An Introduction to the American Community Survey Health Insurance Coverage Estimates

A new estimate of the number of uninsured Americans at the county, state, and national level was released as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s first-ever release of data collected through the American Community Survey (ACS).

The ACS is conducted by the Census Bureau to provide communities with up-to-date information on key demographics and policy-relevant data. By polling about 30 times more Americans than the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the ACS is able to estimate the number of uninsured Americans at the county level—data which will be useful for state and federal health policy-makers alike.

The new issue brief prepared by experts at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) explores how the use of these new data could complement existing data sets, in particular the CPS. Both surveys will produce state-level insurance coverage estimates in the fall of each year, reflecting the prior year’s coverage rates.

In addition to releasing the brief, SHADAC will hold a technical briefing call at 1 p.m. EDT (12 p.m. CDT, 10 a.m. PDT), Wednesday, September 23, 2009, which will give researchers and interested stakeholders a chance to learn more about the ACS release and how the new data can be used.