Losing Ground

Losing Ground presents a disturbing yet compelling portrait of a state where black and Latino residents are falling further and further behind their white counterparts. That state is Colorado.

Download the entire Losing Ground project in this e-book (PDF format.)

Download the entire Losing Ground project in this e-book (PDF format.)News


I-News journalists analyzed six decades of reports from the U.S. Census Bureau to track the state’s poverty rates, family income, high school and college graduation rates and home ownership. The analysis uncovered surprising trends in racial and ethnic disparities. Minority gains made during the era of the civil rights movement eroded with time. Colorado evolved from a state that was by most measures more equitable than the national average in the first decades covered by the analysis to one that is less so now.



Health data and justice figures examined as part of the analysis also show disparities. Major civil rights efforts for women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and people with disabilities have occurred in Colorado. After the civil rights movements of the 1960s, Colorado was one of the more equitable places in the nation for minorities.

That began to change, however, in the 1980s and 1990s. To understand where Colorado is headed in the future, it’s important to understand both the past and the present. The story you read here is the reality in Colorado today. But the state’s residents don’t have to resign themselves to a future of every-widening disparities. There are steps that can be taken – individually and as a matter of public policy – that experts agree can begin to turn the trend in the other direction. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but it can be done. The four stories, told through text, video, photos and graphics, comprise this series about the issue of inequity that, according to most experts, pose a significant future hurdle for a state in which minorities are a rising population.

Losing Ground

Racial Disparities Exist in Denver Police Shootings, RMPBS News Inquiry Finds

Last Updated by Kristin Jones on

A black Denver resident is three times more likely than a white resident to be shot by law enforcement. Latino residents are nearly twice as likely to be shot.

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Black Round Table Targets Inequities Exposed by RMPBS News’ Losing Ground

Last Updated by Katie Wilcox on

The Colorado Black Round Table's second annual Gaining Ground summit targeted inequities experienced by the state's black residents in education, health care, criminal justice and family incomes, as compared to the state's white residents.

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Colorado Black Round Table Hosts Gaining Ground Summit this Weekend

Last Updated by Burt Hubbard on

After month-long church and community discussions addressing disparities faced by Colorado’s black residents, the Colorado Black Round Table is convening its “gaining ground” summit this weekend to chart a course toward progress.

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Untreated: Steep Costs for Mentally ill Inmates

Last Updated by Kristin Jones on

In unit 4C of the Pueblo County jail, any human presence draws inmates to the narrow windows of their solitary cells.

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Black Round Table Issues Strategies for Retaking Lost Ground

Last Updated by Burt Hubbard on

They range from simple strategies such as reading to children daily, taking time to walk a mile and opening savings accounts to comprehensive campaigns to restore budget cuts to public education and to eliminate grocery story food deserts in low-income neighborhoods.

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Single-parent family major factor in widening disparities

Last Updated by Ann Carnahan Espinola on

Angel Castro’s days teeter between determination and desperation. She is 28, impoverished, scarred from a chaotic childhood and adolescence, raising two young children alone.

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Disappearing pathway to middle class

Last Updated by Burt Hubbard on

In the 1960s, the giant CF&I steel plant on the southern end of Pueblo was the economic driving engine and racial equalizer for Colorado’s southernmost major city.

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Health gains for African Americans and Latinos lag far behind whites

Last Updated by Kevin Vaughan on

Lucero Barrios is Latina and a new mother – circumstances that place her squarely in a group of people affected by a shocking reality in Colorado: A Hispanic baby born in this state is 63 percent more likely than a white baby to die in the first year of life. LE and IM charts

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Social progress from civil rights movement lost

Last Updated by Burt Hubbard, Ann Carnahan Espinola on

By some of the most important measures of social progress, black and Latino residents of Colorado have lost ground compared to white residents in the decades since the civil rights movement.

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