Colorado Child Poverty Rate Declines for Second Year

Statewide child poverty rate falls to 15.4 percent; Numbers of uninsured children also drop

Contact: Tara Manthey
Title: Communications Director
Phone: (720) 256-1312
Email: tara@coloradokids.org

Colorado Child Poverty Rate Declines for Second Year

Statewide child poverty rate falls to 15.4 percent; Numbers of uninsured children also drop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 18th, 2015

Denver, CO – The child poverty rate in Colorado declined to 15.4 percent in 2014, the first time the state has seen a back-to-back decline since the annual measure began in 2000. The rate declined from 16.9 percent in 2013, making Colorado one of 10 states with statistically significant declines in child poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Colorado saw the sixth-largest percentage decline in the U.S., with approximately 17,000 fewer children living in poverty in 2014. Even with the decline in 2014, however, 190,000 Colorado children remained in poverty, up from 104,000 in 2000. And the number of children in extreme poverty – less than $12,000 in income for a family of four – increased slightly between 2013 and 2014. Poverty is defined as annual income below $23,850 for a family of four.

“After the significant increases in the child poverty rate for much of the 2000s, we’re pleased to see the number of kids living in poverty decline for the second year in a row,” said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “However, it is critical that we commit to ensuring economic security for every Colorado child—no matter their background or location. Our child poverty rate is still much higher than 15 years ago. And despite recent gains, we still see areas of the state that have yet to feel the effects of the economic recovery.”

The Census Bureau also released its first estimates on health insurance coverage since the federal Affordable Care Act was fully implemented. Just 5.6 percent of Colorado children were uninsured in 2014, down from 8.2 percent in 2013, a statistically significant decline. More than 32,000 Colorado children gained health coverage between 2013 and 2014.

“This news aligns with the trends we are seeing from other sources, such as the Colorado Health Access Survey’s news that just 2.5 percent of kids in Colorado lacked health insurance this year,” Watney said. “Because of the leadership of our elected officials, kids in Colorado are among the biggest winners in health reform. Expanding Medicaid access for whole families and establishing our own, state-based Colorado Marketplace for coverage are among the reasons that Colorado experienced the nation’s second-largest percentage point decline in the rate of kids without insurance.”

Children of color and middle-income children saw the greatest improvement in health coverage:

  • The uninsured rate for American Indian/Alaskan Native children dropped from 13.1 percent in 2013 to 3.0 percent in 2014.
  • The uninsured rate for black/African American children dropped from 7.6 percent in 2013 to 1.9 percent in 2014.
  • While Hispanic/Latino children showed improvement in the uninsured rate— from 13.1 percent in 2013 to 9.6 percent in 2014—they are still more than twice as likely to be uninsured as children in other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Kids in families with incomes between 250 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is roughly the group now eligible for subsidies in the insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, posted the greatest gains of any socioeconomic group. Their uninsured rate dropped from 8.5 percent in 2013 to 4.8 percent in 2014.

“It is great news that some of our most vulnerable children are experiencing improvements in health coverage, but we know there is much more work to be done to ensure that all kids have access to quality physical, behavioral and oral health care, and an equal opportunity to lead healthy lives,” Watney said.

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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 wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tara Manthey at (720) 256-1312 or email Tara at tara@coloradokids.org.