The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million (15.3 percent) in 2005 to 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006, according to a report by the Census Bureau.
Texas, with a three-year average of 24.1 percent, has the highest percentage of uninsured. The uninsured rates in Minnesota, Hawaii, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Maine were the lowest in the country, all below 10 percent.
In July of this year, Massachusetts, which already had one of the lowest uninsured rates, started requiring residents age 18 and over to have health insurance. In addition, the law requires that all employers with 11 or more full-time employees in Massachusetts to make a "fair and reasonable" contribution toward an employee health plan.
The Census Bureau report also found the nation's official poverty rate declined for the first time this decade, from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent in 2006. There were 36.5 million people in poverty in 2006, not statistically different from 2005.
Meanwhile, real median household income in the United States climbed between 2005 and 2006, reaching $48,200, according to the report. This is the second consecutive year that income has risen.