The Census Bureau collects health insurance data from two
surveys, however, other agencies also collect health insurance data. Depending
on your needs, one survey may be more suitable than another. The following is a
list of surveys from the Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau collects health insurance data using two national
1. The Annual Social and
Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current
Population Survey (CPS)
2. Survey of Income and Program
The surveys differ in length and detail of the questionnaire, the number of
households interviewed, the methodology used to collect and process the data,
and, consequently, in the health insurance estimates produced. As a
result, it is important to understand that different surveys and methods
produce different results, and consequently when it is appropriate to use each
survey or method.
Other non-Census Bureau surveys which currently collect or have collected
health insurance data can be found on our Links to Related Sites
note, the list of external surveys is not exhaustive
The Annual Social and Economic
Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey
- The CPS is a monthly survey of about 50,000
households conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics mainly to estimate the unemployment rate.
- The Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to
the CPS is a survey of about 78,000 households and includes detailed health
insurance questions asked of the household respondent for every household
- Respondents are asked about health insurance
coverage in the previous calendar year.
- The CPS ASEC
- provides a consistent historical time series at the
- can be used to examine state-level trends and
differences (through multi-year averages), though the large sampling
errors of state-level data limit its usefulness.
- is mainly
useful for examing timely estimates of the insured and uninsured population at
the national level.
- is useful as a source of estimates of the insured and uninsured populations at the state
- is the most widely used source of data on health insurance coverage in the United States.
- is the official source of estimates
used to allocate federal funding to states for the State Children's Health
Insurance Program (SCHIP).
- CPS Main Page
- CPS ASEC Page
- CPS ASEC
The Survey of Income and
Program Participation (SIPP)
- While the CPS ASEC provides reliable estimates of the net change in the
number of uninsured people from one year to the next, it does not show
- how long a given
person remains uninsured,
- what percentage of
the uninsured population remains uninsured in the following year,
- how many people
obtain coverage, or
- any changes in a
person's coverage within a given year.
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Contact the Demographic Call Center Staff at 301-763-2422 or 1-866-758-1060 (toll free) or visit
ask.census.gov for further information on Health Insurance Data.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division
Last Revised: October 05, 2005