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U.S. Census Bureau: 15% Of Utah Children Live In Poverty

PHOTO: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 15 percent of children in Utah live in poverty. Image courtesy of the Utah Education Association.
PHOTO: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 15 percent of children in Utah live in poverty. Image courtesy of the Utah Education Association.
September 24, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - The number of children in Utah living in poverty is not going down. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's "2012 American Community Survey," 15 percent of Utah's children live in poverty, which is down less than one percentage point from the year before.

According to Terry Haven, deputy director of Voices for Utah Children, the small decline does not reflect any meaningful change. Parents and the government should put as much focus as possible on giving impoverished children the best education, she said, adding that research shows that kids who learn usually go on to earn their way out of poverty.

"We know that investing in kids and families pays off," she asserted. "You know, you've got better school performance, when they get through school they have higher earnings as adults, and they have better health outcomes. Everything is better when we invest in our kids. "

According to the American Community Survey, the poverty rate for Caucasians in Utah is the lowest at 11 percent. It shows the rate is at 19 percent for African Americans, while the highest poverty rate in Utah is 29 percent for Hispanic Americans.

Haven noted that poverty has historically been much higher among minority communities.

"I think we've seen nationwide and historically there have always been racial disparities in poverty," she said. "And we know there has always been an over-representation of our ethnic minorities in poverty."

The American Community Survey also shows the poverty rate is at 13 percent among adults ages 18 to 64 in Utah. The poverty rate among the state's senior population age 65 and over is at 7 percent.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT