New analysis shows improvement since initiative began and areas for continued growth
The Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission today released the state’s Eighth Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance. The report highlights data from multiple state agencies and provides the first progress analysis of the families initially identified as experiencing intergenerational poverty in 2012, when the initiative began.
"It is encouraging to see that our efforts since 2012 are having an impact," said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, chair of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission. "This updated analysis on how the families we identified years ago are doing now is vital so that we can continue to address Utahns’ needs in a meaningful way. Ultimately, we are working to give all Utah children and families their best opportunities for success."
The state of Utah has defined intergenerational poverty as individuals who utilize government assistance for 12 months or more as a child and again for 12 months or more as an adult. The analysis found that between 2012 and 2017, the group of adults experiencing intergenerational poverty decreased by 24 percent with an even greater decrease among children at 42 percent. In 2018, there were 39,487 adults and 53,861 children living in this cycle of poverty.
“The efforts to address intergenerational poverty in Utah continues to grow as more counties and local communities work to build programs and support systems for these families,” said Jon Pierpont, vice-chair of the commission. “It’s exciting to see the impacts being felt throughout the state as more communities become aware and utilize the research and data from this report.”
Additional key insights from the analysis are that more students experiencing intergenerational poverty are now graduating from high school and adults identified in 2012 are now experiencing higher rates of year-round employment and increased wages. Areas that could use improvement include education gaps resulting in difficulty maintaining employment as adults and greater health care needs that often go unmet.
“We know through this report that there are opportunities to reduce the impacts of childhood trauma that influences children experiencing intergenerational poverty,” said Tracy Gruber, senior advisor to the commission and author of the report. “The more state leaders, local officials, faith-based organizations, community groups, neighborhoods and families can come together and understand the impacts of trauma within these families, we can take the next steps of significantly improving outcomes for the children and adults.”
To view the report, visit intergenerationalpoverty.utah.gov.
In addition, results and key findings in the four focus areas of child well-being can be found in the 2019 fact sheet.