Health inequities in childhood lead exposure
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Poverty compared to the state as a whole
There are many social and economic inequities that contribute to health, like income and housing. How do health outcomes like childhood lead exposure differ based on the poverty level of the person's area (county or neighborhood), and how do these differences compare to the state as a whole?
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we compared the poverty level in each census tract to the poverty level in Minnesota to determine if a neighborhood had significantly different poverty than the state as a whole. We categorized each tract as lower than Minnesota, the same as Minnesota, or higher than Minnesota. Learn more about the health equity data.
Childhood lead exposure is related to poverty
Lead testing is not universal in Minnesota. Children with risk factors for lead exposure (i.e., living in a home built before 1950) are targeted for testing. Learn more about childhood lead screening guidelines (PDF) in Minnesota.
Elevated blood lead levels among children tested, by neighborhood poverty level
In the state as a whole, 0.9% of children tested for blood lead had an elevated level before the age of 6 for this time period (2014-2018).
Kids living in neighborhoods with higher childhood poverty are more than two times as likely to have lead poisoning compared to kids living in neighborhoods with average poverty (same as the Minnesota poverty level as a whole).
When compared to kids in neighborhoods with lower-than-average poverty, those with higher-than-average poverty were three and a half times as likely to have elevated blood lead levels.
For comparison, 14.8% of children under 5 years lived in poverty in Minnesota for this time period (2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates). The 90% confidence interval for the Minnesota average was 14.3 – 15.3%.
Poverty & race
Children of color and American Indian children are more likely to be living in poverty than white children. According to MDH’s 2017 Minnesota statewide health assessment, Minnesota children of color or children that identify as American Indian are 3 to 5 times more likely to be living in poverty than white children.
Children living in poverty in Minnesota, by race and ethnicity
- Learn more about poverty and housing age as risk factors for childhood lead exposure.
- To view lead data for your neighborhood and see how it compares to Minnesota’s statewide average, see our childhood lead exposure tract-level map.
- To view poverty data for your neighborhood, see our map of poverty in Minnesota neighborhoods.
- Health inequities in childhood asthma
- Minnesota traffic exposure, by poverty rate
- Annual elevated blood lead levels