Poverty hits harder across Colorado’s Front Range | VailDaily.com

Poverty hits harder across Colorado’s Front Range

Burt Hubbard
The Denver Post
Hyoung Chang, The Denver PostBryan Nickel volunteers sorting food at Weld Food Bank in Greeley, where 21.7 percent of residents live below the poverty line, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. The poverty rate among children grew faster than in the state overall

The poverty rate has escalated this decade among major cities and counties along the Front Range, led by Greeley, where more than one in five residents are poor, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released today .

A Denver Post analysis of the census figures also found that child poverty rose at a faster pace than the overall rate, and the economic gap between races widened between 2000 and 2008.

The census report shows that 11.4 percent of Colorado residents lived below the poverty level in 2008. In 2000, it was 9.2 percent. Poverty is defined as a family of four earning less than $22,050 a year. For an individual, the poverty line is set at $10,830.

The rates ranged from a high of 21.7 percent in Greeley to 1.9 percent in Highlands Ranch. The percentage of poor was up about 4 percentage points compared with 2000 in Greeley, Denver and Aurora.

Judy Griego, director of the Weld County Human Services Department, said a variety of factors have converged to drive poverty rates up. “As you see sales revenues down, not enough employment and school attendance being generally bad, it creates an atmosphere of poverty,” Griego said.

In addition, social service agencies designed to help the poor also face economic problems, she said.

The number of the state’s children living in poverty increased even faster than the overall rate, rising from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 15.1 percent in 2008, according to the census data.

For more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_13441126

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