Census data shows kids, blacks and Hispanics most likely impoverished in Colorado

Looks like poverty is this week’s theme. Just putting some numbers to the story most know.

Current Population Survey data indicate that poverty rates in Colorado vary significantly by age, race and ethnicity. In the following chart I show this using data from the 2010 and 2011 Current Population Survey.

Poverty rates are highest among 0-17 year olds and lowest for the 65 and up population. This makes sense, as kids tend to come from younger families, where earnings tend to be lower than workers 50+ years of age.  The relatively low poverty rates for the elderly (except Hispanics) demonstrates the success of the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Across the racial and ethnic groups here, whites have the lowest poverty rates, while people of Hispanic origin have the highest. In Colorado, more than 1 in 3 Hispanic kids under the age of 18 lives in poverty. Black and African American children don’t fare much better.

As I showed in yesterday’s post, poverty often begets poverty. From a policy perspective, this means a priority should be helping kids in poverty break the cycle. Education and schools are the place to start, but it also means creating good employment and wage opportunities for younger heads of households.

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