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The list of accusers against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to swell. Also on the Tuesday rundown: Hurricane Florence SNAPs North Carolina to attention on the importance of food benefits; plus a new report says young parents need better supports.

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Utah Sees Lower Childhood Poverty

According to new data, the childhood poverty rate in Utah has decreased three percentage points since 2011, but it is still at 13 percent. (Pixabay)
According to new data, the childhood poverty rate in Utah has decreased three percentage points since 2011, but it is still at 13 percent. (Pixabay)
September 21, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY - Childhood poverty has decreased significantly in Utah since its peak in 2011, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the poverty rate in Utah grew to 16 percent. Since then, however, the rate has come down to 13 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.

Terry Haven, deputy director of Voices for Utah Children, said the state is making progress, but many families haven't recovered from the Great Recession, and some 116,000 kids still are living in poverty.

"Those children don't care where we rank next to Maine or Colorado or Idaho," she said. "They care that they're going to bed hungry. And I think that's the call to our policymakers and to our state - to say, 'We need to make sure that those 116,000 children are taken care of.' "

Nationally, the child poverty rate also has decreased from its peak of 23 percent in 2011 to 21 percent in 2015.

Although rates dropped among all children, African-American and Latino children still are three times more likely to live in poverty. Haven said children pay a price when all people aren't afforded equal opportunities.

"When we look at non-Hispanic whites, we've got 8 percent of our kids living in poverty, compared to 31 percent for Hispanic or Latino," she said. "So, that's huge, and I think that it's an issue that we need to look at."

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, said poverty in the United States means an annual income of about $24,000 for a family of four. She said it's a very low bar and not a lot of money to get by.

"Families are making really difficult choices on what bills to pay," she said. "Most of these families are working. They have jobs that are not paying well enough to support the family, on the whole."

The analysis is online at aecf.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - UT