People who are uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to seek preventive care, which can result in poor health outcomes and higher health care costs. In 2003, 45 million people in the U.S., representing 15.6 percent of the population, were uninsured all year. The percentage of people who are uninsured varies considerably across a number of categories, including sex, age, race/ethnicity, income, and education. The percentage of females without insurance (14.4 percent) is slightly lower than the percentage of males (16.8 percent). However, non-White women are more likely than White women to lack coverage: 10.4 percent of non-Hispanic White females (of all ages) were uninsured, compared to 17.8 percent of Black females, 18.5 percent of Asian females, and 29.6 percent of Hispanic females.

The percentage of people without health insurance also varies greatly by age. Young adults of both sexes are the most likely to be uninsured: 34.5 percent of 21 to 24 year-olds lack health insurance, as do 26.6 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds. In contrast, because of the Medicare program, fewer than 1 percent of women aged 65 years and older are uninsured.

Rates of uninsurance decrease steadily as household income increases, ranging from a high of 24.2 percent for those with incomes below $25,000 to a low of 8.2 percent for those with incomes of $75,000 or more.

Graph: Adults Without Health Insurance by Age and Sex[d]

Graph: Health Insurance Coverage of Females by Type of Coverage and Race/Ethnicity[d]