as measured by the proportion of children under 15 years of age living in families
at or below the poverty level.
Rationale for use of indicator
Children depend on their parents for
economic support, and if their parents incomes are not sufficient, the children
are both at risk and unlikely to have adequate access to care
poverty is on the one hand an indicator of high risk for health problems, risks
that may vary by age. For the youngest, these risks include inadequate nutrition,
child care and health care as well as exposure to trauma and environmental toxins.
For older children, the risks relate to health, school success, lack of opportunity,
and juvenile crime.
Childhood poverty is on the other hand an indicator of
a low ability to address these risks. Children in these circumstances are more
likely to have untreated health conditions because of a lack of access to care.
When they and their parents seek care for their problems, they often must turn
to the hospital emergency room, which does not provide continuity or preventive
Many children in this group are eligible for the
WIC program, reduced-price school meals, and Medicaid benefits although the coverage
of children is much more limited than it is for older persons.
from 1995 Population Estimates of Poverty, U.S. Census.
Poverty data denominator
from U.S. Census 1995 Population Estimates.
Risk. The indicators. [Web Page]; http://www.childrenatrisk.org/the_indicators.html.
[Accessed 19 Jul 1999].
Institute of Medicine. 1997. Improving health in the
community: A role for performance monitoring. Washington, D.C.:
Press. National Center for Health Statistics. Health status indicators: Definitions
and national data. Healthy People 2000 Statistical Notes 1992;1(3):1-8.