Intergenerational Poverty: Kids and Communities

18 March 2014 Published in What's New?

Voices for Utah Children released a special report, Intergenerational Poverty: Kids and Communities, which evaluates the opportunities available to the over 52,000 children living in intergenerational poverty. The report was presented today to the Intergenerational Poverty Advisory Committee which was established by the Utah Legislature with the intent to measurably reduce the incidence of children living in the cycle of poverty.

The report’s author, Tracy S. Gruber, Senior Policy Analyst with Voices for Utah Children highlighted the findings which focused on six zip codes with 1,000 or more children living in intergenerational poverty. “We are continuing to discover that the communities in which children in poverty grow up plays a significant role in their access to opportunity and future success,” said Gruber. “Unfortunately, we discovered that within those communities, too many children are not afforded equal opportunities to success.”

The factors leading to poverty are many and no single factor determines whether a child in poverty will remain in poverty as an adult. For that reason, data from numerous state agencies, non-profits and the U.S. Census Bureau was consolidated into five domains including demographics, education, economic well-being, health, and family and community. The data was then evaluated to determine whether children in these communities are connected to quality public schools, affordable housing, transportation and other community assets such as parks, religious institutions, after school programs and quality child care centers.

The report establishes that education and health outcomes within these communities are worse than outcomes for Utah children statewide. It also reveals that challenges are compounded in these communities in which there is inadequate access to licensed child care centers, greater substantiated cases of abuse and neglect, limited employment among the parents, and a greater percentage of children living in single-parent families. Voices for Utah Children will release additional reports during 2014 proposing two-generation strategies that can help parents and children achieve their dreams together. Over the next several weeks, Voices for Utah Children will be meeting with community and business leaders serving the children highlighted in the report to gain a greater understanding of the communities beyond that which is revealed by the data.

“There are no silver bullets in ending poverty for these kids, but until we understand the challenges confronting them, we cannot establish policies that will make the greatest impact on their future success,” stated Gruber. “We hope this is just the first step in gaining greater understanding of the lives impacted by intergenerational poverty by meeting with community leaders, elected officials, school administrators and teachers and the families themselves.”