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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

A Big Week for Data in Colorado

It’s a big week for data in Colorado. Three different sets of data were released this week, with each offering its own valuable insight into the health of our state.

The Colorado Children’s Campaign started off the week by releasing its 2014 Kids Count in Colorado! report on Monday. In its 21st year of publication, the report provides state-level and county-level data on all things children – from health to education to economic status.

This year’s big finding? Eighteen percent of Colorado children lived in poverty in 2012. Since 2000, only two other states have seen a larger percentage increase in the number of children living in poverty.

With data extending beyond health outcomes, the report touches on concerns affecting many aspects of a child’s life. Chris Watney, president and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, said it best:

“While policymakers and experts focus on health, education, early childhood, and economic security independently, there isn’t a child in Colorado who experiences them separately.”

The 2014 Kids Count in Colorado! Report is available for download here.

Wednesday saw the release of two other sources of data – The 2013 Colorado Health Report Card and the 2014 County Health Rankings.

The 2013 Colorado Health Report Card – a collaboration between the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Health Institute – is a yearly update of Colorado’s progress on 38 key indicators across five life stages. 

While the Report Card has been a tool for measuring where Colorado ranks among the other states on 38 important health indicators, the usefulness of the report does not stop there. This year’s new features position the Report Card to be a powerful policy tool.

The Supplement to the 2013 Report Card, A Roadmap to Number One, highlights indicators that greatly contribute to health – youth physical activity, mental health and health insurance coverage – and profiles innovative, effective policies and programs being implemented by other states in these key areas.

Along with the Report Card and Supplement, this year you can download Excel workbooks with in-depth data for each of the five life stages and read more about a selected indicator from each life stage in the Behind the Numbers publications.  Read more about the Report Card process from research analyst Natalie Triedman in our latest blog

Last up in the data trifecta this week? The release of the 2014 County Health Rankings.

The 2014 County Health Rankings measures health factors – things like tobacco use, access to care and education – and health outcomes such as length of life and quality of life to rank nearly every county in the nation. In Colorado, 59 of the 64 counties are given a rank. Douglas County ranks number one in both health outcomes and health factors, while counties in the San Luis Valley such as Costilla and Conejos rank among the bottom for both factors.

Rankings show a significant gap between the least and most healthy counties in states, even for counties right next to each other.

By ranking counties in health factors and the outcomes they influence, the County Health Rankings allow county residents and leaders to take action to improve the overall health in their community. The County Health Rankings website provides roadmaps leaders can follow to lead their community to improve their score. Check your county’s score at  

Together, these data sources provide a picture of health at the state and county level that can help us work towards a healthier future for Colorado. Don’t hesitate to contact us here at the Colorado Health Institute to help make sense of this data and what it means for the health of our state.