More U.S. children than ever had health insurance coverage in 2003, but coverage for working-age adults continued to decline, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In all, 15.2% of the population, or 43.6 million Americans, lacked health insurance coverage at the time of the survey, compared with 14.7% in 2002 and 15.4% in 1997. But the percentage of uninsured children fell to 10.1% in 2003 -- the lowest level ever recorded by the CDC -- from 10.5% in 2002 and 13.9% in 1997.
The improvement reflects increased enrollment of poor and near-poor children in public programs, including the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the CDC said.
The percentage of uninsured working-age adults rose to 20.1%, from 19.1% in 2002 and 18.9% in 1997. More than half of unemployed adults did not have coverage last year.
The percentages are based on continuous interviews throughout the year of 92,000 people. The CDC also estimated how many people had no insurance at any point in the year and how many were uninsured for more than a year.
In general, the patterns of coverage were the same for all three measures. Read the full results.