Sampson County’s uninsured population ranks the 13th highest among the state’s 100 counties, according to statistics released just last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2012, of the 53,674 in Sampson’s demographic group, there were 12,458 uninsured (23.2 percent) and 41,216 insured (76.8 percent), according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE).
Sampson”s 23.2 percent uninsured population puts it behind just a dozen counties in the state, including Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jackson, Macon, Montgomery, Robeson, Swain and Tyrrell counties.
The county’s 23.2 percent is actually down from that in recent years, but situates the county right back where it was in 2008. The uninsured figure for Sampson was 23.8 percent in 2010 and 23.4 percent in 2011. Those were rises from the 21.5 percent in 2009 and the 23.2 percent in 2008. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Carolina has a 19 percent uninsured population, ranking it 15th highest among 50 states.
The SAHIE program, the only source for single-year estimates of the number of people with health insurance for each of the nation’s roughly 3,140 counties, models coverage by combining survey data with population estimates and administrative records. Specifically, it uses the American Community Survey, demographic population estimates, aggregated federal tax returns, participation records for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, County Business Patterns, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program participation records, as well as the 2010 Census.
The statistics are provided by broad age and sex groups, and at income levels that reflect thresholds for state and federal assistance programs. Statewide estimates also break out the data by race and Hispanic origin. The Census Bureau offers an Interactive Data Visualization and Mapping Tool that allows visitors to search different criteria and generate a color-coded map on the state and national levels.
Between 2008 and 2012, the number of children under age 19 without health insurance declined in 1,171 counties and rose in 17, with 1,950 not having a statistically significant change, according to bureau estimates. The number of working-age adults without health insurance rose in 494 counties, declined in 269 counties and did not have a statistically significant change in 2,375 counties.
Nationally, according to the American Community Survey, an essential input to the health insurance estimates, the percentage of children under 19 without health insurance declined from 9.7 percent (7.5 million) in 2008 to 7.5 percent (5.8 million) in 2012, while the percentage for working-age adults rose from 19.4 percent (36.1 million) to 20.8 percent (39.8 million).
In every county, the uninsured rate for children under age 19 was lower than working-age adults, ages 18 to 64, except for four counties in Nevada, which saw no statistical difference.
In Sampson, the percentage of children under 19 without health insurance was 9.6 percent in 2012, down from 12.6 percent in 2008, while the percentage for working-age adults rose from 27.8 percent in 2008 to 29.1 percent in 2012. Those stats in Sampson trended higher than state numbers. In North Carolina, the uninsured population of working-age adults tallied 23.4 percent in 2012, up from 20.5 percent in 2008.
According to the data, 68.2 percent of counties in the Northeast and 36.1 percent of counties in the Midwest have uninsured rates below 12.5 percent, compared to the South and the West, where only 2.6 percent and 2.5 percent of counties, respectively, have an uninsured rate below 12.5 percent.
For the population younger than 65 living at or below 138 percent of poverty, non-Hispanic blacks had a lower uninsured rate than non-Hispanic whites in 34 states. Hispanics had a higher uninsured rate than non-Hispanic whites for every state but Hawaii, which was not statistically different.
Broken down by race in North Carolina, for the population younger than 65 in 2012, the Hispanic population had an uninsured rate of 41.3 percent, non-Hispanic blacks had a 21 percent uninsured population and non-Hispanic whites had a 14.8 percent uninsured population (race statistics were not available on a county-by-county basis).
North Carolina’s uninsured Hispanic population is the highest in the country, the data shows.
According to the Census Bureau, American Community Survey data are essential to the production of Small Area Health Insurance Estimates.
Later this year, the Census Bureau will release American Community Survey health insurance coverage estimates in three stages: first, 2013 data for counties and other areas with a population of 65,000 or more; next, similar estimates for areas with a population of 20,000 or more using data collected from 2011 to 2013; and finally, statistics for all areas, regardless of size, based on American Community Survey data collected from 2009 to 2013.
To visit the Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates to see a full breakdown and search by various categories, visit census.gov/did/www/sahie.
The U.S. Census Bureau contributed to this story. Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.