Identifying the race and ethnicity of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is critical for understanding and addressing longstanding inequities in children’s healthcare.
Data on issues that affect children inform how health inequities are addressed; however, the completeness and quality of these data are inconsistent across states’ collection systems.
There is substantial variation in the quality of Medicaid and CHIP race and ethnicity data for children across states.
Forty to fifty percent of states have moderate to high-quality data for identifying American Indian/Alaskan Native (22 states), Asian (22 states), Black (25 states), Hispanic (21 states), and White (21 states) children in 2018.
Only one state (North Carolina) has moderate to high-quality data for all race and ethnicity categories.
Twenty-four states have low-quality data for all race and ethnicity categories.
Missing information for race and ethnicity data among children varies substantially.
Researchers determine there is substantial variation in the quality of the race and ethnicity variable for children across state Medicaid and CHIP programs. In addition to improving the quality of the race and ethnicity categories, more effort is needed to ensure smaller race and ethnicity categories are represented and identifiable in the data.
About the Urban Institute
The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and recent research.
Stable, affordable health coverage for people in the U.S. is the starting point to improving health outcomes and building a Culture of Health. In the U.S. nearly 75 million people rely on Medicaid for health coverage.
Medicaid's Role in Children's Health
A brief by Manatt Health discusses how states are implementing a number of strategies in Medicaid to maximize the health and wellbeing of children.
Achieving Health Equity
As health disparities in the U.S. continue to grow, RWJF's health equity toolkit provides resources, data, and examples of communities working to achieve better health for all.