25th Anniversary KIDS COUNT report shows progress amid swings in child poverty
This week we gathered with supporters and policymakers to release the 2018 KIDS COUNT in Colorado!—our 25th anniversary edition. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne offered remarks at the release event on Colorado’s progress in improving child well-being in the past 25 years—and the work that lies ahead.
The report shows that while Colorado children have seen significant progress in some areas of health, early development and education, several challenges kids face today mirror those from 25 years ago. The full report—along with data on child well-being for every county in the state—is available on the Children’s Campaign’s website at www.coloradokids.org.
Colorado’s most recent measure of child poverty shows that 13 percent of Colorado children are living in poverty as of 2016. While that is a significant drop from the peak of 18 percent during the Great Recession, it’s still only slightly lower than the 15 percent rate from 1989 reported in the first edition of KIDS COUNT in Colorado!
During a time period that included one of the nation’s worst economic downturns, Colorado did see progress for kids in some areas: Colorado’s infant mortality rate in 2016 was nearly half of what it was 25 years earlier. The state’s teen birth rate plummeted by nearly 70 percent, and the uninsured rate for kids reached a record low in 2016. The number of spaces in early learning programs like the Colorado Preschool Program climbed steadily, and the share of Colorado kindergartners enrolled in a full-day program increased five-fold.
The report also noted several areas of concern. In 2015, the teen suicide rate—consistently one of the highest in the nation—reached a rate not seen in the previous 25 years. Although infant mortality rates have declined overall, they remain unacceptably high for black babies—in part due to the stress and discrimination their mothers face. Colorado’s school funding system hasn’t been updated in nearly a quarter of a century. The reading scores of Colorado fourth graders have been stagnant for nearly a decade, with only about two in five of them reading proficiently in this critical year of learning.
Read more about these trends, and data on child well-being for every Colorado county, at www.coloradokids.org.
And if you joined us and are wondering who won the “Who Wore it Best” ‘90s fashion contest: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo, Angelique Smith and Sarah Barnes. They were so rad!