RALEIGH, N.C. — New census data show about one out of six North Carolina residents lacked health insurance coverage.
The U.S. Census Bureau released annual population and community data Thursday that contains information about health coverage across the United States.
The census data shows that over the past three years an average of 1.5 million North Carolinians were without health insurance, or nearly 17 percent.
That was worse than the national average of 15.5 percent of the population lacking coverage. Texas led the country with about a quarter of its residents uninsured.
"These numbers demonstrate the need to pass comprehensive health reform this year," Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Justice Center's Health Access Coalition, said in a statement. "More and more North Carolinians are losing their jobs and their insurance. We must ensure that these families have access to affordable, quality health coverage regardless of age or health status."
A state health research agency reported in March that recession-fueled layoffs gave North Carolina the country's highest growth rate of people without health insurance.