Thu September 20, 2012

More Coloradans Living In Poverty Since Start Of Recession

According to a new analysis of 2011 Census figures – a higher percentage of Coloradans are living in poverty than in 2007, before the economic recession began. Poverty rates in northern Colorado have remained steady.

An I-News investigation of the census data shows the number of Coloradans living in poverty statewide rose to 13.4 percent last year, up from 12 percent before the start of the economic recession in 2007.

The figures for Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties are slightly higher – with all three hovering around 14 percent (14.1 percent, 14.2 percent, and 14.7 percent respectively.)

According to the state demographer’s office, the figures seem to confirm that unemployment is a main contributing factor and that normal employment levels aren’t expected to return until 2014 at the earliest.

The study also shows that homeownership rates are continuing to decline with around 64 percent of Coloradans owning their own homes last year compared to nearly 69 percent in 2007.  

But again, Boulder, Weld and Larimer were at or above state homeownership rates. The highest of the three was Weld County at 67.3 percent. 

In a report released by Burt Hubbard of I-News, there are a few good numbers to report:

The percent of Coloradans without health insurance has declined over the past three years. The Census Bureau did not start including questions on health insurance in the survey until 2008. Last year, 15.1 percent of the state’s residents said they were uninsured compared to 16.7 percent in 2008.

The drop among children was more dramatic, failing from 13.8 percent uninsured in 2008 to 9.4 percent in 2011.

The latest economic data comes from the 2011 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Colorado is faring better than the rest of the county. Nationally, the poverty level is holding around 15 percent.

You can follow Nathan Heffel on Twitter: @Heffeln