New census estimates shine light on the road to recovery, county by county

Written by: Erica Manoatl
Date Posted: August 28, 2020

Coloradans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have not been impacted equally. Previous health status, employment and income are just a few factors among many that can determine a person’s risk for becoming very sick or losing their financial security. New estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau tell us where our hardest hit neighbors live, and which of our state’s communities will require the greatest investments on the road to recovery after the pandemic.

Community Resilience Estimates (CREs) quantify the ability of states and counties to bounce back from the disruptions of COVID-19 based on available local resources and the health and financial status of community members. We know that Coloradans who experience certain health and income risk factors are more severely impacted by the pandemic; in turn, Colorado counties with the largest shares of those most impacted will take longer to recover. Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the CRE data product examines the presence of the following risk factors among people in Colorado counties:

  • Lack of health insurance
  • Respiratory disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Advanced age (65 and older)
  • Employment status
  • Disability status
  • Households earning low incomes
  • Households with single caregivers
  • Households with a communication barrier
  • Households with physical crowding

Four counties in the southern portion of the state—Otero, Huerfano, Costilla and Hinsdale—have the highest shares of residents with 3 or more of the examined risk factors, indicating these communities have been the most impacted. Our neighbors in these counties are likely to need the most support in the years ahead.

Tools like these remind us that accurate census data are essential for serving kids and families: understanding the inequitable impacts of COVID-19 must guide our work moving forward, so that public investments are directed toward communities facing the greatest barriers. Explore the Census Bureau’s interactive dashboard and learn about community resilience where you live. And if you haven’t already, complete the 2020 Census online or by phone, and encourage your networks to do the same.

Erica Manoatl

About Erica Manoatl

Erica Manoatl is the Research Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she supports the organization’s research priorities, data analysis, and writing in all issue areas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from George Washington University and a Master of Public Health in Population and Family Health from Columbia University.