03/15/11 – Report Finds Colorado Children Heavily Impacted by Recessionby Chris Watney
President & CEO, Colorado Children's Campaign
Between 2008 and 2009, the number of children living in poverty in Colorado rose by 31,000 – an alarming, single-year jump from 15% to 17%.
This data was released last week in the 2011 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report and is among the first in the nation to show the impacts of the recession on kids. Unfortunately, most of the news is grim. Children from a wide range of circumstances across Colorado have been hit hard by the recession, including those who had not suffered economic hardship or poverty in the past.
In Colorado, the impacts of the recession were intensified because of the dramatic increase in childhood poverty the state experienced between 2000 and 2008. While the childhood poverty rate in Colorado currently remains below the national average, between 2000 and 2009 the number of children living in Colorado more than doubled, rising faster here than anywhere else in the nation. Statewide, 210,400 children now live in poverty – enough to fill Invesco Field more than two and half times.
One shining light in this dark picture is that Colorado has dramatically reduced our number of uninsured children. KIDS COUNT data shows that 42,000 fewer Colorado children went uninsured in 2009 than in 2008. This means that families already struggling with the recession no longer had to worry that a playground injury would bankrupt them. And it means that those children can now get the preventive care they need to stay healthy.
Health coverage is essential for strong children, but it is also key to a healthy economy. Kids with coverage are more likely to access cost-effective preventive care instead of expensive emergency care. Increased participation in Medicaid and CHP+ also leverages federal revenue for the state, and research published by The Colorado Trust shows that for each $1 we invest in new health care, we will produce about $2.45 in economic activity in Colorado. By comparison, $1 spent on regular household goods like furniture or gasoline generates about $1.60 in economic activity.
Progress on covering uninsured kids is due in part to recent federal and state policy changes, as well as enhanced outreach and enrollment practices. Policy matters and these data prove it. And, as our gains on covering uninsured kids have shown, an active and involved citizen voice is the key to delivering the policies that make life better for Colorado kids.
Your voice matters, because decisions about health care and other critical children's issues are too important for concerned Coloradans to stay on the sidelines. To learn more about how you can help ensure all Colorado kids have access to quality health care, education and early childhood development opportunities, visit www.coloradokids.org or sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, KidsFlash. Working together, we can ensure a healthier, brighter future for all Colorado kids.TOP Comments (0)