Roughly 886,000 in Louisiana lacked any health insurance last year.
Secretory of Economic Development Stephen Moret said jobs are the solution to the problem.
“Our goal is to grow jobs at a pace that is faster than the U.S. and the South on a regular basis,” Moret said.
He added that Louisiana has “significantly outperformed the South overall,” pointing to new business brought into some of the state’s most poverty-stricken areas.
“That will result in new job opportunities,” Moret said. “Living wage jobs.”
Five states with less poverty had about the same percentage of uninsured. Texas had the nation’s highest percentage at 24.6 percent. Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and South Carolina all had rates between 20.6 and 21.6 percent.
Mississippi was the nation’s poorest state in 2010. The bureau says an estimated 664,000 residents - 22.7 percent - had income below the poverty line. Louisiana was the second-poorest, at 21.6 percent, or 958,000 people.
Nationally, about one in six people live below the official poverty level, or $22,314 a year for a family of four.
Both Louisiana and Mississippi saw significant increases in the number and percentage of uninsured residents from 2009 to 2010, when their annual unemployment rates also rose much faster than the national rate. Louisiana’s 0.9 percent increase was triple the national increase of 0.3 percent, and Mississippi’s rate rose 0.8 percent.
That meant an additional 12,000 people out of work in Mississippi, for a total of 137,000 and an annual unemployment rate of 10.4 percent, and 19,000 more in Louisiana, for a total of 155,000 and a rate of 7.5 percent at a time that the national rate was 9.6 percent.