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Posted on October 12th, 2012, by

There are numerous social indicators that are used for measuring the state in different areas of life; however, there are social factors that are linked with causal relations, or with probabilistic relations. The aim of this paper is to analyze the situation in Rhode Island concerning different communities (and different kinds of communities), income level at these communities and a set of social indicators which are related to children. It has been proven by many researchers that income and other important social conditions are related (Chall 2003); for example, level of living, poverty level, health, education, crime level etc. In fact, many socioeconomic indicators depend on the “class” of the community, which is, in its turn, usually defined by income level and sometimes by geographic position, political issues and other related factors (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development 2002).

The aim of this essay is to select statistics concerning several communities in Rhode Island, and analyze the connections between income and other factors, chosen to represent social position in the regions concerning children’s issues. Such factors as family income, growth of child population, infant mortality, alcohol/drug abuse, domestic violence and high school graduation indicators are considered in the paper. Initial suggestions are the following: infant mortality and alcohol/cigarettes/drug abuse are in inverse proportion with income level, high school graduation is directly proportional to income level, growth of child population is expected to be high for low incomes (due to the lack of protectors and planning) and for high income groups (due to good conditions for giving birth to children). Domestic violence rates may also happen to be high for low-income groups and for high-income groups.

Methodology

Statistical data for the research were taken from 2009 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook. Since the objective of the essay is to study the connection between income and other social factors, the statistics concerning median family income. Median family income is the dollar amount which divides Rhode Island families’ income distribution into two equal groups ”“ half with incomes above the median and half with incomes below the median. The data used for choosing separate communities from the sample was 1999 household income level (for all families). Also, for validity check, the data concerning rental value were also considered. The selected communities belong to one of the groups: low-income, medium-income, high-income, basing on cost of renting and median income level. I have selected Central Falls and Providence as representatives of the lowest income group, Woonsocket, Tiverton and Smithfield as representatives of the middle-income group (with Woonsocket being in the lowest part of this group and Smithfield being in the highest part of medium-income group), and, finally, Scituate and East Greenwich as the communities with highest median income.

Among all the factors listed in the factbook, the main 5 factors were chosen from the areas: dynamics of child births, infant mortality rate, alcohol/drug/cigarette use, children witnessing domestic violence and high school graduation rate. The chosen factors were the following: the percentage change between 1990 and 2000 in the total number of children under age 18, the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births (percent of deaths was considered), percent of alcohol, drug and cigarette abuse (in middle and high school for each type), the percentage of reported domestic violence incidents resulting in an arrest, in which children under age 18 were present in the home, and the percent of students who have taken SAT in the community.

The choice of factors was the following: among each sphere of social statistics (family and community, economic situation, health, safety and education) one of the factors most influencing the whole level of living and the future of children was chosen. Also, the relative indicators (expressed in percents) were chosen for analysis, because the size and amount of people living in communities may differ, and it is reasonable to establish causal relationships between comparable values. Analysis was made using MS Excel and the function which estimates correlation between the sets of data.

Findings

Selected communities and 1999 median household income are represented by Table 1 (2009 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook).

Community

1999 median household income

Central Falls

$22 628

Providence

$26 867

Woonsocket

$30 819

Tiverton

$49 977

Smithfield

$55 621

Scituate

$60 788

East Greenwich

$70 062

Rhode Island

$42 090

Table 1. 1999 median household income

The first studied factor is the change of percentage of children between 1990 and 2000 in the total number of children under age 18. Corresponding data and correlation rate are presented in Table 2.

Community

1999 median household income

Change of percentage of children

Correlation

Central Falls

$22 628

15,00%

-0,015

Providence

$26 867

19,00%

Woonsocket

$30 819

5,00%

Tiverton

$49 977

6,00%

Smithfield

$55 621

3,00%

Scituate

$60 788

9,00%

East Greenwich

$70 062

22,00%

Rhode Island

$42 090

10,00%

Table 2. Change of percentage of children between 1990 and 2000 in the total number of children under age 18

As it has been expected before, high raise of births is witnessed in high-income and low-income areas, and the difference is quite significant: middle-class group is from 2 to 4 times less likely to increase birth rates than other groups of communities. There is almost no correlation which means there is no linear relation between the factors. Most statistics for Rhode Island in general is formed by the medium group (10% of growth rate compared to 15-22% for extreme communities).

The second factor is the infant mortality rate ”“ percent by 1000 births. Infant mortality rate is an important measure of the well-being of infants, children, and pregnant women. The relation between income and infant mortality rate and corresponding data are presented in Table 3.

Community

1999 median household income

Infant mortality percent by 1000 births

Correlation

Central Falls

$22 628

8,40

-0,440

Providence

$26 867

8,90

Woonsocket

$30 819

6,40

Tiverton

$49 977

3,00

Smithfield

$55 621

4,00

Scituate

$60 788

NA
East Greenwich

$70 062

7,70

Rhode Island

$42 090

NA

Table 3. Infant mortality percent by 1000 births

Infant mortality rate is, as it was expected, higher for low-income communities. However, surprisingly for high-income communities (East Greenwich) the percent of infant mortality has proven to be high as well. Nevertheless, there is medium correlation between mortality rate and income, showing the inverse proportion ”“ though this proportion is not so accurate as it has been expected.

Table 4 contains statistics concerning alcohol, drug and cigarettes abuse in middle and high school.

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