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Important Facts for Utah Population Characteristics: Poverty, Children Age 17 and Under


Percentage of children age 17 and younger living in households with income at or below the federal poverty threshold.


Estimated number of children age 17 and younger living in households with income at or below the federal poverty threshold as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Estimated number age 17 and younger in Utah.

Data Interpretation Issues

Poverty status is determined by comparing annual income to a set of dollar values called thresholds that vary by family size, number of children, and age of householder. If a family's before tax money income is less than the dollar value of their threshold, then that family and every individual in it are considered to be in poverty. For people not living in families, poverty status is determined by comparing the individual's income to his or her threshold. The poverty thresholds are updated annually to allow for changes in the cost of living using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). They do not vary geographically. The poverty threshold for a family of four including two children was $27,479 in 2021.

Why Is This Important?

Poverty takes into account both income and family size, and has both immediate and long-lasting effects on health. Income provides an assessment of the financial resources available to individual persons or families for basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and health care) to maintain or improve their well-being. Persons living in poverty are worse off than persons in more affluent households for many of the indicators tracked by the Utah Department of Health. Poverty in the early years of a child's life, more than at any other time, has especially harmful effects on continuing healthy development and well-being, including developmental delays and infant mortality. Well-being in later childhood, such as teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and educational attainment, is also influenced by early childhood poverty.

Healthy People Objective SDOH-3.2:

Proportion of children aged 0-17 years living in poverty
U.S. Target: Not applicable; this measure is being tracked for informational purposes.

Other Objectives

Utah's 42 Community Health Indicators

How Are We Doing?

According to the American Community Survey (ACS), an estimated 9.9% of Utah children aged 17 or under (approximately 91,433 Utah children) were living in poverty in 2019. Children born into poverty are less likely to have regular health care, proper nutrition, and opportunities for mental stimulation and enrichment.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Utah has a lower percentage of children in poverty than the U.S. as a whole, 9.9% vs. 16.8% in 2019.

What Is Being Done?

While the Utah Department of Health has no program designed to reduce the number of children in poverty, there are programs such as Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) that pay for health care for eligible children.
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 12 April 2024 16:36:43 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Mon, 6 Feb 2023 10:59:25 MST