Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty

Evaluation of Current Methodology

Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas

Constance F. Citro and Graham Kalton, Editors

Committee on National Statistics

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty Evaluation of Current Methodology Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas Constance F. Citro and Graham Kalton, Editors Committee on National Statistics Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. RN96131001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U. S. Department of Education. Support of the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (Number SBR-9709489). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07301-4 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press , 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Suggested citation: National Research Council (2000). Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology. Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas, Constance F. Citro and Graham Kalton, editors. Committee on National Statistics. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology PANEL ON ESTIMATES OF POVERTY FOR SMALL GEOGRAPHIC AREAS GRAHAM KALTON (Chair), Westat, Rockville, Maryland DAVID M. BETSON, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame NANCY E. DUNTON, Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Missouri WAYNE A. FULLER, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University THOMAS B. JABINE, Consultant, Washington, D.C. SYLVIA T. JOHNSON, School of Education, Howard University THOMAS A. LOUIS, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota SALLY C. MORTON, RAND, Santa Monica, California JEFFREY S. PASSEL, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. J.N.K. RAO, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario ALLEN L. SCHIRM, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Washington, D.C. PAUL R. VOSS, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin JAMES H. WYCKOFF, Graduate School of Public Affairs, State University of New York, Albany ALAN M. ZASLAVSKY, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Study Director MICHAEL L. COHEN, Senior Staff Officer MICHELE VER PLOEG, Research Associate MEYER ZITTER, Consultant TELISSIA M. THOMPSON, Senior Project Assistant JAMIE CASEY, Project Assistant

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 1999-2000 JOHN E. ROLPH (Chair), Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California JOSEPH G. ALTONJI, Department of Economics, Northwestern University LAWRENCE D. BROWN, Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania JULIE DAVANZO, RAND, Santa Monica, California WILLIAM F. EDDY, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University HERMANN HABERMANN, Statistics Division, United Nations, New York WILLIAM D. KALSBEEK, Survey Research Unit, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina RODERICK J.A. LITTLE, School of Public Health, University of Michigan THOMAS A. LOUIS, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota CHARLES F. MANSKI, Department of Economics, Northwestern University EDWARD B. PERRIN, Department of Health Services, University of Washington FRANCISCO J. SAMANIEGO, Division of Statistics, University of California, Davis RICHARD L. SCHMALENSEE, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MATTHEW D. SHAPIRO, Department of Economics, University of Michigan ANDREW A. WHITE, Director

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology Contents     PREFACE   ix  1   INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW   1      Title I,   2      Updated Estimates,   4      Plan of the Report,   7  2   TITLE I ALLOCATION PROCEDURES   9      Title I Formulas,   9      Two-Stage Allocations,   11      Direct Allocations to School Districts,   13  3   DATA SOURCES FOR COUNTY ESTIMATES   15      Census Data,   16      CPS Data,   19      Differences Between Census and CPS Data,   24      Administrative Records Data,   27      Timeliness of Estimates,   30  4   ESTIMATION PROCEDURE FOR COUNTIES   31      1995 Estimation Procedure,   33      Differences Between 1995 and 1993 Estimation Procedures,   41      Differences Between Original and Revised 1993 Estimation Procedures,   42

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology  5   ALTERNATIVE COUNTY MODELS   44      Model Characteristics,   45      Models Examined in the First Round of Evaluations,   46      Models Examined in the Second Round of Evaluations,   53  6   EVALUATIONS OF COUNTY ESTIMATES   57      Overview of Evaluations,   58      County Model Internal Evaluation,   60      County Model External Evaluation,   68      State Model Evaluation,   102  7   SCHOOL DISTRICT ESTIMATES   109      Issues in Estimating Poverty for School Districts,   110      Estimation Procedure,   113      Evaluations,   115      School Lunch Data,   124      Assessment,   129  8   POPULATION ESTIMATES   141      Methods for Population Estimates,   142      Evaluation of County Estimates,   146      Evaluation of School District Estimates,   154  9   RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES   157      Schedule Considerations,   158      Short-Term Priorities,   159      Documentation and Evaluation,   167     APPENDICES       A MODELS FOR COUNTY AND STATE POVERTY ESTIMATES171       B REGRESSION DIAGNOSTICS ON ALTERNATIVE COUNTY REGRESSION MODELS   185     C COUNTY MODEL COMPARISONS WITH 1990 CENSUS ESTIMATES   194     D USE OF SCHOOL LUNCH DATA IN NEW YORK STATE FOR THE ESTIMATION OF SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN IN POVERTY: AN ANALYSIS   226     E SPECIAL CASE: ESTIMATES FOR PUERTO RICO   244     REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY   246     BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PANEL MEMBERS AND STAFF   251

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology Preface The Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas was established by the Committee on National Statistics at the National Research Council in response to the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994. That act charged the U.S. Census Bureau to produce updated estimates of poor school-age children every two years for the nation's more than 3,000 counties and 14,000 school districts. The act also charged the panel with determining the appropriateness and reliability of the Bureau's estimates for use in the allocation of more than $7 billion of Title I funds each year for educationally disadvantaged children. Our charge was both a major one and one with immovable deadlines. The panel had to evaluate the Census Bureau's work on a very tight schedule in order to meet legal requirements for allocation of Title I funds. As it turned out, we produced three interim reports: the first one evaluated county-level estimates of poor school-age children in 1993, the second one assessed a revised set of 1993 county estimates; and the third one covered both county- and school district-level estimates of poor school-age children in 1995. This volume combines and updates these three reports into a single reference volume. The reference volume is intended to serve two purposes. First, it provides specific documentation of the Census Bureau's current methods for producing small-area estimates of poor school-age children, the evaluations that have been conducted of them to date, and their advantages and limitations for Title I fund allocations. Second, it offers a case study of the development, evaluation, and application of model-dependent small-area estimates that may be helpful for

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology future work in small-area estimation and the use of small-area estimates for such important public policy purposes as fund allocations. As a case study, it makes clear the complexity of the estimation task and the necessity of comprehensive evaluations of the quality of the estimates. This reference volume is a companion to the panel's final report (National Research Council, 2000). That report outlines an agenda for research and development of the Census Bureau's income and poverty estimates for small areas, including further research and development for the Bureau's current models and the possible uses of new survey and administrative records data sources for improving those models. It also discusses issues about the use of such estimates for public programs. We could not have carried out our work over the past several years without the cooperation and help of many people. The panel notes, first, the many people in the U.S. Departments of Education and Commerce who contributed to the panel's work of reviewing the Census Bureau 's small-area estimates of poor school-age children that are described in this volume. We thank the current and former staff of the Census Bureau who prepared the estimates, many of whom also worked on evaluations of them: David Aultman, William Bell, Patrick Cardiff, John Coder, Robert Fay, Robin Fisher, Matthew Kramer, Esther Miller, Mark Otto, Ronald Prevost, Douglas Sater, Paul Siegel, Cotty Armstrong Smith, Alexander Strand, Jess Thompson, George Train, David Waddington, and Signe Wetrogan. We also thank the Census Bureau staff who facilitated the arrangements for the work: Cynthia Clark, Nancy Gordon, Charles Nelson, and Daniel Weinberg. Daniel Kasprzyk of the National Center for Education Statistics, who served as project officer for the study for the U.S. Department of Education, was most helpful in facilitating the panel's work throughout the project. The panel also appreciates the help of other Department of Education staff–in particular, Sandy Brown, Thomas Corwin, Lonna Jones, Kay Rigling, William Sonnenberg, and Stephanie Stullich–in providing information and educating us about the allocation process for the Title I program. The panel also thanks Rona Briere, freelance editor, and Eugenia Grohman, associate director for reports of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, for helping to combine the text of the panel's three interim reports into a single, seamless volume. The three interim reports that are combined in this volume were reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published volume as sound as possible and to ensure that the volume meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Evaluation of Current Methodology study charge. The review comments and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of one or more of the reports that make up this volume: Johnny Blair, Survey Research Center, University of Maryland; James R. Chromy, Statistics Research Division, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC; Emerson Elliott, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, Alexandria, VA; Eric Hanushek, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Robert Hauser, Center for Demography, University of Wisconsin; Lyle V. Jones, L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina; Roderick J.A. Little, Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan; Lincoln Moses, Department of Biostatistics, Medical Center, Stanford University; William O 'Hare, Annie E. Casey Foundation; John Pratt, Graduate School of Business, Harvard University; Nathaniel Schenker, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Stanley Smith, Bureau of Economics and Business Research, College of Business, University of Florida; Franklin Wilson, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin; and Kirk Wolter, National Opinion Research Center, Chicago, IL. Although the individuals listed above provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this volume rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution. Finally, I thank my fellow panel members and the project staff for all their efforts. The panel members willingly gave their time, commitment, hard work, and good cheer to our endeavor to provide valuable and timely information for allocating funds as fairly as possible for poor school-age children. Constance Citro has performed in a truly outstanding manner as the project's study director, and she has been very ably assisted by Michael Cohen, Michele Ver Ploeg, Meyer Zitter, Telissa Thompson, and Jamie Casey. It has been a pleasure to work with the panel and the project staff over the past four years to carry out our very challenging charge. Graham Kalton, Chair Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas

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