By Jerry Kopel
Here are additional 50 state rankings from Sourcebook 2005, published by Governing Magazine, a subsidiary of Congressional Quarterly.
Uninsured for Health Care
This was not an area for the present executive branch to be proud of. According to the Health Care Financing Administration, back in fiscal year 1999-2000, Colorado began this administration with 563,000 uninsured, or 13.3 percent of the population. Of the 50 states, Colorado ranked 21st.
By 2003-04, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Colorado had added 209,000 more persons for a total of 772,000. That was 17.2 percent of the population, and we ranked 14th highest of the 50 states.
There was a demographic study done by the Urban Institute and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, for the period of 1997-99. On percentage of each demographic that was uninsured, "Hispanic" was first with 35 percent. "Total population" was 16 percent. "White" was 13 percent.
At least we were better than Texas in 2003-04. Texas had 5,370,000 uninsured persons which was 24.6 percent of their population,. Texas was followed by New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Montana.
Technology in the Schools
The fewer students using each computer makes for more time per student using that computer. Where does Colorado stand?
According to Sourcebook based on Education Week statistics for 2004, Colorado ranks 38th, tied with New York. To avoid too many decimal points, I have multiplied for each computer times five. So for five computers, Colorado had 21 students. Colorado dropped from 27th in 2003 when we had 20 students per five computers.
The average in states for 2004 was 19 students. South Dakota was first with 8 1/2 students, Wyoming was second with 10 1/2 students.
Pupil-Teacher Ratio K-12 and Amount Spent Per Pupil
The ratio includes administrators as well as those teaching. Colorado, according to National Education Association. for fiscal year 2003-04 ranks 39th with 16.9 students per teacher. Colorado spent $8,023 per pupil, which ranks Colorado 23rd.
The best state was Vermont with 10.9 students per teacher and fifth in spending at $10,630 per teacher. Second best was Rhode Island with 11.7 students per teacher and seventh in spending at $10,258 per student.
Internet Access By State
According to the U.S. Census Bureau for October, 2003, on the plus side for percent of household with internet access, Colorado was third with 63.4 percent. Alaska was the top state, followed by New Hampshire. On percent of internet households with DSL or cable, Colorado ranked 20th.
Parks and Recreation Spending
With state and local spending according to the U.S. Census Bureau for 2002-03, Colorado was first in amount spent per population of a state. Colorado's $975 million total spending equaled $217 per person. Colorado was followed by Hawaii with $210 per person. Illinois was third, Nevada was fourth, and Wyoming was fifth. The average amount spent in the U.S. was $105 per person.
Toxic Chemical Releases
How many pounds of toxic releases into air, land and water occurred in Colorado according to the U.S. Environmental Agency for 2003? The lower the ranking, the better the state. Colorado ranked 39th with 22,517,511 pounds.
The worst state was Alaska with 539,643,896 pounds for 2003. Nevada was second, Texas third, Ohio fourth, and Utah fifth.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)
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