The 2017 report shares Utah’s progress on the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission’s five- and 10-year plan and outlines data from 2016 within four focus areas: early childhood development, family economic stability, health and education. It focuses on the impacts of strategies and tactics designed to ensure families experiencing intergenerational poverty have access to opportunity. In 2016, there were signs of modest improvement for families experiencing intergenerational poverty. Although there is little change in the count of children and adults experiencing intergenerational poverty, resources are being aligned and consolidated across state and local government.

In 2016…

  • In Utah, 39,376 adults and 59,579 children were experiencing intergenerational poverty.
  • The total number of children experiencing intergenerational poverty could fill every seat in the Vivint Smart Home Arena—nearly three times.
  • 26 percent of adults receiving public assistance experienced intergenerational poverty.
  • 29 percent of Utah children were at risk of remaining in poverty as adults. A total of 316,854 children are at risk of remaining in poverty as adults.
  • 15% of the adults who are experiencing intergenerational poverty in 2015 left the cohort in 2016.

Key Data Findings in Focus Areas:

  • Early Childhood Development – Children experiencing poverty and other stresses during this time are more likely to experience developmental setbacks that follow them throughout their life. Increased investments in early childhood development are impacting young children experiencing IGP.
    • 172 sites certified as high-quality preschool programs in 2017, up from 90 sites in 2016.
    • 27% of four year-olds experiencing intergenerational poverty were enrolled in public preschool.
    • 74% of children experiencing IGP between the ages of 0-5 years old participated in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program.
  • Education – Indicators of educational success such as attendance, language arts and math proficiency, and graduation rates tend to suffer among children living in intergenerational poverty. Educational indicators are improving for students experiencing intergenerational poverty.
    • Enrollment in optional extended day kindergarten, among IGP students, increased from 28 percent to 32 percent between SY 2014 and SY 2016.
    • Third grade language arts proficiency rates increased from 19 percent to 24 percent between SY 2014 and SY 2016 among students in intergenerational poverty. This is compared with 48 percent of all Utah third grade students. Fact Sheet: Intergenerational Poverty Annual Report 2017 Updated 10.2.17
    • Eighth grade math proficiency rates increased from 12 percent to 18 percent among students in intergenerational poverty. This is compared to 45 percent of all Utah eighth grade students. o Graduation rates improved to 63 percent in 2016 for children at risk of remaining in poverty, compared to 50 percent in 2013.
  • Health – Children living in intergenerational poverty are not receiving the health care, dental care and mental health care needed to ensure healthy development.
    • 46 percent of cash assistance recipients had five or more adverse childhood experiences (ACES) when they were children, compared to 10 percent of Utah’s general population.
    • 71 percent of children ages 0-5 who are in intergenerational poverty did not see a dentist in 2016.
    • 94 percent of children in intergenerational poverty have health care access through Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); however, the majority of them utilizing these services is low.
  • Economic Stability – Underemployment is prevalent among families experiencing intergenerational poverty, which contributes to their challenges. In 2016, there were signs of increasing economic stability among IGP families.
    • The average annual wage for adults in intergenerational poverty increased between 2013 and 2016 from $10,701 to $12,621.
    • 62 percent of adults in intergenerational poverty had some employment during 2016.
    • 35 percent of children in intergenerational poverty moved at least once in 12 months in 2016, a decline from 41 percent in 2013.
    • 10 percent of adults experiencing IGP and 29 of young adults experiencing IGP enrolled in post-secondary education institutions.
  • Other Contributing Factors – Other factors that contribute to intergenerational poverty include homelessness and juvenile justice system involvement. o 10 percent of the individuals experiencing intergenerational poverty used Utah’s Homeless Management Information System services in 2016, a decrease from 12 percent in 2015.
    • 27 percent of youth ages 10-17 who are in intergenerational poverty are involved with the juvenile justice system in 2016, a decrease from 30 percent in 2013.


For more information about Utah’s Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency, and Public Assistance, see the 2016/2017 report below.