Oftentimes big, misleading headlines can circumnavigate the globe many times over before the much more nuanced truth gets a chance to catch up. Well, here’s a terrific case in point that figures to pop up in Colorado policy debates.
Last June the Colorado Children’s Campaign released its annual Kids Count report. Latching on to that report, newspapers from the Denver Post to the New York Times climbed on board the claim that Colorado leads the nation with a 73 percent rise in child poverty from 2000 to 2006.
In case you were confused, and wondered why you weren’t seeing scenes like this one in and around our great state, the Independence Institute’s Linda Gorman cleared up the picture a bit for you in last Friday’s Denver Daily News:
The problem is that this isnâ€™t true. The Campaignâ€™s numbers seem to be based on limited Census Bureau data provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundationâ€™s Kids Count program.
The Campaignâ€™s estimates of 2006 child poverty match the 2006 Census Bureau estimates.
So how does it get a 73 percent increase? By serving up artificially low 2000 numbers.
Read the rest of Linda’s opinion piece, which gets straight to the point. Or take a listen to her 10-minute iVoices podcast conversation with me, as she explains the problem with the inflated claim and the less headline-grabbing true story.
If you’re one of those eager to dive into the tall grass and sort out the details and analyze the data, you really ought to check out Linda’s issue paper Kids Count Report Showcases Misleading Poverty Numbers (PDF).