By Tara Manthey
A declining child poverty rate is among several important indicators of child well-being that are improving in Colorado, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report. The drop in the poverty rate in 2014 marks the first consecutive decline in more than a decade. However, disparities in well-being persist and improvements are not reaching all children.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia joined us for the release of the report at the Capitol, alongside more than 100 close partners and friends. Special guests Abbie Brewer and Maria Pacheco Gonzalez of LiveWell Montrose Olathe shared their story of improving child well-being in their community by bridging cultures with an innovative family nutrition effort. See photos from the release on our Facebook page, explore social media coverage, read media coverage of the report or dig into the data with an interactive data feature of the latest findings.
This year’s report found that Colorado’s child poverty rate of 15 percent is still five percentage points higher than in 2000, but has fallen to its pre-recession level for the first time since the economic downturn. This percentage represents more than 190,000 kids who lived in families with incomes below the federal poverty level as of 2014 (the most recent data available). Poverty is defined as an annual income of less than $23,850 for a family of four. Disparities also remain significant: many children of color and children in Colorado’s rural communities aren’t benefiting from economic growth as much as children overall.
A number of other indicators of child well-being are moving toward the positive as a result of economic improvements and policy changes. About 100,000 more kids have health insurance now than in 2008, and fewer families are reporting cost as a barrier to accessing prescriptions, dental care and specialist care for their children. The state’s teen birth rate also continued to decline in 2014.
“We’re encouraged by the improvements in well-being for Colorado kids,” said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “These trends are buoyed by economic progress, as well as key policy changes supported by research. Breakthroughs including more kids with health coverage and fewer unintended teen pregnancies were made possible by the thoughtful work of our policymakers, and the passion and hard work of professionals, providers and parents in every part of Colorado.” Read More