Kids Count

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.

Measures of Child Well-Being

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.

Measures of Child Well-Being in Utah, 2020

2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book

2021 State Trends in Child Well-Being, Annie E. Casey Foundation 

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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2020 Election Issues Guide

Health Equity 2 for reportAmerican psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner formulated the Ecological Systems Theory to explain how the inherent qualities of children and their environments interact to influence how they grow and develop.

As Utah grapples with the effects of the coronavirus and COVID-19, this election year challenges us all to think bigger, broader, and longer-term. What lessons must we learn from the public health emergency? What has worked and has not in the actions already taken by state and local authorities? What weaknesses in Utah's economic and social structures were exposed by the pandemic that demand increased attention by Utah's next governor and legislators? What challenges can we now see that we should have addressed years ago to improve our resilience and ability to adapt to emergency circumstances? 

While it is certainly true that the direct health effects of the coronavirus impact older adults the most, it is Utah's children who may bear the most lasting scars. Unable to attend school in person, relying on their parents or guardians to be their "home teachers" in a new sense, we already know that tens of thousands of Utah's children will fall behind in ways that will be difficult to make up. The decisions that our new governor and legislators make in the years to come will determine whether and how much our social and economic gaps expand as a result. 

The public offices on the ballot in November include:

  • Governor and Lt. Governor
  • Half of the State Senate
  • The entire Utah House of Representatives

Our elected officials play a central role in determining whether all Utah's children have the opportunity to achieve their potential. Will they have access to healthcare and education? Will their families enjoy the economic stability they need to thrive? These are all questions that will be answered by Utah's next governor and legislature.

Voices for Utah Children is providing this Election Issues Guide so that candidates for elected office can better understand the challenges facing Utah's children. We are also seeking to encourage public awareness and dialogue about the needs of children during this year's campaigns so that our new governor and legislature will begin their terms of office prepared to enact effective policies to protect their youngest constituents. 

We have divided this Election Issues Guide into five sections:

Kids Count

Health

Juvenile Justice

Early Childhood

Tax & Budget/Economic Performance

The Election Issues Guide can also be downloaded as a pdf15-page pdf at this link for easier printing. 

Kids Count

Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, our KIDS COUNT® work aims to provide Utah’s legislators, public officials and child advocates with reliable data, policy recommendations and other tools needed to advance the kinds of sound policies that benefit children and families across the state.

In 2019, Utah held on to its ranking among the top ten in the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT® Data Book report, coming in at 7th highest in the nation. We especially shined in the subcategory of "Family and Community," where we ranked #1 thanks to our highest-in-the-nation share of two-parent families and low share of children growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods. We also ranked 4th highest in the subcategory of "Economic Well-Being" thanks to our relatively low share of children in poverty.  

But we failed to make the top ten in the other two subcategories in the KIDS COUNT® rankings, due to the fact that public policy has fallen short in precisely those two areas: education and health care. We barely outperformed the nation for high school graduation (and fell behind after adjusting for demographics). And we fell behind in the share of children with health insurance, especially among Utah's Latino children, who suffer from the highest uninsured rate in the nation. 

All the KIDS COUNT® ranking details are viewable on the chart and links below. 

Terry Haven Terry Haven 300
Deputy Director
Voices for Utah Children

 

More Information:

Our Kids Count Homepage

2019 Kids Count Data Book

Measures of Well-Being in Utah, 2019

Talking Kids Tour 2019 - A Supplement to the 2019 Utah KIDS COUNT Data Book

2019KC UT 1pager

Health

Every Utah child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter where their family comes from or where they live in our state. No family should be denied care or afraid to seek the care they need. We must ensure that all Utah parents and kids have affordable health coverage and care. That is why Voices for Utah Children spearheads the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign, so that all children in Utah have insurance. Together we can promote healthy communities where all Utah families thrive.

All Utah children, families, and communities should have access to:

  • Webpage HC graphicPre-natal care and insurance, including mental health support for caregivers;
  • Continuous, comprehensive health coverage and care for all Utah kids;
  • Healthy communities and environments, including access to healthy food, clean drinking water and clean air.

To learn more about the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign visit: https://utahchildren.org/issues/100-kids-covered

Contact Jessie Mandle or Ciriac Alvarez Valle

Jessie   Ciriac

More Information:

What Does the Coronavirus Mean for Families’ Access to Health Care?

New Report Finds Number of Uninsured Latino Children in Utah on the Rise

Legislature funds 12-month continuous eligibility for children on Medicaid age 0-5 to address our 44th place kids coverage ranking

Voices for Utah Children Opposes New Trump Administration Medicaid Block Grant Guidance

Voices for Utah Children opposes Trump Administration Public Charge Rule

Voices for Utah Children celebrates Utah Medicaid Expansion

Juvenile Justice

Voices for Utah Children believes in a youth-centered juvenile justice system that meets the needs of the children involved in it, while producing positive outcomes for Utah families and protecting community safety. We are committed to the belief that children should be nurtured, educated and given an equitable chance at success in life. That means allowing young people to make mistakes, learn from them, develop accountability to themselves and their communities, and work through their own unique challenges as they prepare for their lives as adults.

Voices for Utah Children advocates for juvenile justice system that is fair, effective and equitable.  Such a system creates positive outcomes for different children, using evidence-based and culturally-competent programs, that meets the needs of children from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, religious paths and belief systems, and sexual orientations and gender identities. We'll know that Utah has a fair, effective and equitable system when the youth themselves, their families and their communities, believe that the system is working in their best interest. In addition, we will see existing disparities between children of different races - in terms of contact with the system, the seriousness of dispositions, and the barriers to exiting the system quickly - disappear. 

While we actively engage in policy analysis and advocacy directed at the policymakers who are able to remore structural barriers to youth success, we also work to empower advocates and community members alike, arming people with information that allows them to advocate for the young people in their lives who may be system-involved or at risk for system involvement. 

More Information:

April 6, 2020 COVID-19 Update on Utah's Juvenile Justice System in: English, Spanish

April 27, 2020 COVID-19 Update on Utah's Juvenle Justice System in: English, Spanish (Part 1 & Part 2)

Good News for Juvenile Justice Reformers, from the 2019 Legislative Session 

Report: Utah children face barriers to accessing defense attorneys 

Let's End Racial Disparities in Utah's Juvenile Justice System 

Anna Thomas, MPA
Senior Policy Analyst
Voices for Utah Children

Early Childhood

The early years in a child’s life are critically important in terms of social, emotional and cognitive development. All children deserve to start their lives with a real chance to succeed and be happy later in life, but not all children have access to the things that set them up for that kind of future. We believe that when the wellbeing of young children is at the center of public policy and community investment, our entire state does better.

That is why Voices for Utah Children focuses on promoting targeted investments in early childhood care and education, structured to meet the unique needs (and build on the unique strengths) of Utah's many diverse communities. We believe it is possible to build an early childhood system in Utah that supports families with young children by making sure they have access to affordable and appropriate options for their children’s early care and learning—whether children spend their days at home, in formal child care, at public school, or in the care of trusted family and friends. 

Anna Thomas, MPA
Senior Policy Analyst
Voices for Utah Children

 More Information:

There’s No “Re-Opening” Utah Without More Child Care

National Orgs Call for Emergency Child Care Sector Relief

Three Things Utah Can Do to Ensure Right-Sized Access to Full-Day Kindergarten

Kinship Care Families Need Our Support

Tax & Budget/Economic Performance

InvestmentInChildrenAndEconomicGrowth website

Tax and Budget: Every year, Utah's taxes (income, sales, gas, and property taxes) generate revenues that government then expends in ways that profoundly affect families and communities. The fiscal choices Utah makes — such as whether to invest in Utah's future or give in to the temptation to cut taxes below their current overall low level — will make a critical difference in the lives of the next generation of Utahns. If we make the best choices, we can help foster opportunity for all our children and lay the foundations for Utah's future growth and prosperity.

Last year the Utah State Tax Commission and the Utah Foundation both published research showing that taxes in Utah are the lowest that they have been in 30-50 years, following repeated rounds of tax cutting. Tax cutting is undoubtedly popular, especially in election years, but is it always wise? At some point we need to ask ourselves a difficult question: Is the current generation of Utahns doing our part, as earlier generations did, to set aside sufficient resources every year to invest in our children, in our future, in the foundations of tomorrow’s prosperity and quality of life? And more immediately and specifically, given the Coronavirus Recession's expected impacts on the Utah state budget, should we reconsider the 2018 election-year decision to reduce our income tax rate from 5% to 4.95%, a $50 million tax cut that mostly benefitted high-income households? 

Voices for Utah Children's fiscal policy program works to ensure that we invest sufficient resources to ensure that our kids get world-class education and health care as well as special support for children most in need.

At the same time, we also work to ensure that public revenues are generated in ways that are fair. No family should be taxed into poverty as the price of educating their children. Currently, while we've moved in a better direction over the past 25 years, Utah does tax about 100,000 families into or deeper into poverty every year. In addition, the lowest-income Utahns pay a higher overall tax rate (7.5%) than those with the highest incomes (who pay 6.7% of their incomes in state and local taxes). That's one of the reasons why Voices for Utah Children supports making Utah the 30th state in the nation with our own Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), starting with Utahns working their way out of intergenerational poverty. 

Economic Performance: Voices for Utah Children examines and reports on Utah's economic performance from the perspective of how low- and moderate-income Utahns experience the economy -- some examples appear in the links below.  

Matthew Weinstein, MPP Matthew Weinstein
State Priorities Partnership Director
Voices for Utah Children

 virtuous cycle website

More Information:

Why Utah Should Invest In Our Future, Not Tax Cuts

Voices for Utah Children's Assessment of the Positive and Negative Aspects of the December 2019 Tax Restructuring Effort

Why Should Utah Become the 30th State with Our Own Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The History of Tax Incidence in Utah 1995-2018   

Inequality in Utah Compared to Other States and the Nation

Utah Working Families Economic Performance Benchmarking Project: Utah vs. Idaho


 

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February 14, 2020

Make Sure Utah Counts 2020

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In 2019, we took on the ambitious goal of visiting every county in Utah.  We shared county information from our annual KIDS COUNT book and talked about the importance of the upcoming Census 2020. 

To read about the key issues that we heard during our tour, please click on the image below. 

2020.02.10

pdfTalking Kids Tour 2019 - A Supplement to the 2019 Utah KIDS COUNT Data Book

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December 11, 2019

Thanks for Talking!

Everyone at Voices for Utah Children would like to express our gratitude to everyone that met with us on the “Talking Kid’s Tour 2019”. We shared information from our KIDS COUNT County data pages with everyone and reminded them about the upcoming 2020 Census and how an undercount could affect their communities. We received so much informative and insightful feedback. 

We had the opportunity to meet with local elected officials, school district leadership, health departments, Head Start programs and community organizations that I want to share some of the key takeaways we have learned to date.

• Mental Health is a major issue facing our youth population. We are seeing an increase of trauma statewide and we do not have an adequate number of providers in any county. We heard stories of children as young as four being in crisis.
• Addiction is having a major impact on our youth. We confirmed that opiods are still an issue, but that meth was back in a large number of communities. The impact on the children and communities is devastating.
• Childcare is a major issue. There is a clear lack of affordable and accessible space statewide. A year of childcare for children 0-3 currently costs more than an average year of college in Utah.
• Insurance coverage for our youth is a problem on a number of fronts. Our current Medicaid coverage does not guarantee continuous coverage and the average child is only enrolled for 11 months annually. We also saw a 22% increase in the overall number of uninsured children in Utah.
• Communities are funding Pre-K programs with a combination of grant funds and local financial supports. Many communities would like to expand their programs but do not have the resources.
• There is a growing demand for Optional Extended Day Kindergarten. This is being driven by both educators and the economy. There are more families where both adults are working and the need for an extended day is critical.
• The majority of the counties expressed serious concerns regarding Tax Reform. They are worried that there will be an increased burden placed on local school boards to make up funding gaps, which they really cannot afford. There is also a concern that the increased gas and grocery tax will hurt those most in need. They acknowledge that the credits help, but they are more concerned about the immediate impact of the increased costs.
• We learned of so much great work being done locally to meet the challenges outlined. There are tremendous partnerships being formed in many counties and regions. We felt privileged to be able to spend time and learn from these leaders
• Many innovative programs being piloted are transferrable and we are in the process of connecting some of the groups. A few examples are having dental and diabetic screenings at local food banks, bringing health care directly to Title One schools that qualify, and Identifying grants and funding sources for Early Childhood Education.

We have been to 25 Counties and are planning to continue holding meetings into the New Year . It has been invaluable to go directly into the local communities and meet so many wonderful people. The work being done on the ground has been truly inspirational and motivating. I was asked at a gathering- “What is the good news”- to which I replied that the people in the room were the good news.

Our state is fortunate to have so many good people trying to do good work on behalf of our children. We are thankful to have spent time with them and look forward to continuing to be their VOICE!

Thanks,

Moe Hickey
CEO
Voices for Utah Children

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