One in 12 Colorado families is in poverty despite having family members employed, according to a study released Monday by the Bell Policy Center. The number of working poor families in the state has grown by 51 percent in the past six years, from 32,124 families in 2004 to 48,410 in 2010. In 2010, a family of four needs to make $22,050 to stay above the poverty line.
Bell also found that more than 25 percent of working families, or 151,875, do not earn enough to meet their basic needs, up from 20 percent six years ago. The recession added to economic stress by lifting the unemployment rate to its highest levels since 1983 and by driving down personal incomes last year for the first time since 1938. Bell recommends a focus on two more chronic problem areas: adult basic education and making low-wage jobs more secure.