Family poverty measure on Block Group level?

Hi folks,

I'm a bit of a newbie when in comes to ACS so apologies in advance if it all sounds a bit simple.

I'd like to replicate findings of a paper that used an indicator from the survey but so far i failed to track it down.

Authors of paper claim they used: 

Our measure of neighborhood poverty rate, based on the American Community Survey (ACS) (2006 – 2010) rolling averages, is the percentage of families below the poverty line

This data were presumably linked to study participants on the neighbourhood level - participants data are using block group level to define that. 

I tried searching for variables that would match it and got lost in the huge output of ACS for 2010

Through various other attempts I found 

S1702_C02_001E - All families!!Percent below poverty level!!Estimate!!Families


but am unable to find them on block group levels. I tried searching via tidycensus R package, via API calls and even manually through

It seems like these data are not available on this level. Am I correct assuming that? Is it confirmed by this documetn

  • As I understand, the Census API and don't serve any block group data from ACS summary files prior to 2013 (or so). But all releases of 5-year summary files have included block group data, and there are tables at that level for families by poverty status.

    Through the IPUMS NHGIS data finder, I can find the relevant 2006-2010 ACS tables by selecting data filters for [Geographic Levels = Block Group], [Years = 2006-2010] and [Topics = Families AND Poverty (Income Relative to Poverty Level)].

    NHGIS also has the advantage of supplying block group data in nationwide or state-level files (rather than only one county at a time). There's an NHGIS API, too.

  • Thank you very much @Jonathan - I haven't seen that earlier. Fantastic resource!

Reply Children
  • Just wanted to share I recently read about a new study related to poverty that I thought was pretty interesting.  It's referred to as the "Alice Study"  Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed is what it stands for.  It's basically capturing the hidden poverty stricken individuals/ families that are caught in the trap between meeting the federal guidelines for designated poverty levels and the lower middle income individuals/ families.  

    It may not be useful for your current research, but thought I would share just in case.  You can find more about it here.