Monday, January 27, 2014

2013 Utah Intergenerational Poverty Report

Education is one prime ingredient in any formula to break the cycle of poverty that can follow a family from generation to generation, new Utah data indicates.
A recent report on poverty and public assistance reveals that less than 1 percent of those trapped in intergenerational poverty earned a college degree. The state average, by contrast, is 19.5 percent.

Comparing those in intergenerational poverty with general Utah population:

  • Education » 20.9 percent dropped out of school before graduating high school (compared to 8.5 percent for the general Utah populace)
  • Employment » 47.9 percent (compared to 74.9 percent for general adult populace in 2011)
  • Wages » $12,900 annual average per person (compared to $29,712 average, 2011)
  • Child abuse, neglect » This group makes up only about 1.3 percent of the total Utah population but accounts for nearly 6 percent of all confirmed reports of child abuse and neglect during the last 22 years. More than a quarter of those in the group were victims of child abuse or neglect.

Education is key to interrupting the cycle, said Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services. So the question for leaders to answer is: "What do we do policy-wise for the children being born into this situation" to ensure a good education?
The facts and figures being collected in the second year of the ongoing study "Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance in Utah" are aimed ultimately at helping come up with those policy solutions.
According to Carrie Mayne, chief economist for Workforce Services, the study defined those stuck in "intergenerational" poverty as people who received 12 months or more of any kind of public assistance as children and at least 12 months of public assistance as adults. Typically, a 40-year-old adult in the category would have received public assistance for 11.9 years.
Some 13.6 percent ­— or 382,750 — of Utah’s 2.8 million residents live in poverty, according to federal guidelines. The study identified that nearly one of 10 of those — 36,500 — are people in intergenerational poverty.
Utahns fitting that category were compared to others who received some public assistance, but for less than 12 months, and to Utah’s population as a whole. Some of the results are revealing.

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