New data from the U.S. Census Bureau presents the most detailed picture yet of the dramatic rise in the number of people covered by health insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

County-level data going back to 2010, when the law was signed, shows a patchwork of people living without health insurance that ticked down slowly for the first three years under the ACA. But, once the online insurance exchanges opened at the end of 2013 and Medicaid expanded, the population living without coverage dropped noticeably.

The recently released Census report is county-level data for 2015. Overall, the nationwide uninsured rate dropped 7.7 percentage points for people under 65 years old between 2010 and 2015, from 18.2 percent in 2010 to 10.5 percent in 2015.

Maps Show A Dramatic Rise In Health Insurance Coverage Under ACA


See Every Term the US Census Has Used to Describe Black Americans

Especially notable is that before 1960, Americans didn’t even have the option of picking their own race; it was the census taker’s job to do it for them. Which means that in 1890, for example, census takers were tasked with figuring out whether multiracial families counted as “mulatto,” “quadroon,” or “octoroon.”

It’s another illustration of how our understanding of what race is, and who belongs to which race, keeps shifting over time — even though people of every era are convinced that the racial divisions of their era are just scientific fact.

Currently, LGBTQ Americans won't be counted on the US Census

The 2020 census may not count LGBTQ Americans. Every ten years, the U.S. Government is required to collect census data on all of its citizens. The Obama administration began a government-wide effort in 2015 to determine how to best collect needed info on LGBTQ citizens, with the purpose of including questions to help gather this data on the next census survey.  

Now, the Trump administration has reversed this effort and decided to drop all questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity from the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. This will leave government agencies and policymakers in the dark as to how to best allocate resources to serve these citizens. If you think LGBTQ Americans should be counted, add your name to this petition.

105 members of Congress didn’t want to leave this matter to Administrative whim, so they co-sponsored the LGBT Data Inclusion Act. But the Act can’t become law unless Congress holds a hearing to review the bill.

Right now, the bill is stalled in both the House and Senate. Your voice can help move Congress to action.

Please sign and share this petition calling on Congress to give the LGBT Data Inclusion Act a fair hearing today. LGBTQ Americans can’t wait another decade to be counted.

In the 1970s, the nation’s Latino advocacy groups had grown fed up with the U.S. Census Bureau. During its 1970 population count, the agency had made a half-hearted attempt to quantify the number of Latinos and Hispanics living in the United States.

Groups including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and ASPIRA complained that the Census “had a question that only went to 10 percent of households, and it wasn’t in Spanish, and there hadn’t been a mobilization campaign,” says Cristina Mora, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

In this week’s episode of the Code Switch podcast, Mora tells the fascinating story of how, in the 1970s, Latino advocacy groups successfully lobbied the federal government to create a separate category for counting Hispanics and Latinos. Before then the government had classified those people simply as white.

Here’s Why The Census Started Counting Latinos, And How That Could Change In 2020

Illustration: Chelsea Beck/NPR

i was thinking about it more and the removal of lgbtq people from the census could be even more dangerous than just cutting federal aid programs. if we aren’t considered a coherent group of people with specific rights, it’s very easy to claim that anti-discrimination laws don’t include us. it paints being lgbtq as a choice rather than an identity, and it’s a slippery slope to being stripped of any legal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment or the supreme court.

Henry David Thoreau, 7/12/1817 - 5/6/1862

Happy 200th Birthday to writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who was born on July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. This census record from 1850 shows Thoreau (line 33) living with his parents in Concord. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 44 in 1862.

Entry from 1850 Census Schedule for Henry David Thoreau, 9/17/1850
Series: Population Schedules for the 1850 Census, 1850 - 1850Record Group 29: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007 

Learn more about research with Census records at the National Archives

‪"They’ll call.“ said Paul, the tick of the clock his only companion in the otherwise unbroken silence. "They’ll definitely call.” ‬