9%

                     61,140

29.8%

Lancaster County 

           65,138

13.1%

                        375,112

75.6%

                    114,876

23.2%

Lawrence County 

           11,521

13.0%

                          61,336

69.3%

                     29,184

33.0%

Lebanon County 

           12,145

9.6%

                          98,189

77.8%

                     32,992

26.1%

Lehigh County 

           36,272

10.9%

                        249,250

74.6%

                     90,206

27.0%

Luzerne County 

           26,089

8.5%

                        231,560

75.8%

                     96,076

31.4%

Lycoming County 

             9,301

8.2%

                          86,175

76.0%

                     34,927

30.8%

Mercer County 

           10,291

9.1%

                          83,557

74.0%

                     37,053

32.8%

Monroe County 

           19,016

11.6%

                        124,934

76.1%

                     37,870

23.1%

Montgomery County 

           48,247

6.3%

                        658,264

86.5%

                    139,586

18.3%

Northampton County 

           19,743

6.8%

                        241,121

83.3%

                     66,319

22.9%

Northumberland County 

             9,268

10.6%

                          63,963

73.1%

                     28,035

32.0%

Philadelphia County 

         200,243

14.1%

                        874,837

61.4%

                    492,846

34.6%

Schuylkill County 

           11,939

8.5%

                        108,439

77.1%

                     43,362

30.8%

Somerset County 

             8,376

11.3%

                          52,704

71.3%

                     25,027

33.9%

Washington County 

           18,944

9.3%

                        158,261

77.8%

                     57,159

28.1%

Westmoreland County 

           28,655

8.2%

                        274,317

78.1%

                    103,754

29.5%

York County 

           37,545

9.0%

                        337,353

80.7%

                     94,939

22.7%

             

Data Source. U.S. Census, American Community Survey (ACS), 2008

     

Note: Only counties with 65,000 or more people are currently available from ACS. Data for smaller counties will be made available in October 2009.

Click here for a PDF of the above table

More Specific County-Level Data

Under Age 18: Access a table detailing county-level insurance coverage for Pennsylvanians under age 18

Adults Age 18-64: Access a table detailing county-level insurance coverage for adult Pennsylvanians age 18 to 64

Seniors Age 65 & Older: Access a table detailing county-level insurance coverage for Pennsylvanian seniors 65 and older

The numbers underscore the failure of our health insurance system and the urgent need for Congress to enact health care reform.

Statewide, 1.15 million Pennsylvanians, or 9.4% of the population, lacked health insurance in 2008, according to the data. The state has a smaller share of uninsured people than the Northeastern United States (10.2%) and the nation as a whole (15.1%).

One reason Pennsylvania does better than the nation and the region is because the state is home to a large population of senior citizens who receive health coverage through Medicare. Pennsylvania’s comprehensive Children’s Health Insurance Program also provides a health care option for children from low- and middle-income families who might go uninsured in other states.

Additionally, Pennsylvania has a high rate of employer-provided health insurance, although the rate has been steadily declining over the past decade. Pennsylvania’s long history of unionization has made it more likely that workers will get good health benefits here compared to similar jobs in other states.

Today’s Census release provided data for Pennsylvania’s 39 largest counties and the seven largest municipalities. Data on health insurance are also available by congressional district and metropolitan statistical area, among other geographies. Additional data for cities and counties with populations less than 65,000 will be released on October 27.