DefinitionThe estimated number and percentage of children under age 5 living in households with income below the federal poverty level.
NumeratorEstimated number of children, age 4 and under, living in households with income below 100% of the federal poverty level as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
DenominatorThe number of children, age 4 and under, in the population.
Data Interpretation IssuesThis measure identifies communities where children may be at greater risk of exposure to lead. Limitations of this measure include the fact that children may be exposed to lead in a county other than their county of residence, while visiting family or attending day care in a neighboring county.
95% confidence intervals for NM counties were estimated as the 90% confidence interval for the age 5 through 17 poverty estimate as a percentage of the age 5 through 17 point estimate, applied to the point estimate for the age 0 through 4 age group.
Why Is This Important?The risk factors for childhood lead poisoning include living in housing built before 1950, being African American, and living in a family with a poverty-level income. Studies have documented low blood-lead testing rates among children living in households with these risk factors. This measure identifies counties with higher percentages of children who may be at increased risk for lead poisoning. When compared with lead-testing rates by county, populations with inadequate lead testing of young at-risk children may be identified in order to improve testing in these regions.