Study: Poverty Still Rising in Utah

Study: Poverty Still Rising in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An annual snapshot of poverty in Utah shows the rate continues to rise, but is still below national levels.

Seventy-five percent of residents living in poverty came from a household where at least one family member works, and three quarters of them are white, according to Poverty in Utah 2004, which is produced by the low-income advocacy group Utah Issues.

Most grew up in a two-parent home and many have a high school diploma or some college education.

Total, the study showed about 250,000 Utah residents live in poverty.

Though leveling off, the state's poverty rate still is rising, from 9.4 percent in 2000 to 10.6 percent in 2004. That is below the national rate of 11.8 percent. But during the same period, others states' rates declined, notes the report, released Wednesday and available online.

Editor Heather Tritten said the good news is the economy is recovering and unemployment is dropping, but the benefits haven't yet trickled down to the poorest of the poor.

"Having a job isn't good enough," she said.

According to the report, Utah residents who earn $16,000 pay 11.4 percent of their annual income in state and local taxes, whereas those who bring home $280,000 pay 5.5 percent.

Based on real wages, Utah workers are worse off now than they were in 1979, having dropped an average of 3 percent, the survey shows.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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