Population Indicators


Low Birth Weight Infants

What is low birth weight?

Babies who weigh less than about five and a half pounds (2500 grams) at birth are considered low birth weight. Many factors, including poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, stress and smoking by the mother, can increase the risk of having a low birth-weight baby.

 

Why is this indicator included in MDCAT?

  • Living in a neighborhood where there is violence or poverty, or where health care and healthy food are not available, can increase the chance of low birth weight.
  • Mothers who are exposed to pollution from traffic, industry or agriculture are more likely to bear low weight babies.
  • Low birth weight babies may develop asthma or other chronic diseases later in life, and they are more likely to die as infants than babies who weigh more.

 

How do we measure low birth weight in MDCAT?

  • The SAVI tool collects and aggregates information on where low birth weight infants are born in Indianapolis.
  • The indicator is the percentage of low weight births, averaged over a three-year period.

 

Where can I find more information about low birth weight?


Linguistic Isolation

WHAT IS LINGUISTIC ISOLATION?

Linguistic isolation is a term used by the U.S. Census Bureau for households in which no adults speak English well.

 

WHY IS THIS INDICATOR INCLUDED IN MDCAT?

  • Adults who are not able to speak English well often have trouble talking to the people who provide social services and medical care. As a result, they might not get the health care and information they need.
  • Linguistically isolated households may not hear or understand important information when there is an emergency like an accidental chemical release or spill.

 

HOW IS LINGUISTIC ISOLATION MEASURED IN MDCAT?

 

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LINGUISTIC ISOLATION?


Educational Attainment

What is educational attainment?

Educational attainment is the highest level of education a person has completed. People with more education usually earn more than people with less education.

 

Why is this indicator included in MDCAT?

  • People with more education are more likely to have better health and live longer.
  • Studies have found that communities of more educated people are less polluted.
  • Adults with less education have more pollution-related health problems. They are more likely to die from the effects of air pollution.

 

What measure is used in MDCAT to evaluate educational attainment?

 

Where can I find more information about educational attainment?


Age: Children and Elderly

Why is this indicator included in MDCAT?

Children and the elderly can be more sensitive to the effects of pollution than other people. Both children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution on health.

  • Because children weigh less, have more skin surface in relation to their weight, and breathe faster than adults, they can be exposed to more chemicals from their food and environment.
  • Babies and young children put their hands in their mouths and spend more time outdoors than older children and adults. This could expose them to more pollutants.
  • Elderly adults often have health conditions such as heart disease that make them vulnerable to harmful effects of pollution.
  • Older adults have slower metabolisms than younger people and are less able to break down and eliminate chemicals that enter their bodies.

 

How do we measure the numbers of children and elderly in MDCAT?

 

Where can I find more information on the vulnerability of children and the elderly?


Unemployment

What is unemployment?

The U.S. Census Bureau counts people who are over 16 years old, out of work and able to work as unemployed. It does not include students, active duty military, retired people or people who have stopped looking for work.

 

Why is this indicator included in MDCAT?

  • People who are unemployed may have no health insurance or medical care.
  • Poor health can make it hard for someone to find work or to remain in a job.
  • Stress from long-term unemployment can lead to chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, and can shorten a person’s life.

 

HOW DO WE MEASURE UNEMPLOYMENT IN MDCAT?

 

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT AND HEALTH?

 


Poverty

WHAT IS POVERTY?

The U.S. Census Bureau determines the Federal Poverty Level(link is external) each year. The poverty level is based on the size of the household and the ages of family members. If a person or family’s total income before taxes is less than the poverty level, the person or family are considered in poverty.

 

WHY IS THIS INDICATOR INCLUDED IN MDCAT?

  • Members of poor communities are more likely to be exposed to pollution and to suffer from health effects as a result of that exposure than residents of richer communities.
  • Income can affect health when people cannot afford healthy living and working conditions, nutritious food and necessary medical care.
  • Poor communities are often located in areas with high levels of pollution.
  • Poverty can cause stress that weakens the immune system and causes people to become ill from pollution.

 

HOW DO WE MEASURE POVERTY IN MDCAT?