25-Year Look at Child Well-Being Shows Progress Amid Poverty Swings

2018 KIDS COUNT report shows improvements in infant mortality, uninsured rates but little long-term progress on child poverty

Contact: Tara Manthey
Title: Vice President of Advocacy and Communications
Phone: 3036204544
Email: tara@coloradokids.org

25-Year Look at Child Well-Being Shows Progress Amid Poverty Swings

2018 KIDS COUNT report shows improvements in infant mortality, uninsured rates but little long-term progress on child poverty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 20th, 2018

DENVER—Colorado children have seen significant progress in some areas of health, early development and education in the past 25 years, according to a new report from the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Yet, stagnant wages for many Coloradans, along with barriers to employment, have meant stubborn poverty rates for kids.

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.

“Colorado kids are better off in many ways since we started tracking well-being in KIDS COUNT 25 years ago,” said Kelly Causey, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “The huge improvements we’ve seen in health, development and education are a lifeline to Colorado kids and families. At the same time we’ve seen the poverty rate increase due to growing economic inequality here and across the United States. Imagine where kids would be today without research-based policy changes championed by policymakers on both sides of the aisle.”

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.

“After digging into the archives of data reports from the past, our main take-away is that kids do better when the adults put them first at the Colorado State Capitol and in Washington, D.C.,” Causey said. “We can point to specific public policies Colorado legislators passed during the last 25 years that have contributed to some of the major gains we’ve seen in child well-being. As Coloradans prepare to elect a new governor and legislators this year, kids must be a priority this election year, and every year, if we want to look back on another 25 years of progress in the coming decades.”

The complete 2018 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report is available at www.coloradokids.org.

2018 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! is made possible through the support of The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Colorado.

 

###

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child well-being and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org

###

About Colorado Children's Campaign


The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child well-being and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org/.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tara Manthey at 3036204544 or email Tara at tara@coloradokids.org.