Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty

Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations

Constance F. Citro, Michael L. Cohen, Graham Kalton, and Kirsten K. West, Editors

Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas

Committee on National Statistics

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997



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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations Constance F. Citro, Michael L. Cohen, Graham Kalton, and Kirsten K. West, Editors Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas Committee on National Statistics Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., 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 report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. 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 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 Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The project that is the subject of this report is supported by Contract RN96131001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, D.C. 20055. Call 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). This report is also available on-line at http://www.nap.edu. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-68115 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05832-5 Printed in the United States of America. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations PANEL OF ESTIMATES OF POVERTY FOR SMALL GEOGRAPHIC AREAS GRAHAM KALTON (Chair), Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DAVID M. BETSON, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame NANCY 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 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 MICHAEL L. COHEN, Study Director CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Staff Officer KIRSTEN K. WEST, Research Associate MEYER ZITTER, Consultant CANDICE S. EVANS, Senior Project Assistant MARGARET GILL, Senior Project Assistant

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 1996-1997 NORMAN M. BRADBURN (Chair), National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago JULIE DAVANZO, RAND, Santa Monica, California WILLIAM F. EDDY, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University JOHN F. GEWEKE, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota JOEL B. GREENHOUSE, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University ERIC A. HANUSHEK, W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy and Department of Economics, University of Rochester RODERICK J.A. LITTLE, Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan CHARLES F. MANSKI, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison WILLIAM NORDHAUS, Department of Economics, Yale University JANET L. NORWOOD, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C. EDWARD B. PERRIN, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington PAUL R. ROSENBAUM, Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania KEITH F. RUST, Westat, Inc., Rockville, Maryland FRANCISCO J. SAMANIEGO, Division of Statistics, University of California, Davis MIRON L. STRAF, Director KATHLEEN SASLAW, Division Administrator

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations Contents     PREFACE   vi     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   5 2   POVERTY ESTIMATES BASED ON CENSUS AND CPS DATA   8 3   MODEL-BASED ESTIMATES OF POOR SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN   17 4   PANEL ASSESSMENT OF THE METHODOLOGY   25 5   RECOMMENDATION FOR TITLE I ALLOCATIONS   36 6   NEXT STEPS   41     APPENDICES         A THE TITLE I ALLOCATION PROCESS   49     B COMPARISON OF CENSUS AND CPS ESTIMATES OF POVERTY   51     C CENSUS BUREAU'S METHODOLOGY FOR MODEL-BASED ESTIMATES   63     D POPULATION ESTIMATES   69     E FUTURE RESEARCH   72     F SPECIAL CASE: ESTIMATES FOR PUERTO RICO   80     REFERENCES   82     BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, PANEL MEMBERS AND STAFF   84

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations Preface The Committee on National Statistics convened the Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas to conduct a study mandated by the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (The Improving America's School Act of 1994). One purpose of the act is to distribute Title I funds for education programs for disadvantaged children on the basis of estimates of school-age children in poverty (ages 5–17) that are more up to date than estimates from the 1990 census. This interim report is the first from the panel, focusing on 1993 estimates for counties. The panel's future work will include reviewing further updates for county estimates and estimates for school districts. It was originally intended that the panel would start work soon after the passage of the Act and that, after 18 months, the panel would produce an interim report on the Census Bureau's methodology for county estimates. It was envisioned that, following this report, the Census Bureau would release the county estimates, and the panel would issue a brief report to the Secretaries of Commerce and Education on the appropriateness and reliability of these estimates. The Secretaries are required to base their decision on whether to use those estimates for allocating Title I funds for the 1997–1998 and 1998–1999 school years on the panel's assessment. The contract for the study was delayed, however, so the panel could not begin its work until June 1996 and had considerably less time than originally planned. The panel was faced with producing a report on both its evaluation of the methodology and its assessment of the estimates for their intended purpose in less than a year, if the report was to be of assistance to the Secretaries of Commerce and Education in reaching their decision. Since school districts make deci-

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Small-Area Estimates of School-Age Children in Poverty: Interim Report I: Evaluation of 1993 County Estimates for Title I Allocations sions on hiring and retaining teachers in the spring, and they need to know what funds are available, the date for the decision could not be changed. The panel would have liked more time for obtaining more information and preparing this report, but the panel wants to respond to its mandate to help the Department of Education meet the pressing needs of school districts. The panel reviewed the work of Census Bureau staff at three meetings—in June, October, and December 1996. During this time, the Census Bureau was still conducting its work. It provided provisional estimates to the Department of Education and our panel on January 7, 1997. Later that month, the Department of Commerce informed the panel that those preliminary estimates were to serve the purposes of the legislation. We thank the staff of the Department of Education and the Bureau of the Census for their untiring assistance to us, especially under the pressures of time. Many people helped us with evaluations we requested and with careful reviews of technical descriptions in our report. We also thank TerriAnn Lowenthal, of the Rothleder-Lowenthal Group, for providing information on the legislative history of small-area poverty estimates and our study. I thank my colleagues on the panel for their valuable contributions to our deliberations, investigations, and report and for doing so under a very demanding situation. We were fortunate to have been assisted by a very able staff. Above all, we are appreciative of research associate Kirsten K. West, who prepared many drafts of the panel's report. Michael L. Cohen served as interim study director and contributed to the report in many ways. Constance Citro began working with us during the intensive process of report revisions, and we are delighted that she will be the study director for the next phase of the project. Meyer Zitter, who served as a consultant, investigated a number of technical issues for the panel. Eugenia Grohman, associate director for reports of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, edited the report and also assisted in our deliberations. We also benefited from the helpful advice of Miron L. Straf of the Committee on National Statistics. Margaret Gill and Kathleen Saslaw provided administrative support for our study, and Candice Evans assisted in the production of the report. To all we are grateful. Graham Kalton, Chair Panel on Estimates of Poverty for Small Geographic Areas