DWS Press Release
October 2, 2017

Utah makes improvements in intergenerational poverty

Latest report shares progress of statewide effort to help families in the cycle of poverty

SALT LAKE CITY (October 2, 2017) — The Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission released today the state's Sixth Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance. The report highlights data from multiple state agencies serving families in the cycle of poverty and shares an update on the Commission’s activities in advancing the work in key focus areas of early childhood development, education, family economic stability and health.

"Although we still have much to accomplish, we have been able to use many existing services to reach our most vulnerable populations more meaningfully through cross-agency collaboration," said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. "Utah has taken action against intergenerational poverty by working toward solutions by collaborating on both state and county levels of government. Only when we work together, government and citizens, will we be able to best help our neighbors in need."

Utah is the only state in the nation to establish a law to reduce intergenerational poverty, which is defined as poverty in which two or more successive generations of a family continue in the cycle of poverty. Key data findings with modest improvements in intergenerational poverty include an increase in certified high-quality preschool programs, improved graduation rates and an increase in average annual wages for adults in intergenerational poverty.

"It’s encouraging to see progress and positive trends showing in the data," said H. David Burton, Intergenerational Poverty Advisory Committee Chair. "With increased attention in these focus areas, we are providing more opportunity and a better future for our children caught in the cycle of poverty."

An example of a program that is improving one of the focus areas—family economic stability—is the Department of Workforce Services' Invest in You Too program at Salt Lake Community College. This career pathway program helps single mothers—several who are experiencing intergenerational poverty—build skills for employment and helps local employers meet their business need of filling open positions.

"Utah is in the best position to improve the quality of life for families in intergenerational poverty and help them become economically stable," said Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services. "With our robust data system, we are able to prioritize funding for existing programs and extend our reach to families in need."

To view the report and new data tools, visit intergenerationalpoverty.utah.gov.