New Census data shows more poverty in Iowa, but fewer kids going without health insurance


September 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

More Iowa families are living in poverty, but more Iowa children have health insurance according to new data from the 2010 census. Noga O’Connor, a researcher with the Iowa Policy Project, reviewed the data – which shows just four percent of Iowa’s kids are without health insurance.  “More children in 2010 were covered than in ’09 and ’08. The data here doesn’t tell us exactly the cause behind the improvement, but it’s just good to know there are fewer children in Iowa who do not have health insurance,” O’Connor said. Child poverty rates are up, but O’Connor believes more parents know about public insurance programs, which could help explain the increase in children with health insurance. Just five states have better child coverage rates than Iowa. Overall, nearly 1 in 11 Iowans were without insurance in 2010. The census data also shows Iowa’s poverty rate rose to 12.6 percent from 11.6 percent two years earlier. Median household income in Iowa dropped to $47,961 from $49,454 in 2008. The numbers are even bleaker for many of Iowa’s neighboring states. “But that’s only partial consolation, since the fact that we’re doing better than other states doesn’t completely overshadow the fact that the state is struggling today financially,” O’Connor said. Iowa’s poverty rate for 2010 was the second lowest in the region – only Minnesota’s was lower.