Colorado Child Poverty Rate Declines for Second Year

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’s American Community Survey.



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 new data also show that the child poverty declined for children of nearly all races and ethnicities, but inequities persist. Black children in Colorado were nearly four times more likely to live in poverty than their non-Hispanic white peers, while Hispanic children were three times more likely to live in poverty.




Fast Fact – Jan. 16, 2015

In 2013, 17 percent of children under 18 in Colorado were living in poverty, defined as an annual income no more than $23,550 for a family of four. Between 2012 and 2013, the percent of children living in poverty in Colorado declined for the first time since 2008. However, the number of Colorado children in poverty remains almost twice as high as it was in the year 2000. In 2013, Saguache County had the highest percent of children in poverty with 43 percent and Douglas County had the lowest with 4 percent. To find data on child poverty in your county, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

New County-Level Child Poverty Estimates Released

Data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau show that child poverty rates declined in many counties across the state in 2013, mirroring the statewide decline in child poverty reported earlier this year.  In 2013, Colorado saw its first decline in child poverty since the Great Recession, child poverty rates KF 12.19.14although the child poverty rate remains significantly higher than in 2000. Poverty is defined as an annual income of no more than $23,550 for a family of four.

The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) released this week include 2013 poverty rates for each of Colorado’s 64 counties. Among the findings this year include significant declines in the child poverty rates in Adams and El Paso counties. However, while on average child poverty in Colorado has declined, there are still many areas throughout our state that have not seen relief. In the San Luis Valley and portions of the Eastern Plains, for example, almost one in every three children lived in poverty in 2013.percent children in poverty by county KF 12.19.14

Click here to download new county-level child poverty estimates for all counties or read more on the new data from Colorado Public Radio.


CPR Explores Child Poverty in Colorado

Colorado Public Radio aired a story this week that illustrates poverty from a child’s perspective. The article highlights the fears, stresses, hopes and dreams of three Colorado kids living in poverty. The children interviewed speak openly about their experiences and how living in poverty has affected their lives. At the time of the interview, they are all living at The Crossing, a program of the Denver Rescue Mission that provides shelter, mentoring and career and life skills training with the goal of helping families achieve a life of self-sufficiency.

This story is part of ongoing exploration of child poverty in Colorado, with a focus on why Colorado has such a high child poverty rate, child poverty’s impact on the greater community, and possible solutions.  If you are a teacher, policy maker, volunteer, advocate or otherwise invested in children, CPR invites you to share your experience of how child poverty affects you and your community. Share your insights and ideas about what can be done about child poverty in Colorado, through CPR’s Public Insight Network.


Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure Finds Public Programs Kept Millions of U.S. Children Out of Poverty in 2013

Public benefits kept more than 8 million American children out of poverty in 2013, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report uses an experimental poverty measure called the Supplemental Poverty Measure, or SPM, rather than the official poverty measure. The latter has been criticized for failing to consider the impact of certain expenses and benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, school lunches, and more, that affect families’ economic security. The official measure defined poverty in 2013 as an annual income at or below $23,550 for a family of four.

Although the poverty rate for all ages was higher in 2013 when using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the poverty rate for children is lower when using the SPM, primarily because it considers the impact of public benefits. When public benefits and common family expenses are considered, data show 16 percent of U.S. kids lived in poverty in 2013, compared to 20 percent using the official measure, which does not account for non-cash benefits or expenses such as medical out-of-pocket costs or child care. According to the SPM, the school lunch program kept 1.4 million Americans out of poverty in 2013, while refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) kept nearly 9 million Americans out of poverty. SNAP (also known as food stamps) lifted almost 5 million Americans out of poverty. The new data show that public programs like these are critical to millions of families across the country as they work to get back on their feet after the economic downturn.

For more detailed information on the impact of public programs on American families and children, check out this helpful infographic from the Census Bureau. Click here for the full report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Colorado’s Child Poverty Rate Declines for the First Time Since 2008; Small Decline in Uninsured Children

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual release of American Community Survey data on Thursday held some positive news for Colorado kids and child advocates. Colorado’s child poverty rate fell to 16.9 percent in 2013 from 18.5 percent in 2012. Colorado saw the sixth-largest percentage decline in child poverty among all states, with approximately 17,000 fewer children living in poverty in 2013.

The national child poverty rate also fell, dropping one percentage point to 22 percent in 2013. For a family of four, poverty was defined as an annual income below $23,550 in 2013.

Even with the decline, however, more than 200,000 Colorado children remain in poverty, which is nearly twice as many as in 2000. And while poverty rates also declined among Hispanic and black children in Colorado, children of color remain significantly more likely to live in poverty than their non-Hispanic white peers. In 2013, 29 percent of Hispanic children and 33 percent of black children in Colorado lived in poverty, compared to 9 percent of non-Hispanic white children.

“As our economy gains momentum, we need to stay focused on ensuring all kids and families are included in the turn-around,” said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Children’s Campaign. “Our communities need the talents of all children. We risk losing out on the potential of some kids if we don’t track and address disparities in income, health and education.”

The new data also showed a small decline in the percent of uninsured kids in Colorado, which dropped slightly to 8.2 percent in 2013. Because many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were not implemented until late 2013 and 2014, the full impact of the ACA is likely not yet reflected in these numbers.

For more on the new poverty data, check out these articles from Colorado Public Radio, KUNC and Univision. For further analysis of the new health insurance estimates, see this blog from our partners at the Colorado Health Institute.

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Fast Fact – Aug. 28, 2014

In 2012, 17 percent of all school-aged children in Colorado (ages 5 to 17) were living in poverty—defined as about $23,000 in annual income for a family of four. Moffat 2 School District in Saguache County had the highest percent of school-aged children in poverty with 50.8 percent and Douglas County RE 1 School District had the lowest with 3.8 percent. Research consistently demonstrates that students who experience the challenges that often accompany poverty, such as poor nutrition or chronic stress, are at greater risk for low academic achievement, dropping out of school and exhibiting behavioral problems. To find data on the number of school-aged children in your school district who are living in poverty, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Newly Released Census Data Show Colorado’s High Rate of Child Poverty Persists, but Continued Progress on Getting Kids Insured

Colorado’s child poverty rate was higher in 2012 than during the worst years of the Great Recession, according to data from the American Community Survey released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The new data show that in 2012, 18 percent of all Colorado kids were living in poverty, up from 15 percent in 2008. Nearly 224,000 children across the state were living in poverty last year, defined as an annual income at or below $23,050 for a family of four. Since 2000, Colorado has seen the number of children living in poverty more than double, increasing at the third-fastest rate in the nation. Median household income in Colorado also continued to stagnate, with little change from 2011 to 2012. Since 2008, Colorado’s median household income has declined from just over $61,000 to $56,765.

These new data show that despite some indications that our economy is in recovery, economic security remains out of reach for many of Colorado’s low- and middle-income families. Meanwhile, Congress continues to debate cuts to programs that are critical to thousands of Colorado children, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps). Other important programs like Head Start and Early Head Start are feeling the effects of funding cuts from the sequester that went into effect earlier this year.

Despite the increase in child poverty, Colorado continues to make steady progress on getting more children insured. The newly released data show that 8.8 percent of Colorado kids were uninsured in 2012, down from 14 percent in 2008. Nationally, 7 percent of all children lacked health insurance in 2012.

National KIDS COUNT Data Book Ranks Colorado 21st in Child Well-Being

Colorado moved up one spot to 21st among states in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released earlier this week. The report shows that while Colorado made gains in child health and education, the economic well-being of children and families in Colorado continues to decline.

Colorado’s economic well-being ranking fell three spots to 19th from the previous year’s rankings. In 2011, 18 percent of all Colorado children under 18 lived in poverty—an increase of 37,000 kids since 2005. The findings in the national Data Book mirror those of the Children’s Campaign’s annual statewide analysis, KIDS COUNT in Colorado!, which was released in March.

In addition, the number of Colorado children living in high-poverty areas increased from 20,000 in 2000 to 97,000 in 2007-2011 – the fastest increase in the country. Research shows that high concentrations of poverty negatively impact all children in a community, even those living in middle-class families.

“It’s troubling to see more Colorado children living in families that can’t make ends meet, even as the economy begins to recover,” said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “When you compound the effects of a family’s poverty with life in an entire neighborhood that is struggling, it results in an environment where children are not able to thrive.”

All of the information from the national Data Book, as well as state- and county-level data for Colorado, is available in the newly redesigned KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook to learn more about the report.

Women’s Foundation of Colorado Examines the Well-Being of Women and Girls in New Report

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, released the 2013 Status of Women and Girls in Colorado report this week that analyzes the well-being of women and girls across the state. It includes a wealth of data across five broad issue areas critical to ensuring girls and women have the opportunity reach their full potential: economic security and poverty, employment and earnings, educational opportunity, personal safety and women’s leadership.

Tracking progress over the last two decades, the report found that while Colorado has made positive strides toward decreasing the dropout rate among girls, boosting the percent of women who receive bachelor’s degrees and decreasing the teen pregnancy rate, many barriers to opportunity for women and girls remain. For example, families headed by single mothers have the lowest median annual income in Colorado at $26,705 – only 63 percent of the median income for families headed by single fathers and 31 percent of the income for married-couple families. Additionally, the report cites the high cost of child care in Colorado as a major barrier to allowing women to work full-time to support their families. In 2011, the cost of full-time infant care in a center was nearly half the median income for a single mother. The report also includes recommended strategies for action, including educating young girls about the effects of their decisions regarding education and career paths and increasing the accessibility and affordability of child care for working parents.