The nonprofit organization Voices for Utah Children released 25 indicators of child well-being Thursday in conjunction with Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker's Carpe Datum Summit highlighting new neighborhood details provided by the University of Utah.
The 2013 KIDS COUNT data sheets reported the state's unemployment rate at 5.4 percent in December 2012 indicating that low-wage jobs were insufficient to lift families out of poverty. At that time, 107,190 households received food stamps to help ease the family budget.
In 2011, the federal poverty level for a family of four was $22,350; for 2013, that line rose to $23,550.
"The real takeaway from the data is the reason why the Annie E. Casey Foundation funds these projects all over the country," said Terry Haven, deputy director for Voices for Utah Children.
"Children are one-third of our population here in Utah," Haven added, "and it's important that we use the data to make kids count â¦ to make sure that every child has the best opportunity for success."
The 2013 KIDS COUNT data includes county-by-county numbers along with state totals. In 2011, 13.6 percent of Utahns and 16.2 of the state's children lived in poverty.
Those percentages were higher for Salt Lake County, the state's most populous area, where in 2011, 14.5 percent of the population and close to 19 percent of youth under 18 lived below the federal poverty line.
Salt Lake County's median income in 2011 was $56,166, and in December 2012, unemployment was at 5.2 percent.
The more rural Carbon County logged similarly high percentages in poverty 14.8 percent of it 21,011 residents lived below the federal poverty line, along with 18.7 percent of the county's children. Median income in 2011 was $47,585, and 7.2 percent were unemployed in December 2012.
Washington County, in the southwest corner of the state, logged 15.7 percent of its population in poverty in 2011 along with a staggering 23.8 percent of youth under 18. Median family income in 2011 was $46,001, and the unemployment rate for December 2012 was 6.3 percent.
The data sheets rolled out a new category stating the number of adults who lived in intergenerational poverty in 2010, part of a new drive in Utah to devise different solutions to treat long-term, systemic poverty as opposed to the more temporary situational poverty that stems from a job loss, home foreclosure, medical emergency or unforeseen misfortune.
A statement from Voices for Utah Children said that Thursday's Carpe Datum summit "underscores the important part that data plays for policymakers and city planners."
Poverty across the state in 2011
Statewide • 13.6 percent of population and 16.2 percent of children in poverty
Carbon County • 14.8 percent of population and 18.7 percent of children in poverty
Salt Lake County • 14.5 percent of population and 18.8 percent of children in poverty
Washington County • 15.7 percent of population and 23.8 percent of children in poverty
Source: KIDS COUNT 2013 Data Sheets