Note: PRECEDE is only compatible on desktop. Have feedback? Interested in collaborating?

Public Repository to Engage Community and Enhance Design Equity

Unemployed Population


The unemployed population is the number of people in the total labor force who do not have a job but are actively seeking employment and willing to work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force, and is restricted to people 16 years or older, who currently live in one of the 50 states or District of Columbia, who do not reside in institutions, and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

Context/Impact on Health

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September 2023 report, the current unemployment rate in the country is 3.8% and the number of unemployed individuals is 6.4 million. The number of long-term unemployed persons, those jobless for at least 27 weeks, is 1.2 million. Unemployment, job insecurity, and workplace closures all have implications for individuals’ physical and mental health. Unemployed individuals report feelings of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and worry. Furthermore, they tend to suffer from more stress-related diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease. Health insurance is greatly tied to employment as well. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 report on health insurance coverage in the U.S., employment-based health insurance was the most common, covering 54.5 percent of the population. Those experiencing unemployment may face barriers to accessing affordable medical care and protection from unexpected health care costs.

Data Collection Methodology

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey that collects information on the demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics of the US population. The ACS is an ongoing survey sent to 3.5 million addresses each year. The ACS collects many economic characteristics of households, including an estimate of total unemployment for the population 16 years and older.


Click here for References
  1. Unemployed Population Data Source: US Census Bureau. ACS: Unemployment Population. Data year 2019. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Dooley D, Fielding J, Levi L. Health and unemployment. Annu Rev Public Health. 1996;17:449-465. doi:10.1146/annurev.pu.17.050196.002313
  3. Friedland DS, Price RH. Underemployment: consequences for the health and well-being of workers. Am J Community Psychol. 2003;32(1-2):33-45. doi:10.1023/a:1025638705649
  4. Keisler-Starkey K, Bunch L, Lindstrom R. Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2022. Published September 12, 2023. Accessed October 17, 2023.
  5. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (OASH). Healthy People 2030: Social Determinants of Health Literature Summaries: Employment. US Department of Health and Human (USHHS). Accessed October 12, 2023.
  6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. ACS: Questions and Answers: Local Area Unemplyment Statistics. Updated October 24, 2023. Accessed Novemeber 28, 2023.