Latinos still face inequities, lagging behind other Colorado residents in terms of income, health care access, and homeownership.

News Release

New Data Shows that Hispanic Population Growth in Colorado Contributed to the State’s Resurgence after Great Recession

Latinos still face inequities, lagging behind other Colorado residents in terms of Income, Health Care Access, and Homeownership

October 3, 2019

Contact: Gabriela Gomez
news@unidosus.org
(202) 776-1732

DENVER, COIn the last 10 years, the Latino population in Colorado grew by nearly 20 percent, becoming instrumental in Colorado’s economic resurgence after the Great Recession. According to new data released today by UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization formerly known as National Council of La Raza, Latinos have seen gains across several economic and health indicators since the Great Recession, but because of ongoing inequities and administrative threats, they still lag behind other Colorado residents in terms of median household income, homeownership, and health care access.

Protecting the health and economic strides of Latino families in Colorado was the central topic of discussion today during a Denver roundtable hosted by the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO). Other participants included Governor Jared Polis; Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO); State Senator Dominick Moreno (D-21st District); Emily Cervantes, Research Analyst at the Colorado Health Institute; Alberto Gonzalez, Senior Strategist for Health Policy at UnidosUS and Jennifer Brown, Associate Director of Economic Policy at UnidosUS.

The event examined the gains Colorado Latinos have made across several economic and health indicators since the Great Recession, which includes a $20,000 increase in the Latino median household income and a labor force participation rate that hovers at 70 percent. Yet these gains are marred by a Latino poverty rate that is nearly twice as high as the rate for Colorado households, and the challenges of rental housing affordability facing Latino families.

“Latinos have the highest workforce participation rate of any other group but continue to face significant economic disparities and barriers on their road to financial security. Barriers such as wage disparities, access to affordable and quality health care, and earned paid family leave, deny Latino workers an opportunity to save and invest in their future. And this is especially true for Latinas in the labor market,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “We need policies at the federal and state-level that address these barriers and create those pathways to upward mobility and wealth-building. Latinos are the future workforce of this country so when Latinos do well, the country does well,” concluded Murguía.

Panelists called attention to protecting the historic coverage gains made by Coloradan Latinos under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 Coloradans who were able to access health coverage under Medicaid expansion were Latino. Despite these coverage gains, the ACA remains vulnerable to being dismantled. An estimated 115,200 Coloradan Latinos stand to lose their health coverage if the ACA is repealed. Speakers also highlighted critical federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that help Colorado families put food on the table and make ends meet. Latinos represent over 50% of all WIC participants in Colorado.

Participants at the roundtable shared important insights on how federal and state policies can improve the health and economic well-being of Latinos in the state.

“We heard today that Colorado Latinos have much at stake in Congress today. Latinos work hard and are essential drivers of our state’s rapid economic growth, but too many members of Congress are threatening to take away our health insurance and safety net programs for our children. State and local government are doing too little to protect our access to affordable housing.  A large majority of Colorado Latinos are native-born U.S. citizens.  We need to engage, get counted by the census, register to vote, and vote for candidates who will work for us,” said discussion moderator and CLLARO Executive Director Mike Cortés

"I was delighted to spend the morning with the dedicated folks from CLLARO and UnidosUS to discuss how we can ensure that the 1.2 million Latinos living in Colorado are sharing in the economic success that has made our state the envy of the nation. From investing in free full-day kindergarten, to reducing the cost of health care, to expanding our supply of affordable housing, to standing up for immigrant communities, together we can create a Colorado for all where everyone is welcome and everyone has the opportunity to succeed and live the Colorado Way of Life,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

CLLARO is a nonprofit agency (formerly known as LARASA) founded in Denver in 1964 to help Latinos solve problems facing their communities.  CLLARO’s mission is to empower Latinos through leadership development, advocacy, and policy research to strengthen Colorado.