More than 51,000 children in Utah live in poverty. That’s according to recent data collected by the Department of Workforce Services in its first annual report on intergenerational poverty in the state. The data shows that 13.2 percent of Utahns receive public assistance, and that one in every six children lives in poverty. Senator Stuart Reid says moving forward, lowering child poverty will be a top priority.
“What our highest priority should be is rescuing children out of poverty. I think we are going to find as we continue to discuss this is that some of our major challenges in our education system is with this population,” he says.
The report is the result of legislation to establish and maintain a system of tracking intergenerational poverty to identify at-risk children and groups and develop a plan to help end the cycle of poverty in Utah.
Rick Little, Director of Research and Analysis for the Department of Workforce Service, says they collected four generations worth of data. He says they found that single women with children are twice as likely to experience intergenerational poverty compared to men, and more than 23,000 unmarried women receive public assistance in the state.
“Among those teen girls in state fiscal year 2012 one in every 20 of those girls was pregnant or had delivered a baby during state fiscal year 2012. Their children, their infants are the 4th generation we can observe in the data,” he says.
Salt Lake County has the highest number of public assistance recipients in the state, with a total of more than 14,000. Weber County is second with just over 4,700.