Metro-Area Census Data Show More Poor and Uninsured in Texas

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Eva DeLuna Castro /(512) 320-0222 x 103
Frances Deviney /(512) 320-0222 x 106

September 28, 2010

Metro-Area Census Data Show More Poor and Uninsured in Texas >>  
Local-Area Health Insurance, Income, and Poverty >>  

The 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show more Texans are below the poverty line and lack health insurance compared to 2008. Most of Texas’ metro area rates exceed the U.S. average. Texas again had the nation’s highest statewide uninsured rate, and some localities far exceeded the statewide rate. Texas entered the recession later than the rest of the nation and experienced low rates of unemployment through most of 2008. These new data for 2009 reflect the full impact of the recession on Texas.

Nearly one in four Texans (23.8 percent) does not have health insurance, or almost 5.8 million people. This is a significant increase from 2008. Texas’ uninsured rates ranged broadly from a high in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area (36 percent) to a low in Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood (14.5 percent), which was the only metro area below the national average (15.1 percent).

Texas’ poverty rate is the 8th worst among the 50 states, with 17.2 percent, or almost 4.2 million Texans living in poverty in 2009 (e.g., $18,310 for a family of 3) compared to a national average of 14.3 percent. Texas children had the 6th worst rate of poverty among the states, with one in four kids (24.4 percent), or 1.7 million, living below the poverty level in 2009.