The U.S. state of Texas continued to have the nation's highest rate of people without health insurance last year, with more than one of every four Texans being uninsured, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nationwide, though the percentage of Americans without health insurance in 2008 remained the same as in 2007, at 15.4 percent, the number of uninsured rose to 46.3 million in 2008, from 45.7 million in 2007, as the population grew and people began losing jobs and health coverage due to the recession, according to the annual report released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
About 25.1 percent of Texans had no health insurance, up from 24.1 percent, using two-year averages comparing 2007-2008 with 2005-2006, the data show.
New Mexico and Florida had the next-highest rates, with 23.1 percent and 20.1 percent of their populations, respectively.
California still has the highest number, not percentage, of uninsured residents, with 6.7 million people uninsured, according to the data.
The data also show that the nation's poverty rate was 13.2 percent in 2008, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. There were 39.8 million Americans, or nearly one in seven people, in poverty in 2008, an increase of about 2.5 million from the previous year. It was the highest level since 1997, when the rate stood at 13.3 percent.
The official poverty level in the United States now is 22,025 U.S. dollars for a family of four, 17,163 for a family of three, 14,051 for a family of two and 10,991 for unrelated individuals.