Jun 25, 2021 - News

How Colorado children rank nationwide

Illustration of wooden child’s play block with an exclamation point

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The well-being of Colorado's children ranks 15th in the nation, according to an annual report that looks at national trends.

Why it matters: The analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation captures a picture of 2019 and provides a benchmark to measure where Colorado stood before the pandemic.

  • Moving forward, policymakers will closely watch whether federal and state stimulus programs will improve child well-being, and whether Colorado keeps pace with other states.

By the numbers: In looking at four main categories — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community — Colorado mostly held steady from 2018 data, when it made significant gains.

  • Economic well-being: 13th
  • Education: 15th
  • Health: 26th
  • Family: 11th

What changed: Our education ranking improved two places while our economic indicators faded one notch.

  • Colorado has seen solid gains in the last decade. The percentage of children living in poverty in the state fell from 17% in 2010 to 11% in 2019, a faster decline than all but five other states and the District of Columbia.

Of note: Colorado ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to children's health care due to the elevated child and teen death rate — 27 per 100,000 from suicides and other causes, according to the report.

The bottom line: Children advocates say preliminary 2020 data shows the pandemic is putting the state's progress at risk.

  • "The data from this report highlight that our state needs to double down on its investments in the well-being of kids and families, not only to reverse the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, but also to undo historic challenges many Coloradans continue to face," said Kelly Causey, president and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, in a statement.

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