Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Where you live makes a difference in escaping the impacts of poverty

By Marjorie Cortez, Deseret News

Published: Tue, March 18 12:02 a.m. MDT

 Utah children in intergenerational poverty face added challenges such as inadequate access to licensed child care, health care and limited employment among parents, a new report by Voices for Utah Children says.

Utah children in intergenerational poverty face added challenges such as inadequate access to licensed child care, health care and limited employment among parents, a new report by Voices for Utah Children says.


SALT LAKE CITY – Location, location, location.

It’s not just a factor in real estate. It’s a significant factor in child well-being, a new report on intergenerational poverty concludes.

The report, Intergenerational Poverty: Kids and Communities, examines intergenerational poverty in six ZIP codes in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties. More than 1,000 children experiencing intergenerational poverty live in each of the selected ZIP codes.

Intergenerational poverty is the term given for poverty that strikes families generation after generation, making it difficult to escape its economic grip.

“Unfortunately, the data demonstrates that the communities in which high numbers of intergenerational poverty children are living place additional handicaps on them and limit their access to equal opportunities for success. As this report establishes, the educational outcomes and health outcomes for children with these ZIP codes are worse than the outcomes for all Utah children,” said the report’s author, Tracy Gruber, senior policy analyst with Voices for Utah Children.

These Utah children face compounding challenges, including inadequate access to licensed child care centers, limited employment among their parents and a greater percentage of children growing up in single-parent households, compared to the general population of Utah children, Gruber said.

Most children who live in intergenerational poverty are white. Among the six areas, which include the communities of Clearfield, Kearns, West Valley City, Ogden and North Ogden, the majority of children live in married couple households, although that data apply to the entire population of children in the areas.

The report, which looked at several indicators of child well-being, noted that among the six areas with high intergenerational poverty among children, the poverty rate grew dramatically between 2000 and 2011.

"By 2011, child poverty rates were higher in the six ZIP codes than statewide and nearly one in five of Utah's children living in poverty reside within the high intergenerational poverty area," the report said.

The report also notes that children in the six areas have lower high school graduation rates than their peers statewide, score lower on standardized achievement tests and in some schools, and more than 10 percent of students are chronically absent, meaning they have missed 18 or more days of school each year.

Good attendance is a predictor of academic success, the report said.

"Sixty-four percent of children who regularly attend school in kindergarten and first grade read on grade level after third grade compared to only 43 percent of children who miss nine or more days of school both years. These negative academic outcomes tend to follow these children throughout their academic careers, making it difficult to make up academic ground that was lost in the early years," the report said.

Access to health care was another concern raised by the report.

According to 2012 figures, Utah children were uninsured at a rate of 11 percent while the percentage of uninsured adults was 15 percent "with higher rates in intergenerational poverty ZIP codes. The percentage of children lacking insurance is one of the highest rates in the nation," the report said.

Although Utah has a lower teen pregnancy rate than the national average, the report notes that the birth rate for girls ages 15-17 in five of the six communities was higher than the state figure. (The rate in the Clearfield area was lower than the state rate.)

That is another troubling indicator, Gruber said, because teen mothers have a higher likelihood of living in poverty. "They're more likely not to finish high school. If they don't marry or cohabitate with the father of the child, that limits the ability to be economically secure and that impacts the child," she said.

The report will be distributed to the state's Intergenerational Poverty Advisory Committee today.

Voices for Utah Children hopes the report will be a resource for committee members and the Intergenerational Poverty Commission, which comprises the directors of the departments of Health, Workforce Services, Human Services, the superintendent of Public Instruction, the state Juvenile Court administrator and the chairman of the advisory committee. The commission makes policy recommendations to legislative bodies such as the state school board and the Utah Legislature.


1. worf
Mcallen, TX,
March 18, 2014

Having worked through school and creating a skill makes a difference in escaping the impacts of poverty.

We all have the opportunity to succeed in this country.

Salt Lake City, UT,
March 18, 2014

The present liberal admin makes it a defacto standard for all to assimulate poverty,,,,,,all you have to do to qualify is vote democrat wear mom jeans and espouse liberal media ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Hollywood and you will receive a check owed to you because clearly those who work for a living have too much!

Clearly Comrades, the only solution is for all of us to expect the "elite" to live poorer, more modest, austere lives and (I almost hate to mention such an obvious point) the institution of a global collectivist hegemony (i.e. "communism").

Even the Dnews is on board, foisting this kind of garbage reporting on the masses of conservatives in our state! Time for a revolution!

3. george of the jungle
goshen, UT,
March 18, 2014

You ain't seen poverty till you seen what high utility bills can do, and to think that the city chose to have propane over natural gas, the high cost of a phone co. over a cheaper one with more services then 10x the water bill over night. when UP@L is adding 5% compounding every year. Then to think you got the cost of gas to go any where. Now say you go to the store for grocery's, what you got last month, you don't have enough money for this month. That not even thinking about taxes that is going to be taken out of the pay check or property taxes, insurance that has increased year after year. that 25 cent an hour raise a year isn't going to go the distance. So there ain't any money to be saved.

4. kiddsport
Fairview, UT,
March 18, 2014

Saying location determines a child's outcome is like saying an orchard determines what kind of fruit comes off the tree. If you plant lemon trees, you get lemons. You will never, ever get apples. All the symptomology described in this article points to the breakdown of the family. The zip codes are merely gathering points that facilitate the continuing decay. Coming from a family of eight which lost a parent in adolescence to middle teens, I'm glad the values and the worth of work we were taught while young saw all of us achieve levels of success even though our early circumstances were austere. A very wise man once said, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." Also, "The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of far greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches." David O. McKay

5. Dauly
Provo, UT,
March 18, 2014

@ Truth,

I am not sure how improving school attendance and access to health care is communism? Your statements need to be flipped on their head, those who working don't have enough already. It is the wealthy who have too much (top 1% own 35% of all wealth), and it is not from all the hard work they have been doing. Please watch the Non Sequitor and get out of the Utah bubble to see that it is all of us in the same boat, don't harsh on the destitute just because you are merely poor.