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Utah ranks 11th for child well-being, study shows

By Shara Park and Linda Williams, | Posted - Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 9:33am

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah ranks as the 11th best state for child well-being, according to an annual report. However, the report also shows the percentage of Utah children in poverty has risen by 25 percent over the last two decades.

The group Voices for Utah Children released the 25th edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book Tuesday.

It shows last year, Utah ranked 14th overall. This year’s ranking makes Utah one of the most improved states. However, just five years ago Utah was No. 3.

The report found Utah has great families and communities but needs to improve its education system. Utah’s highest domain score was for family and community, ranking second behind New Hampshire. Utah was weakest in education, ranking 29th due to lower high school graduation rates and preschool enrollment rates than the national averages.

The study also found Utah children are less likely to give birth during their teen years and more likely to survive adulthood than children 25 years ago.

Some other shifts in Utah children’s wellbeing cited in the report include:

  • Percentage of Utah children in poverty rose by 25 percent from 1990 to 2012

  • Percentage of children living in households that spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing rose by 55 percent from 1990 to 2012.

  • Teen birth rate dropped by 52 percent from 1990 to 2012.

  • Child and teen death rate dropped by 37 percent from 1990 to 2010
  • The report credits this to medical advances and improved safety measures, like using seatbelts.

Similar trends were observed at the national level, the report states.

A copy of the full report can be found on the Casey Foundation website.

Shara Park
Linda Williams

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