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.