Source: U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau provides annual estimates of income and poverty statistics for all school districts, counties, and states through the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program. The bureau's main objective with this program is to provide estimates of income and poverty for the administration of federal programs and the allocation of federal funds to local jurisdictions. In addition to these federal programs, state and local programs use the income and poverty estimates for distributing funds and managing programs.
Estimates of poverty by ages and families are not direct counts from enumerations or administrative records, nor direct estimates from sample surveys. Instead, for counties and states, the Census models income and poverty estimates by combining survey data with population estimates and administrative records.
A confidence interval is a range of values, from the lower bound to the respective upper bound, that describes the uncertainty surrounding an estimate. A confidence interval is also itself an estimate. It is made using a model of how sampling, interviewing, measuring, and modeling contribute to uncertainty about the relation between the true value of the quantity we are estimating and our estimate of that value. The "90%" in the confidence interval listed above represents a level of certainty about our estimate. If we were to repeatedly make new estimates using exactly the same procedure (by drawing a new sample, conducting new interviews, calculating new estimates and new confidence intervals), the confidence intervals would contain the average of all the estimates 90% of the time. For more details about the confidence intervals and their interpretation, see this explanation.
U.S. Census Bureau, 90% Confidence Interval Upper Bound of Estimate of Percent of People of All Ages in Poverty for Essex County, MA [PPCIUBAAMA25009A156NCEN], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PPCIUBAAMA25009A156NCEN, February 5, 2023.