Approximately 14,800 West Virginia children receive a blood lead level test each year. In 2019, the Centers for Medicare-Medicaid Services report (CMS-416), reported of the 68,695 Medicaid eligible children <72 months old, 13,977 (20.3%) received a blood lead screening test. More children were tested at 12 and 24 months, but of the 24,153 of these Medicaid eligible children, only 42.7% were tested, leaving 57.3% that were not tested.
Homeownership in West Virginia between 2015-2019 was 73.4% while the national average is 64.1 % as of January 2020. Many West Virginians pass the family homestead down through generations to their children or grandchildren. Per the U.S. Census, of all West Virginia occupied units, 59.3% were built before 1980. Of the homes built before 1980, 73.4% are owner occupied and 26.6% are renter occupied.
Population estimates for 2019 from the United States Census Bureau (census.gov/quickfacts/WV) reported that 93.5% of West Virginia residents are Caucasian, 3.6% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.8% Asian, 1.89% Other. 1.7% of West Virginians are of Hispanic and Latino ethnic origin.
Per the 2019 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimate (SAIPE) of the 347,481 West Virginia children under the age of 18, 69,844 (20.1 %) live in poverty compared to the United States average of 18%. Twenty-five percent of the 91,589 West Virginia children, under the age of five, live in poverty. Seventeen percent of all West Virginians live in poverty. Approximately 54% of West Virginia births were paid for by Medicaid. While both Caucasians and African Americans have poverty rates above the national average, disparities exist across all age groups. Overall, 29.6% of African Americans are in poverty compared to 17.05% of Caucasians. African American adults also experience significantly higher poverty levels, including one in four working-age adults and one in five seniors.
The WV Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program's (WVCLPPP) purpose is to attain outcomes that improve children's health. Outcomes will be achieved through increased testing of blood lead levels of children under 6 years of age by 3% each year of the reporting period; improved surveillance with demographic information received by doctors and laboratories with no more than a 5% error rate; increasing the percentage of laboratory results received electronically. Decreased errors allow for greater identification of geographic areas and populations at high-risk for lead exposure hazards. The WVCLPPP will continue to engage the high-risk target geographic areas and populations through education and outreach at community health fairs, baby showers and outdoor events. The WVCLPPP will improve the knowledge of public health professionals, partners, and other stakeholders about the implications of lead poisoning, primary prevention and secondary prevention through training programs and work toward policy-based interventions. Currently, the WVCLPPP partners with other programs to identify children exposed to lead and refer them to appropriate services. The WVCLPPP will continue to strengthen these partnerships to determine additional strategies targeted to meet program outcomes.