Well-Being

Texas Maintains Highest Number of Uninsured, Mass. Lowest

by Elizabeth Mendes

Highest percentages of uninsured in Southern and Western states

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, more residents (about 25%) are without health insurance than any other state in the nation so far in 2010. In Massachusetts, where state law includes an individual mandate requiring all residents older than 18 to carry health coverage, less than 5% were uninsured in the first half of this year.

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For a list of the percentage who are uninsured in all 50 states, see page 2.

Nationwide, an average of 16.3% of American adults were uninsured in the first six months of 2010, on par with 2009, but up significantly from 14.8% in 2008. Gallup and Healthways ask American adults each day if they have health insurance and began to see an increase in the percentage who say they don't have coverage starting in late 2008. Since then, the number of uninsured adults has remained elevated.

States with larger percentages of uninsured residents are located mainly in the South and West, as they were in 2009. Gallup has previously reported that on average Hispanics are among the most likely group to be uninsured in America, and it is important to note that several of the states with relatively high uninsured rates also have large numbers of Hispanic residents. Seven out of the 10 states boasting the fewest number of uninsured residents are in the Northeast.

In January-June of 2010, Gallup and Healthways surveyed 176,193 American adults about their health insurance coverage. These midyear 2010 data can serve as a benchmark for federal, state, and local government leaders as they begin to implement new healthcare coverage provisions that the Affordable Care Act requires. Gallup and Healthways will release complete 2010 state-level uninsured findings, encompassing all 12 months of the year, in early 2011.

Learn more about the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

This story is part of a series of midyear updates on Gallup's State of the States data, to be released in July and August on Gallup.com. See the complete schedule and send your suggestion for our "readers' pick." Gallup.com will report new full-year totals in early 2011 based on all 2010 surveys.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-June 30, 2010, with a random sample of 176,193 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

The margin of sampling error for most states is ±1 to ±2 percentage points, it but is as high as ±4 percentage points for smaller states such as Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Hawaii.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures the daily pulse of U.S. wellbeing and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.

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