The Common Good
November 2004

Just how many is 45 million

by Rose Marie Berger, Mark Betz | November 2004

Just How Many is 45 Million?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2003 fully 45 million people in this country had no health insurance. That’s up 1.4 million from 2002 and 5.2 million from 2000. "The uninsured problem is serious yet largely ignored," Jeanne Lambrew, a professor of health policy at George Washington University, told Sojourners. "If considered a disease like other threats to health, it would be the worst epidemic in this nation’s history."

Since most of us aren’t in the habit of dealing with numbers of this size, here are some comparisons that illustrate the significance of 45 million uninsured people:

  • 37.1 million. The number of African Americans in this country.
  • 150. The approximate number of uninsured Americans per physician in America.
  • 35.9 million. The number of Americans age 65 and older.
  • 84,000. The number of uninsured Americans for each member of Congress.
  • 32.2 million. The entire population of Canada.
  • 38 million. The number of people living with HIV worldwide.
  • 45.2 million. The combined population of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Source: "Uninsured America," Center for American Progress (Aug. 26, 2004), and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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