Latest Census Data Show Half a Million Mississippians Without Health Insurance, Poverty Increases

For Immediate Release 
September 17, 2010
Contact: Krista Buckhalter
Office: (601) 944-9320
E-mail: [email protected]

Latest Census Data Shows Half a Million Mississippians Without Health Insurance, Poverty Increases
Persistently High Rates of People Without Insurance Underscore Imprtance of Health Reform Law

JACKSON-On September 16th, the U.S. Census Bureau released 2009 data on poverty, income, and health insurance coverage across the United States. Key findings from the release include:

• The Census Bureau estimates that 502,000 people in Mississippi were without health insurance in 2009. The percentage of Mississippi’s children with health insurance increased over the last decade; however, nearly 11 percent of children in Mississippi still found themselves without insurance coverage.

• The percentage of Mississippians covered by private insurance dropped to the lowest level this decade- 53.1 percent. In contrast 68 percent of Mississippi’s residents were covered by private insurance in 1999.

• Preliminary poverty estimates show that in 2009, Mississippi’s poverty rate was 23.1 percent, an increase from the 2008 rate of 18.1 percent. More authoritative estimates will be released on September 28.

• The poverty rate for Mississippi’s children rose to 31.9%, or approximately 250,000 children living in households with incomes below the federal poverty level.

“The growth in the number of uninsured Mississippians and the decline in private coverage demonstrate the unquestionable need for health reform in our state said Ed Sivak, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center. “The new health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion will enable many Mississippi families to secure health coverage and move closer to self-sufficiency.”
The official poverty data do not include the positive impact of $70 billion in Recovery Act tax credits, including the Making Work Pay Credit. It also does not include the Act’s $7.2 billion in increased food stamp benefits in 2009. Such assistance moderated the severity of poverty for thousands of Mississippians.

Several key pieces of the Recovery Act are set to expire over the next several months and could result in many more families falling below the poverty line.Specifically, the federal program supporting the Mississippi STEPS program, which has connected thousands of people to jobs, will expire on September 30. Additional Unemployment Insurance weeks for the long-term unemployed will expire on November 30 and tax credits for working families expire after 2010. “For Mississippians struggling to make ends meet, it is important that actions are taken to allow these provisions to remain in place in the near term” said Sivak.


Back to main press release page