Childhood Lead Risk Factor Metadata: Poverty


Poverty estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s decadal census (2000) or the American Community Survey (2016 - 2020).

Dates Available:

2000 and 2016-2020

Geographic Resolution:

State, County, High-risk Area, and Town


The Maine EPHT Program obtains poverty estimate data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  This dataset contains counts of families, or families with children less than 5 years of age, with a household income below poverty level. The data are stratified by geographic resolution and estimate source (decadal census or American Community Survey).

The dataset contains the following measures:

  1. Percent of families living below poverty
  2. Percent of families with children < 5 years of age living below poverty
  3. Number of families living below poverty
  4. Number of families with children < 5 years of age living below poverty


This data set supports efforts to improve public health in Maine and contributes to the U.S. CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network. A key activity of participants in this network is to track and make available environmental health measures on state and national data portals. Measures derived from the data set described here can be used to compare families with income below poverty across the state, between groups of people, over time, and in relation to risk factors, exposures, and health outcomes.

The Maine Tracking Network, a member of the National EPHT Network, connects communities, public health professionals, policy makers, state agencies, and others to the data they need to monitor public health, respond to health concerns, prioritize resources for public health action, and evaluate prevention activities. Maine tracks certain health effects, exposures, and environmental hazards that have known relationships, as well as some health effects and environmental hazards that have suspected relationships. By making health and environmental data available through the Maine Tracking Network, more people have access to data they need to think critically and hypothesize about health outcomes and their relationships to conditions in the environment.

Supplemental Information:

Elevated blood lead levels in young children have been associated with adverse health effects ranging from learning impairment and behavioral problems to death. Because children may have elevated BLLs and do not have any specific symptoms, CDC recommends a blood lead test for young children at risk for lead poisoning.  Risk factors identified in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) include living in housing built before 1950 and income below poverty level.

A family is defined as two or more people living in the same household who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. Maine poverty data were available through the U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census for 2000. Poverty data for 2016-2020 were available through the American Community Survey (ACS).  ACS is a relatively new survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It uses a series of monthly samples to produce estimates for small areas (census tracts and block groups) that were formerly surveyed via the decennial census.  In order to analyze small area data, five years of data were used to produce census block group information specific to Maine.

Entity and Attribute Overview:

This dataset includes the following fields: census/survey year, the number and percent of families with children less than 5 living in poverty, the number and percent of families living in poverty, the total number of families, and the total number of families with children.

Data Limitations:

  • Caution should be used when comparing decadal census data and the ACS. There are differences between the two: the decadal census data are not derived from sampled survey data, collection methods differ between the ACS and decadal census, and question response structure may differ.

Access Constraints:


More Information:

Suggested Citation for Data Displays:

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maine Tracking Network. Lead Poisoning: Poverty. Available online:  Accessed on [date accessed].