Posted on October 5, 2009

Directions for estimating the number of uninsured Americans by Congressional District using Census Bureau data


Because of more intensive surveys of coverage than ever before, the Census Bureau’s survey data can now be used to calculate the numbers of uninsured in every congressional district. Thanks to Len Rodberg, Ph.D. from the New York chapter of PNHP for creating the following chart showing the number of uninsured people under age 65 by congressional district.

See table of Insurance and Uninsurance by Congressional District (Microsoft Excel)

by Debbie Socolar

On 9/21/09, the Census Bureau released data from its annual American Community Survey, which for the first time included questions on health insurance status. Data are available for the U.S., states, Congressional districts, and cities and medium or large towns and counties.

The Census Bureau website can create tables for each Congressional district showing the number of people insured and uninsured in 2-3 age groups (or tables on those with public or private coverage). The key item for many users will be the number of uninsured people under age 65. It takes several steps to get a table, so here are instructions:

1. One way to start is here:

2. In the section called, Getting Detailed Data, the second item is American Community Survey — under that, click on “get data.”

3. That should bring up a page featuring a large gray box labeled
2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

4. Click on “List all tables”

5. Scroll down almost to the bottom of the list, through the numbers from lowest to highest (ignore letters that precede table numbers) until you find and click to highlight:
C27001 — Health Insurance Status by Age for the Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population *

6. Click “next” button (on the right)

7. Under “select geographic type,” scroll down to the 9th line and click on
“Congressional District — 110th”

8. Then select a state

9. Highlight “All Congressional Districts” (or one district) and click the “Add” button below that

10. Click “show result” button (on the right)

Results (if show ALL Congressional districts) will be spread over several pages for large states, with 5 districts per page. Near the top of the page is the link to access the 2nd page:

geographies 1-5 of 10 Next .

The table displays: Total population of the Congressional district
Number of people under 65 and 65+ (on 2 separate lines)
Under each age group, the number of people in age group who are insured and uninsured

To see a more detailed table that shows children and adults 18-64 separately, click on
“View the noncollapsed version of this table”

* To see, alternatively, tables on the number
- with public coverage/not public coverage, use C27003 in step 5
- with private coverage/not private coverage, use C27002 in step 5.