2012 Edition — California’s Uninsured

Treading water

Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute


In 2011, California had the largest total number of people under 65 years old without health insurance — 7.1 million — of any state in the nation. The percentage of Californians who are uninsured has risen steadily over the past two decades; the state now has the seventh largest percentage of residents without coverage in the US.

The percentage of Californians who have employer-based coverage continued to fall, dropping from 65% in 1987 to 52% in 2011. While public insurance has partially covered this gap, almost 22% of Californians remain uninsured. This statistic should change dramatically in the coming years if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented as planned.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly one in four workers in the state is uninsured.
  • Employees in businesses of all sizes are more likely to be uninsured in California than in the United States. In businesses with fewer than ten employees, slightly more than 40% of workers are likely to have no insurance.
  • Nearly one-third of the uninsured in California and the nation have annual family incomes of $50,000 or more.
  • Fifty-four percent of California’s uninsured children are in families where the head of household worked full-time during calendar year 2011.
  • Nearly 60% of the uninsured population is Latino.

The full report, a quick reference guide, and the Current Population Survey (CPS) data file are available for download below. Also available is an infographic, “Employed but Uninsured: California’s Uninsured by Employment and Family Income,” which is set up for printing on 11″×17″ paper. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of California’s Uninsured.