What the CPS Says About Our Children’s Well-being

What the CPS Says About Our Children’s Well-being 

For background information regarding the 2013 Current Population Survey, please review our blog Data Debrief: Overview of the ACS and CPS.

On Tuesday, the US Census Bureau published Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013, which details the results of the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS).

According to new federal data, in the last year there was no significant change in the rate of uninsured children – confirming a number of independent and federal surveys. Nationally in 2013, 7.3 percent of children under 18 were uninsured, a total of 5.4 million children lacking health coverage. Among children under 19 years of age, 7.6 percent remained uninsured.

While more children under 18 had private health coverage (60.0 percent) than government health insurance (41.1 percent), public health programs such as Medicaid and CHIP remain important tools to reduce the number of uninsured children.

Characteristics of the uninsured children in the US continued to follow familiar trends. Children who live in low-income families, are foreign-born, reside in southern states, or are of Hispanic ethnicity were more likely to be uninsured than their counterparts.


By the numbers (for children under 18 in the US): 

  • Household Income
    • Children in low-income households were less likely to be insured than children in high-income households. The uninsured rate for children in households with family incomes below $25,000 was 9.6 percent, compared to 4.3 percent for children in households with family incomes above $75,000.
  • Nativity
    • Foreign-born children were three times more likely to be uninsured (21.2 percent) than native children (6.8 percent). Of foreign-born children, children who are not citizens were four times more likely to be uninsured (26.4 percent) than naturalized citizens (8.3 percent).
  • Geographic Region
    • Children living in the South (8.4 percent) and the West (8.5 percent) had much higher rates of uninsurance than children living in the Northeast (5.8 percent) and the Midwest (5.4 percent).
  • Race/ethnicity
    • The uninsured rate for non-Hispanic White children was 7.2%, 7.5% for Black children, 6.9% for Asian children, and 11.7% for Hispanic children.

Note that the Census modified CPS questions regarding health insurance in order to accommodate ACA provisions. While the new data will provide a baseline for comparing 2013 to 2014 health insurance rates, the data are not comparable to CPS data collected in previous years.



Good news regarding the well-being of children in the US came from new CPS poverty data. The child poverty rate declined from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013. In addition, the number of children in poverty decreased from 16.1 million in 2012 to 14.7 million in 2013 – the first time since 2000 that the poverty rate for children has declined. According to the Census report on Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013, this decline is in part driven by an increase in full-time, year-round workers and a rise in median incomes among families.

As Sharon Parrott at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes, “the improvement in 2013 is welcome news that the economic recovery has finally begun to improve the circumstances of the lowest-income children.”

Stay tuned for CCF’s blog on the upcoming ACS data release!