A Community Collaboration Produced in Partnership with Boulder County Community Services
Every community has its own invisible populations. These are the individuals marginalized for any number of reasons, those who are discriminated against or don't have access to the same services as others. Our collections don't claim to capture or reflect all of those individuals who face injustices or who are burdened by stigmas and stereotypes. Project (In)visible is interested in the stories behind the statistics. Honest words. Real faces. That is our promise.
There are approximately 1,500 homeless youth in Colorado, 25% of whom likely suffer from some form of mental illness. In Boulder County, more than 30% of those individuals identify as LGBTQ. Youth in crisis are more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and suicide, leaving them in need of a unique set of services to ensure their safety and stability as they transition into adulthood.
In Boulder County, 10% of families live below the poverty line of $24,000; that's nearly 16% of children under the age of five who live in poverty. While the faces of these families are diverse, the disparity leans towards minority populations - 35% of Latino youth under the age of 18 live in poverty. Child care, housing prices, transportation, and liveable wages all contribute to families' need for assistance. The income gap between Boulder County's self-sufficiency standard ($75,000) and the national poverty line at which families can receive assistance ($24,000) contributes to this burden.
More than 11% of Boulder County residents - totaling 33,000 people - were born outside of the United States. These include immigrants and refugees who fled violence, persecution, and economic insecurity to find safety and stability in Colorado. More than one-third of these individuals are now United States citizens. Regardless of citizenship, the language and cultural barriers facing these ethically diverse communities makes it especially difficult to rebuild a safe and stable life in Boulder County.
Across Boulder County, 14% of individuals live below the poverty line of approximately $11,000. While 95% of County residents have a GED or high school diploma, it is unfortunately not enough to thrive. Since 2006, individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent actually saw their median earnings decline 7% as compared to those with graduate or professional degrees who experienced a 17% increase.
Despite being among the most foodie communities in America, 1 in 6 Boulder County residents is food insecure in some capacity. Whether they do not have enough quantity or quality nutrition, these individuals defy the stereotypes of bloated bellies or homeless adults. They are our service providers, our students, families who are struggling to make ends meet and whose access to balanced nutrition is compromised as a result.
While more than 75% of Boulder County residents report being open to gay and lesbian people, this population is still at an increased risk for discrimination, violence, and sexual assault. More than one-quarter of LGBTQ youth report bullying as compared to 14% of straight teens; rates of suicide and self-harm are also higher among these communities.
Special thanks to our partners at the Boulder County Department of Community Services. Their sponsorship and collaboration made this project possible.