Kids Count

Last month, we held our annual Breakfast of Children’s Champions where we celebrated the great work happening in our communities for Utah kids. Once again, congratulations to this year's awardees: 

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Utah Shines in Child Well-Being Rankings, Yet the Strain of Inaccessible, Unaffordable Child Care Pushes Parents to the Breaking Point

Utah made significant strides in overall child well-being, moving up to second place in the country from fourth last year, according to the 2023 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that analyzes how children and families are faring. However, our country’s lack of affordable and accessible child care short-changes children and causes parents in Utah to frequently miss work or even quit their jobs, while those who can find care pay dearly for it. These child care challenges cost the American economy billions of dollars a year and stymie women professionally.

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The Data Book reports that too many parents cannot secure child care compatible with work schedules and commutes. In addition, the Data Book reports that in 2020—21, 13% of Utah children birth to age five lived in families in which someone quit, changed, or refused a job because of problems with child care. And women are five to eight times more likely than men to experience negative employment consequences related to caregiving.

Even if parents can find an opening at child care near their home, they often can’t pay for it. Utah’s average cost of center-based child care for toddlers was $9,003 per year, 9% of the median income of a married couple and 24% of a single mother’s income in the state.

While the cost of care burdens families, child care workers are paid worse than 98% of professions. Median national pay for child care workers was $28,520 per year or $13.71 an hour in 2022, less than the wage for retail ($14.26) and customer service ($18.16) workers.

According to one study, the failings of the child care market also affect the current and future health of the American economy, costing $122 billion a year in lost earnings, productivity, and tax revenue. These challenges put parents under tremendous stress to meet the dual responsibilities of providing for their families and ensuring their children are safe and nurtured.

Each year, the Data Book ranks the states according to how children are faring, presenting national and state data from 16 indicators in four domains — economic well-being, Utah ranked 2nd, education 6th, health 18th, and family and community factors 1st. Utah’s overall rank of second in the country reflects how Utah’s decision-makers and community partners have bolstered policies supporting child well-being.

VIEW 2023 KIDS COUNT BOOK

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Utah is seeing an ever-increasing proportion of our parents in the workforce. This Data Link provides data on families and working parents by county and provides policy recommendations in the workplace. 

Voices Data Links Working Parents in Utah1 Page 1pdfUtah Kids Count Data Links: July 2021

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We are pleased to announce that the Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the 2021 Kids Count Data Book.
Access the book today at www.aecf.org/databook

Background

For 15 years it has been the priority of the Utah KIDS COUNT Project to ensure that policymakers, advocates, community service providers, the media, and concerned citizens have quality data on how children are doing in our state. These yearly publications provide county level data on a variety of child well-being indicators.Utah showed strong gains in key indicators of child well-being from 2010 to 2019, according to the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a 50-state report on child well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how children are doing in four domains encompassing 16 child well-being indicators.

Summary of the 2021 Utah Kids Count Data 

This year’s Data Book shows nearly a decade of progress in all but two of the indicators.

Troublesome indicators appear in the Health domain as low birth-weight babies and child and teen death rates both saw increases over the decade. The percentage of babies born at low birth weight rose from 7.0% in 2010 to 7.4% in 2019, a 6% increase; Utah fell in the national rankings from 12th to13th in this indicator. Similarly, the child and teen death rate rose from 24 deaths per 100,000 children in 2010 to 26 in 2019, an 8% increase. Utah fell in the rankings for this indicator from 14th to 24th.

While Utah showed improvement in most areas of child well-being over the last decade, when comparing 2020 data to 2021 data our rankings from last year fell in all but one category:

- Overall ranking fell from 4th to 5th

- Economic Well-Being fell from 2nd to 5th

- Health ranking fell from 13th to 18th

- Family and Community fell from 1st to 2nd

- Education remained the same at 10th

“The bad news is Utah is not keeping pace with the states that continue to improve,” said Terry Haven, deputy director of Voices for Utah Children, Utah’s member of the KIDS COUNT network.
“The good news is it wouldn’t take much to help our rankings start trending upward again. For example, if Utah wanted to rank number one in percentage of low birth-weight babies, it would only have to reduce the number by 532 babies.”

Impact of the Pandemic on Utah Kids

Sixteen indicators measuring four domains — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community context — are used by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in each year’s Data Book to assess child well-being. The annual KIDS COUNT data and rankings represent the most recent information available but do not capture the impact of the past year:

ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: In 2019, 91,000 children lived in households with an income below the poverty line. Nationally, Utah is praised for its economic success, but Utah families continue to face rapidly increasing housing costs. Utah ranked 10th in 2018 for children living in households that spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and the state dropped to 17th in 2019. With the current housing prices in Utah, it is quite possible this trend will get worse.

EDUCATION: In 2019, Utah education ranking held steady at 10th in the nation. However, Utah’s early education numbers still lag behind much of the country with close to 60% of 3- and 4-year olds not attending school. Utah ranks in the bottom third of states for this indicator.

AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: In 2019, 82,000 children in Utah did not have health insurance. The state made an effort to provide all children in Utah with health insurance through the passage of legislation. While the bill was enacted, not enough funding was appropriated to cover all kids. Utah continues to rank 41st in the nation for uninsured children.

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY CONTEXT: Utah has consistently ranked first in the category but fell a bit in 2019 to second. Utah did make improvements in the number of children in single-parent families. In 2018, Utah had 174,000 children in single-parent families but in 2019, the number dropped to 168,000 children.

Let's Continue to #InvestInUtahKids

Investing in children, families and communities is a priority to ensure an equitable and expansive recovery. Several of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s suggestions have already been enacted in the American Rescue Plan, and additional recommendations include:

  1. Congress should make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent. The child tax credit has long had bipartisan support, so lawmakers should find common cause and ensure the largest one-year drop ever in child poverty is not followed by a surge.
  2. State and local governments should prioritize the recovery of hard-hit communities of color.
  3. States should expand income support that helps families care for their children. Permanently extending unemployment insurance eligibility to contract, gig and other workers and expanding state tax credits would benefit parents and children.
  4. States that have not done so should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The American Rescue Plan offers incentives to do so.
  5. States should strengthen public schools and pathways to postsecondary education and training.

Release Information

The 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is available at https://www.aecf.org/resources/2021-kids-count-data-book. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.                                                                             

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INVEST IN UTAH'S KIDS - ENSURE UTAH'S FUTURE

The Utah KIDS COUNT Project is built around the idea that data helps us tell the story of our communities, makes us aware of problems, and brings to the forefront a discussion of the policy solutions that can make a difference in outcomes for kids. Our policy choices reflect our priorities and our priorities should be based on fact -- solid, reliable, acFirst Page of Bookcessible data on how kids are doing in our state. This annual publication, “Measures of Child Well-Being in Utah” is a first step in the process.

But how can collecting data help kids? Data can help policymakers and advocates identify problems that require action. Data can identify successful policies that should be continued or expanded. As resources become more limited, data can help policymakers track whether taxpayer dollars are being effectively invested to maximize limited resources. Data also helps service providers prove the need for programs as they write grants to support Utah’s children and their families. Data counts and helps us make KIDS COUNT. We hope this publication is useful as you work to ensure that our state invests in kids and creates a thriving state for the future.

Terry Haven, Deputy Director

 pdfMeasures of Child Well-Being in Utah, 2020

 

A note on the data and the COVID Pandemic:

There is always a lag in data collection which means that the data presented in the data book is often several years behind. Given the effect that COVID has had on many child well-being indicators such as unemployment, poverty, and a myriad of health indicators, it is important to note that some of the indicators in this publication may look very different at this point in time. The Annie E. Casey recognizes the importance of how COVID has affected children and there is now a COVID section of data on the Data Center. The data is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. You can learn more about this data on page 17 in this publication.



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July 30, 2020

Kids Count

stateofutahKIDS COUNT© is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Voices for Utah Children that provides statistical data on the education, health and economic well-being of children and their families. Utilizing KIDS COUNT© data allows policymakers and community leaders to make data-driven decisions that will provide a better future for our state's youngest citizens.

Utah KIDS COUNT© Data Book

For 15 years it has been the priority of the Utah KIDS COUNT© Project to ensure that policymakers, advocates, community service providers, the media, and concerned citizens have quality data on how children are doing in our state. These yearly publications provide county level data on a variety of child well-being indicators.

2023 Utah KIDS COUNT© Data Book

National Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT© Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being 

  • 2024 (Released June 2024)
  • 2023 (Released June 2023)

How are kids doing nationwide?

Visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation website for nationwide data

How Does Utah Rank?

How does Utah Rank?

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For immediate release

Contact: Terry Haven, , 801-364-1182 or 801-554-6570

Utah Ranks Fourth Overall in Child Well-Being, But Falls Near the Bottom (41st) for Children Without Health Insurance

31st KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States and shows Utah still struggles in some health areas.

SALT LAKE CITY —Utah ranked fourth among states for overall child well-being, according to the 31st edition of the KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Among the four domains, Utah ranked highest in family and community, landing in the number one spot, and lowest in health, ranking 13th among all the states. The 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States and notes measurable progress since the first Data Book, which was published in 1990. Nevertheless, almost 90,000 Utah children lived in poverty according to the latest data and serious racial and ethnic disparities persist.   

“A ranking of fourth is a great place to be,” said Terry Haven, Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children. “The Data Book can tell us how to get to number one if that’s where we want to be.”

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — as an assessment of child well-being. Utah improved their ranking or stayed the same in all four domains. Utah ranks:

  • Second in economic well-being. Utah rose in ranking from fourth to second in economic well-being. However, 23% of Utah kids lived in households with high housing cost burdens and almost 90,000 Utah children still lived in poverty in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. (All of the data in this year’s report is from prior to the COVID-19 crisis.)
  • 10th in education. Utah rose in ranking from 13th to 10th. The good news is that Utah has made improvement in the percent of young children (ages 3 and 4) who were in preschool, even though the state still lags behind the national average in this area.
  • First in the family and community domain. Utah remained number one in this domain, improving or staying the same in all four indicators. However, Utah did see a slight increase in the number of children in single-parent families from 2017 to 2018, even though the percentage remained the same.
  • 13th in health. Utah’s health ranking in the 2019 Data Book was 21st, although because one of the four measures of child health comprising the indicator changed, the rankings cannot be directly compared. Utah lagged behind the rest of the nation with regard to the percentage of children who lacked health insurance.

Release Information:

The 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book will be available June 22 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/databook . Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs, and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT® Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org

About Voices for Utah Children:

At Voices for Utah Children, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. And to achieve this vision, we make sure all kids are ready to learn and they and their families are healthy and economically secure. For more information, visit www.utahchildren.org.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

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