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[Received February 2002. Revised April 2003]

Proportions below a given fraction of a quantile of an income distribution are often estimated from survey data in comparisons of poverty. We consider the estimation of the variance of such a proportion, estimated from Family Expenditure Survey data. We show how a linearization method of variance estimation may be applied to this proportion, allowing for the effects of both a complex sampling design and weighting by a raking method to population controls. We show that, for data for 1998–1999, the estimated variances are always increased when allowance is made for the design and raking weights, the principal effect arising from the design. We also study the properties of a simplified variance estimator and discuss extensions to a wider class of poverty measures.