Health Care Facts & Figures

Health Care


Around the world 1,200 children die every hour (28,800 a day) of preventable diseases.

Developed countries in Western Europe, Asia and Latin America spend a greater share of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on child care and early education than the US.


The US is the only major Western economic power without universal health care system in which health care is considered a human right.
           Commonwealth Fund

Of 17 high-income countries, the US has the highest or near-highest prevalence of obesity, car accidents, infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, and homicides.

National Institutes of Health

Of the healthcare systems of 11 developed countries, the US healthcare system is the most expensive and worst-performing in terms of health access, efficiency, and equity.

The Atlantic

The US spends more on health care as percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (17%), than any other nation.

The World Health Organization

64% of health spending is paid for by the government, funded via programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration.

American Journal of Public Health

Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, despite the fact that they develop breast cancer at the same rates.
American Cancer Society

Noncitizens contribute to the American safety net disproportionately to what they receive. Between 2000 and 2011, undocumented immigrants contributed between $2.2 billion and $3.8 billion more than they withdrew from Medicare Trust Fund each year. This created a total surplus of $35.1 billion over the 11-year span, staving off Medicare insolvency.
Journal of General Internal Medicine

In the U.S., 20% of organs for transplants come from the uninsured, who if they need a transplant often can’t afford it, aren’t insured, or their insurance won’t pay for it.
Health Affairs


The number of uninsured Americans peaked in 2010 just after the Great Recession at about 50 million. By 2016, this had dropped to 27 million. (approximately 9% of the U.S population) with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

US Census Bureau and the Congressional Budget Office

Latinos are most likely to lack health insurance in the US and their insurance rates nationwide have grown fastest since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The proportion of people living below the poverty line who lacked health insurance had fallen from 28% to 17% in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the law, while the rate remained unchanged at 36% in states that did not.

The Commonwealth Fund

20% of people in the US under 65 with health insurance reported problems paying their bills.

53% of those without health insurance said the same.

The New York Times and the Kaiser Foundation

25% of adults without health insurance coverage say that they went without care in the past year because of its cost, compared to 4% of those with health insurance. 55% of uninsured adults do not have a regular place to go when they are sick of need medical advice.
Institute of Medicine

If being uninsured was a cause of death, it would be the 10th most common one in the U.S.
           American Journal of Public Health

The health insurance industry in the U.S. employs approximately 500,000 people.

Life Expectancy

Each year, the U.S. spends $9,451 for health care per person, with a life expectancy of 79 years.

Germany spends $5,267 per person and life expectancy there is 81 years

The United Kingdom spends $4,003 and life expectancy is 81 years.

Canada spends $4,608 and life expectancy there is 82 years

Japan spends $4,150 and life expectancy is 84 years.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the World Bank

In 2013, life expectancy in the US was 78.6 years – 51st in the world and lowest among Western developed nations.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Fact Book

On average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost 4 fewer years than those in the top-ranked country.

National Institutes of Health Committee on Population

There is about a 20 year gap between the U.S. county with the highest life expectancy (Summit, Colorado – 86.8 years) and the U.S. county with the lowest life expectancy (Oglala Lakota/Shannon, South Dakota – 66.81 years) which is about the same as the gap between the US and Haiti. For a list of U.S. counties with the shortest life expectancy rates and their major populations, click here.

Life expectancy for both men and women in the U.S. varies by income. For example, in 2010, the richest people in the country could expect to live to be 90 years old whereas the poorest people could expect to live be 77 years old.
Committee Generated from Health and Retirement Study Data

Medical/Maternity Leave

96% of working single mothers said paid leave to care for themselves or a sick family member would help them the most.

Bread for the World

The United States is the only developed country without paid maternity leave.

Bread for the World

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed in 1993, grants workers the right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. However most low income families cannot afford to take unpaid leave. In addition FMLA does not apply to all workers. In 2012, 44% of private sector workers were not eligible – either because they worked for a company with fewer than 50 employees or they had not worked the required 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.

Bread for the World

In a survey of 7,000 small firms (less than 50 employees) that offer Family and Medical Leave Act (FLMA) voluntarily, 1% said that it affected them negatively. 33% reported a positive effect and the other 66% reported no noticeable effect.

US Department of Labor

In 1971 the US very nearly had a comprehensive federal childcare policy. The Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA) passed with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate but President Nixon vetoed it, saying that it would “Sovietize” the American family.

Bread for the World

The US has the highest number of maternal deaths in the developed world and 60% of these are preventable.

National Public Radio