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3/31/2016 Kids’ Poverty Still An Issue
The Colorado Children’s Campaign this week released its annual “Kids Count” report which provides data-driven statistics about how Colorado children are faring. As in recent years, the numbers don’t bode well for Custer County. Based on the most recent numbers, nearly 31 percent of our children live in households that fall under the federal poverty guidelines. (That’s up about one percentage point from last year, and nearly double the statewide average of 15.6 percent.) Roughly half – 49.1 percent – of our kids qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, compared to 41.8 percent statewide. Our child population in Custer County (18 years and under) is 15 percent, versus 23.6 percent statewide. (We have 130 children ages five and under, and 525 kids ages five to 17.) Custer County’s overall population now stands at 4,373 (5.35 million statewide) up slightly from last year’s tally of 4,295 year-round residents. Our high school graduation rate is 72.7 percent, compared to 77.3 percent throughout the state, and 85.4 percent here last year. And with the exception of math scores, students’ overall scores in the standardized CMAS (and formerly TCAP) tests are on par or better than the state averages. There are some improvements noted in Custer County. The median household income is $48,368 compared to $47,268 last year. (The state median is $61,324, up from $58,942 last year.) The percentage of births among single women here is 27.3 percent (22.8 percent statewide) versus a full 36 percent last year. To learn more about county-by-county statistics regarding the youth of Colorado, visit the website www.coloradokids.org.