About 30 percent of Hispanic adults in the U.S. did not have health insurance coverage last year, according to early estimates from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey.
The initial data was released on Thursday by the Hyattsville, Maryland-based National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Overall, the data indicated about 9.2 percent of the total U.S. population—about 30 million people—did not have health insurance in 2021, a slight decline from the estimated 31.6 million people who did not have insurance in 2020, the first year that the U.S. was battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual survey dates back to 1957. The early results assessed for Thursday’s data release were based on health information collected from 29,696 adults and 8,293 children, the report said.
An estimated 30.1 percent of Hispanic adults ages 18 to 64 did not have health insurance last year, the report said. The number marks an increase from the 29.3 percent of Hispanic adults who did not have insurance in 2020 and from the 29.7 percent who were without insurance in 2019.
While the report said Hispanic adults were the group “most likely to lack health insurance coverage,” it identified non-Hispanic Black adults as the next largest group, with 14.1 percent of adults uninsured last year. Non-Hispanic white adults were next, with 8.7 percent uninsured, and non-Hispanic Asian adults were listed last with 6.3 percent without health insurance.
The NCHS noted its data estimates “are being published before final editing and final weighting to provide access to the most recent information” from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey.
Last October, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a brief in which it noted Latino and Hispanic individuals “have consistently been overrepresented in the uninsured population.” While the brief said uninsurance rates among Hispanic and Latino individuals dropped to a collective low of 17 percent a few years after the Affordable Care Act was passed, that percentage began to rise again between 2017 and 2020.
Newsweek reached out to the ASPE Office of Health Policy for comment.
The recent rise in uninsured Hispanic individuals noted in the NCHS report came amid the ongoing battle against COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has reported more than 81 million cases and nearly 1 million virus-related deaths.
U.S. health officials have acknowledged that virus data demonstrates differences in how COVID impacts the country’s population. Hispanic and Latino Americans have contracted the virus and died after infection at higher rates than white Americans, non-Hispanic Black Americans and non-Hispanic Asian Americans, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hospitalization rates after infection have also been higher for Hispanic and Latino Americans than for white Americans and non-Hispanic Asian Americans, the data shows.