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eriu: Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured Initiating and disemminating research to spark new policy discussion on health coverage issues.
Research Findings  
Fast Facts Home
Facts to Consider
Counting the Uninsured by Reference Period
All Year
Ever in Year
Point in Time
By Data Source
By Population
Total Non-Elderly
By Additional Characteristics

Education Level
Family Composition

Comparison Tables
Medical Utilization and
Expenditures Tables
Notes on Data Sources
and Variables
Data Dictionary

Facts to Consider

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The number of uninsured varies with the time period considered. One survey found the number uninsured at a point in time to be 42 percent more than the number uninsured for an entire year, and 26 percent less than the number ever uninsured during the year.

  • In 2002, non-elderly adults and children who were uninsured at a point in time numbered 47.7 million.
  • The number uninsured for the entire year was 33.7 million.
  • The number ever uninsured at any time during that year was 64.4 million.

These statistics about the uninsured come from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) for 2002, found in this table.

This is an example of what is available in ERIU's "fast facts" about the uninsured. ERIU's "fast facts" offer unique tabulations of characteristics that vary within groups that are uninsured for different lengths of time. What are the differences among those who are uninsured at a point in time, those who are uninsured all year long, and those who are uninsured at any time during the year? Among the uninsured at a point in time, what portion are in families that have two or more family members working full time? (Answer: 12.4 percent.) And among those insured throughout the year? (Answer: 8.7 percent.) And among those insured at any time during the year? (Answer: 17.4 percent.)

ERIU's more detailed "second level" looks at the uninsured include tables on education level, income, and family status for uninsured immigrants, children, adults, and workers. Data is available for different data sources: Current Population Survey (CPS) and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP in addition to MEPS), as well as for different time periods (all year, part year, point in time).

For more on ERIU's "fast facts": ERIU Fast Facts