Jun 5, 2024 - News

Denver has received more than 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children

Bar chart showing the number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving in Denver from January 2015 to May 2023, by country of origin. At least 1,415 unaccompanied child migrants arrived in the city during that time period, with 34% from Honduras and 29% from Guatemala.
Data: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via N.Y. Times; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Between 2015 and 2023, Denver received more than 1,400 unaccompanied migrant kids, most from Honduras and Guatemala, per U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Why it matters: Unaccompanied migrant children are an especially vulnerable group as federal, state and city leaders spar over sheltering and supporting foreigners who have crossed the border without permission.

What they're saying: "Migrant children, who have been coming into the United States without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country," per a recent New York Times investigation.

  • "This shadow workforce extends across industries in every state, flouting child labor laws that have been in place for nearly a century."

State of play: Denver officials are trying to prevent those outcomes through initiatives like their asylum-seeker program, which "provide actual sustainability for families and allow kids to focus on being kids," Denver Human Services spokesperson Jon Ewing tells us.

Zoom out: Other Colorado cities have also received a sizable share of unaccompanied children during this time span, including Aurora (1,330 kids) and Colorado Springs (about 700), per federal data.

How it works: The data comes from migrant children sponsors' ZIP codes obtained by the Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Hexbin map showing places in the U.S. that have received at least 100 unaccompanied child migrants from January 2015 from May 2023. The areas that have received the most unaccompanied migrant children are in east Texas (especially Houston, which has received at least 32,000), south Florida, California and the Northeast. Alaska, Hawai'i and states in the Great Plains have seen the fewest.
Data: U.S. Department of Human Health and Services via N.Y. Times; Note: Includes places that have received at least 100 unaccompanied migrant children; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The big picture: The number of unaccompanied migrant children in Denver pales in comparison to that of other major cities.

The bottom line: Addressing the border is one thing — but hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied kids are already in the U.S., and looking to local, state and federal officials for help and protection.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.

More Denver stories