“The Status of Children” report has been released for 2015. It is an annual report, and it lists data on all facets of childrens’ well-being in Boulder County. The most shocking statistic of the report was the change of children experiencing poverty. In 1990, the child poverty rate was 9.3 percent. It jumped to 16.2 percent in 2015.
It is important to note that this is given in percentage. The entire population of Boulder County has increased by about 60,000 since 1995, an increase of 23.2 percent. In contrast, the rate of children experiencing poverty has increased by 74.2 percent.
The report is sponsored by the Boulder County Movement for Children, a volunteer organization that seeks to stimulate awareness of and involvement in children’s issues.
This data is collected by Dr. Stephanie Greenberg, a retired research sociologist. When gathering this information, it’s important to use every source available.
“Of course, the state health department,” Greenberg said. “The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is tremendously helpful because of the huge range of data they compile on children in the county and state. The Colorado Department of Education. . . Also the US Bureau of the Census collects indicators that you can use to express the well-being of children and families.”
The poverty line for a household of four people was set at $24,250 in 2015. Any household making this much money or less is considered to be living in poverty. Households that made more than this amount but less than $48,500, twice the poverty line, were considered near poverty. This number was also an area of concern.
In 2015, an additional 15.6 percent of children fell into this category. That means 31.8 percent of children were at or near poverty.
The report alludes to the recession in this category. Boulder County’s poverty rate has not returned to pre-recession levels. This led to the county’s poverty rate being more than the state of Colorado’s rate for the first time since at least 2000.
This doesn’t necessarily signal all bad news for Boulder County children. The report doesn’t just look at the economic well-being of children. Health and education are two of the other factors that are analyzed.
“If I were going to boil this report down to just a few essential indicators, I would look at trends in the teen birth rate, I would look at trends in child poverty, and I would look at high school graduation rates,” Greenberg said. “Being a teen parent, living in a low-income household, and graduating or not graduating from high school have lifelong consequences for you and your children.”
The pregnancy rate of teenagers aged 15 to 19 is down 60.3 percent since 1994. In addition, on-time graduation rates increased in both the Boulder Valley and Saint Vrain Valley school districts from 2010 to 2014.
One of Greenberg’s colleagues, Dr. Lynn Gilbert, believes that this is a good sign for the future.
“It really is an investment,” Gilbert said. “There are so many people who figure, “they’re your kids. You feed them!’”
Whether this is the case or not, it will be interesting to monitor how these situations play out in the future, as “The Status of Children” report is continued to be published. The full report can be read here.