Relative or absolute standards for child poverty: a state-level analysis of infant and child mortality

Am J Public Health. 2003 Apr;93(4):652-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.4.652.


Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to compare the associations of state-referenced and federal poverty measures with states' infant and child mortality rates.

Methods: Compressed mortality and Current Population Survey data were used to examine relationships between mortality and (1) state-referenced poverty (percentage of children below half the state median income) and (2) percentage of children below the federal poverty line.

Results: State-referenced poverty was not associated with mortality among infants or children, whereas poverty as defined by national standards was strongly related to mortality.

Conclusions: Infant and child mortality is more closely tied to families' capacity for meeting basic needs than to relative position within a state's economic hierarchy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Federal Government
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Poverty / classification*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reference Standards
  • Risk Factors
  • State Government
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / classification*
  • Vulnerable Populations / statistics & numerical data*