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Volume 18, Number 7—July 2012

Dispatch

Changing Socioeconomic Indicators of Human Plague, New Mexico, USA

Anna M. Schotthoefer1Comments to Author , Rebecca J. Eisen, Kiersten J. Kugeler, Paul Ettestad, Pamela J. Reynolds, Ted Brown, Russell E. Enscore, James Cheek, Rudy Bueno, Joseph Targhetta, John A. Montenieri, and Kenneth L. Gage
Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (A.M. Schotthoefer, R.J. Eisen, K.J. Kugeler, R.E. Enscore, J.A. Montenieri, K.L. Gage); New Mexico Department of Health, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (P. Ettestad, P.J. Reynolds [retired]); New Mexico Environment Department, Santa Fe (T. Brown [retired]); Indian Health Services, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA (J. Cheek); Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Houston, Texas, USA (R. Bueno, Jr.); and City of Albuquerque Division of Environmental Health, Albuquerque (J. Targhetta)

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Table 1

Characteristics of census block groups considered in analysis for human plague on the basis of 1980, 1990, and 2000 US Census data, New Mexico, USA*

Variable 1976–1985
1986–1995
1996–2007
Positive, n = 64 Negative, n = 405 Positive, n = 29 Negative, n = 430 Positive, n = 20 Negative, n = 434
Population density/km2 4.34 (11.54) 22.68 (264.48)† 8.31 (34.66) 23.46 (238.31) 13.70 (31.82) 25.96 (267.56)
Housing density/km2 1.46 (4.18) 8.38 (107.56)† 3.33 (12.57) 9.33 (95.91) 5.87 (12.13) 11.30 (107.09)
Poverty rate‡ 0.34 (0.23) 0.22 (0.23)§ 0.32 (0.42) 0.28 (0.23) 0.16 (0.18) 0.24 (0.24)¶
% Housing units
Vacant 12.0 (8.84) 10.8 (7.09) 14.0 (15.54) 14.5 (16.34) 8.4 (10.77) 10.7 (18.46)
Rural farms 2.1 (5.19) 1.3 (6.03)§ 0 (1.18) 0 (0.66) 0 (1.02) 0 (1.24)
Occupied, incomplete plumbing# 8.6 (15.93) 2.5 (6.22)† 7.5 (30.57) 2.3 (9.21)§ 1.5 (5.77) 1.1 (4.47)
Occupied mobile homes 16.2 (5.89) 15.5 (17.88) 17.4 (23.31) 23.7 (20.25) 17.1 (13.19) 18.4 (24.21)
Built before 1940 16.0 (14.98) 11.4 (16.92)§ 6.7 (16.81) 5.0 (15.67) 3.7 (10.38) 3.8 (11.72)
>40 y old 16.0 (14.98) 11.4 (16.92)§ 14.3 (20.38) 11.1 (22.71) 8.3 (22.42) 15.8 (25.83)
<5 y old 20.6 (11.06) 21.7 (19.65) 17.1 (21.42) 13.6 (13.97) 21.5 (15.43) 14.5 (14.86)§
Heated with wood fuel 18.5 (20.80) 6.8 (16.73)† 31.56 (34.65) 13.0 (31.99)† 16.9 (21.79) 6.8 (20.91)¶
Occupied by >6 persons 9.5 (6.28) 7.1 (4.89)§ 5.4 (11.97) 5.0 (6.90) 3.3 (4.48) 3.5 (5.94)
Household income** $28,477 ($11,544) $30,190 ($16,367)¶ $29,644 ($30,784) $28,822 ($16,775) $44,098 ($30,563) $31,323 ($18,541)§
Value of homes** $85,280 ($67,672) $95,791 ($78,706) $83,614 ($104,492) $80,237 ($75,854) $132,350 ($90,050) $84,300 ($90,400)¶
Year housing unit built NA NA 1972 (9) 1974 (11) 1987 (13) 1979 (11)§
% Census block group area
Ecotone habitat†† 2.8 (11.36) 0 (3.34)† 5.5 (13.44) 0 (4.33)† 10.7 (23.28) 0 (4.63)†
Water 0.60 (0.45) 0.56 (0.83) 0.60 (0.31) 0.56 (0.71) 0.43 (0.33) 0.58 (0.67)

*Values are medians (interquartile ranges) for plague-positive and negative census block groups in the respective time frames. Boldface indicates variables significantly different between positive and negative groups. NA, not available.
†p≤0.001, by Wilcoxon rank sum test.
‡Defined by the US Census Bureau as the proportion of the population living near or below the federal poverty line, which is based on household income adjusted for number of household members. The definition of the federal poverty line changed between the 1980 and 1990 censuses. Therefore, rates are not directly comparable across decennials.
§p≤0.01, by Wilcoxon rank sum test.
¶p≤0.05 by Wilcoxon rank sum test.
#Defined by the US Census Bureau as lacking >1 of the following: hot and cold piped water, a flush toilet, and a bathtub or shower. Values are not directly comparable among censuses. In 1980, a housing unit was considered to have complete plumbing only if plumbing fixtures were for exclusive for the residents of that unit. In 1990, the requirement of exclusive use was dropped.
**In US year 2000–adjusted dollars, rounded to the nearest dollar.
††Identified as the convergence of the Rocky Mountain/Great Basin open and closed coniferous woodland habitats by Eisen et al. (6).

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1Current affiliation: Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA.

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