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The CHCF Almanac regularly publishes data and analysis on California's health care market.


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California's Uninsured: By the Numbers

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California's Uninsured: By the Numbers

Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Who are California's uninsured? This annual Almanac report provides data on those who are uninsured and their income levels, work status, age, and ethnicity.

December 2013
Click to View Infographic - Employed but Uninsured: California's Uninsured by Employment and Family Income

California had the greatest number of uninsured residents of any state, seven million, and the seventh largest percentage of uninsured under 65 in the country. Many of the state's uninsured are employed; however, the percentage of residents who receive coverage through their jobs has declined dramatically, dropping from 63% in 1988 to 54% in 2012. While public insurance has mostly offset this gap, one in five remains uninsured.

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), the numbers of uninsured residents in California will be reduced, although a significant number will be left behind.*

California's Uninsured: By the Numbers provides a look at California's uninsured population before full implementation of the ACA.

Key findings in this annual update include:

  • While one in five Californians overall is uninsured, the rate among those who work is even higher: one in four.
  • Sixty-two percent of uninsured children in California are in families where the head of the household worked full-time during 2012.
  • Employees in businesses of all sizes are more likely to be uninsured in California than in the rest of the United States. In businesses with fewer than 10 employees, 40% of workers are likely to have no insurance.
  • Nearly one-third of the uninsured in California have annual family incomes of $50,000 or more.
  • Nearly 60% of the state's uninsured population is Latino.

For more information on which groups will be left without insurance after ACA implementation, see

The complete report, a quick reference guide, and the Current Population Survey (CPS) data, along with past years' editions, are available as Document Downloads.

Related CHCF Pages below offers a link to California's Uninsured and Medi-Cal Populations: A Policy Guide to the Estimates, which provides specific advice to those who frequently need to cite estimates of the number of uninsured Californians using the CPS and California Health Interview Survey data sets.

*In 2015, an estimated 5.6 million Californians will be uninsured. Of this population, 2.6 million are expected to take up coverage, but 3.1 million are expected to stay uninsured.