Utah Child Population Experiences Rapid Growth

A new edition of Measures of Child Well-Being in Utah by Voices for Utah Children reports that the Utah child population has increased by 24% since 2000, from about 724,000 children in 2000 to almost 900,000 in 2013. 

Public and charter school enrollment has increased accordingly, from 475,000 students in 2000 to 622,000 in 2014. More than 630,000 Utah children will enroll in 2015. 

“With the Utah child population growing this rapidly, there is no time to waste. Policymakers need to act now to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to children’s health, education and welfare,” said Terry Haven, Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children.

During the past two decades, Utah has seen steady declines in child injury death and teen pregnancy, but increases in chlamydia and suicide among youth. The percentage of women receiving early prenatal care is also lower than it was over a decade ago, but is improving.

  • In 2009-2013, the child injury death rate dropped to 13.5/100,000 population, continuing a steady decline.  The child injury death rate was 20.4/100,000 in 2000 and 5.9/100,000 in 1992.
  • Births to teenagers dropped to 121.9/10,000 females ages 15-17 in 2009-2013, down from 21.0/10,000 in 2000 and 26.8/10,000 in 1992, but chlamydia cases among youth are on the rise.  There were 896.2/100,000 cases/100,000 population ages 15-19 in 2013, compared with 360.3/100,000 in 2000.
  • Utah made headway in child suicide prevention in the nineties, but has since lost ground.  The suicide rate dropped from 12.0/100,000 population ages 10-19 in 1992 to 7.5/100,000 in 2000, but rose again to 9.4/100,000 in 2013.
  • In 2013, 76% of Utah mothers received early prenatal care, an improvement from 2009, when only 72% of Utah mothers received early prenatal care, but not as high as the 2000 rate, when 78% of Utah mothers received early prenatal care.

“With the economy improving, we can afford to address the needs of Utah’s growing child population and it would be inexcusable not to,” added Haven.

The report states that fewer households are receiving food stamps and TANF than three years ago.  In December 2014, 90,772 households received food stamps and 4,357 received TANF, compared to 107,190 and 4,713 respectively in December 2012.  An improved economy may explain the reduction in service utilization. In 2013, 42% of Utah children ages eight and younger, a total of 191,000 kids, were living at or below 200% of poverty,  an improvement over the previous year, when 45% of Utah kids in this age range were living at or below 200% of poverty.  

Data for the report were collected as part of the KIDS COUNT® project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

For more information, see the complete report:

Measures of Child Well-Being, 2015