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Relative or Absolute Standards for Child Poverty: a State-Level Analysis of Infant and Child Mortality

Publication Abstract

Hillemeier, Marianne M., John W. Lynch, S. Harper, Trivellore Raghunathan, and George A. Kaplan. 2003. "Relative or Absolute Standards for Child Poverty: a State-Level Analysis of Infant and Child Mortality." American Journal of Public Health, 93(4): 652-657.

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.

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