One distinction that Colorado is happy to no longer have is the largest gap in the nation in college graduation rates between the state’s white and black residents. The percentage of black adults in the state with college degrees rose to 24 percent in 2012, up from 20 percent in 2010, according to new information from the U.S. Census Bureau. That progress moved Colorado down two notches in that particular measurement, behind Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Both Latino and black adults experienced improving high school graduation rates, narrowing those gaps with white adults to their lowest levels in decades, an I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS analysis of new data from the American Community Survey found. Eighty-nine percent of black adults had high school degrees in 2012, compared to 96 percent among whites. Latinos still trailed at 68 percent, but that’s an improvement of three percentage points since 2010.
“That’s good news all the way around,” said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, who also is executive director of the Colorado Higher Education Department. “It’s the result of more focus and more collaboration between K-12 and higher education.”
An I-News investigation published earlier this year of six decades of Census data found that minority gains made in key economic and education areas had eroded over time. In many cases, the disparities between Latinos, blacks and whites were wider in 2010 than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. The Losing Ground project has been widely disseminated and discussed since publication. The new data shows some improvement, at least in the education measures.
Losing Ground also analyzed family income, home ownership and poverty rates during the six decades. Those measurements fluctuated between 2010 and 2012, the analysis found. Black family median income, for example, was 58 percent of white family median income, a drop of four percentage points, while Latino family median income was 53 percent, a rise of two percentage points.
Home ownership was flat or slightly declining for all three groups, while poverty among blacks rose four points to 29 percent.