Garfield County lags behind state in key economic indicators | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County lags behind state in key economic indicators

Ryan Hoffman
rhoffman@citizentelegram.com

Colorado Health Foundation listening tour

Wednesday

1:30-2:30 p.m. — Mountain Family Health Center, 195 W. 14 St., Rifle

5-6:30 p.m. — Aspen Jewish Community Center, 435 W. Main St., Aspen

Thursday

10-11 a.m. — Delta Kidz Clinic, 360 Eighth St., Delta

1:45-2:45 p.m. — The Bridges Golf Club, 2500 Bridges Circle, Montrose

5-6:15 p.m. — Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, 641 Struthers Ave., Grand Junction

When it comes to some important economic stability indicators, such as average hourly wage and median household income, Garfield County scores below state averages, according to a county health report card.

The report, part of the annual Colorado Health Report Card released by the Colorado Health Foundation in conjunction with the Colorado Health Institute, is the first formal county breakdown of the statewide report.

The county snapshot includes data related to a range of subjects including demographics, education, health insurance coverage and others, all of which will likely be up for discussion when president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation, Karen McNeil-Miller, starts a Western Slope listening tour today in Rifle.

Along with Garfield County, the tour will take McNeil-Miller, who assumed the role of president and CEO Sept. 1, to Mesa, Montrose, Delta, Pitkin and Gunnison counties.

“In our healthiest Colorado, a community’s health is shaped by those who live, work and play within it. Its most valuable influences are the ideas and energy of community members,” McNeil-Miller said in a press release. “We want to hear more about each community’s unique blend of history and collaboration, and the different approaches they are taking to improve health.”

While Garfield fares better than the state in some categories and worse in others, several economic factors show substantial gaps between Garfield and the rest of the state.

According to the report, the average hourly wage in Garfield comes in at $22.55, 16 percent less than the state average of $26.78, while the county’s median household income of $57,364 trails the state average of $58,942.

Garfield County does have a slightly lower unemployment rate than the state — 3.9 percent compared with 4.3 percent — and 12.4 percent of residents in the county live in poverty versus 12.9 percent in Colorado.

In terms of housing, 51.1 percent of households in Garfield County spent more than 30 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage compared to 33.9 percent of households statewide. The gap shrinks when comparing the percentages of households spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent — 50.9 percent in the county compared with 48.8 percent for Colorado. Thirty percent of income spent on housing is a benchmark for affordability.

Beyond economic factors, 11.7 percent of people in a five-county region consisting of Garfield, Eagle, Grand, Summit and Pitkin counties do not have health insurance, compared with a statewide rate of 6.7 percent. However, 89.1 percent of people surveyed in the same five-county region rated their health as excellent, very good or good in 2015, which was better than the statewide rate of 86.8 percent. Similarly, 94.8 percent reported good mental health compared with the state average of 90.1 percent.

Aside from the county report, the Colorado Health Foundation and McNeil-Miller hope to hear from residents and decision makers during the listening tour about how individual communities approach and view health, according to the press release. The first stop on the tour in Rifle runs from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mountain Family Health Center, located at 195 W. 14 St.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.