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Latest ACS details uninsured and disabled populations

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From 2008 to 2012, 9.7 percent of Pennsylvania's population was uninsured and 13.2 percent had a disability, according the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent American Community Survey.

The survey focused on noninstitutionalized civilians.

Access to health insurance varied by age and racial and ethnic group, as well as geography. For Pennsylvanians under 18 years of age, 5.3 percent had no health insurance coverage. That figure rose to 13.4 percent for Pennsylvanians age 18 to 64 years and then declined to 0.5 percent for those aged 65 years and over.

Between racial and ethnic groups, the White Alone, Not Hispanic category had the lowest uninsured rate, with 8.1 percent reporting no health insurance coverage. All others had higher uninsured rates, including 20.7 percent for Hispanic, 14.5 percent for Black and 14.1 percent for Asian.

Pennsylvanians had both private and public health insurance, with 59.4 percent having private coverage only and 16.5 percent having public coverage only. Nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvanians — 14.4 percent — had a combination of both public and private coverage.

The likelihood of having a disability also varied by age, from 7.1 percent of people under 18 years old, to 10.7 percent of people 18 to 64 years old, and 35.6 percent of those 65 and older.

Disability status was determined from the answers to questions surrounding six types of difficulty: Hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care and independent living. The questions were changed from earlier editions of the ACS, so the Census Bureau does not recommend any comparisons to earlier data.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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