Utah Recognized as one of the Best States for Child Well-Being

Utah recently gained high praise and recognition for its excellence in childhood well-being from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In their 2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book, the Foundation ranked Utah 4th out of all 50 states for child well-being. This heartening result speaks to the hard work of many parents, educators, and community members who seek to improve the lives of our children.

Each year, the Foundation releases their KIDS COUNT Data Book which tracks child well-being along four different metrics: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. This year, Utah ranked 2nd in Economic Well-Being, 10th in Education, 13th in Health, and 1st in Family and Community.

These four categories each play a critical role in childhood development and set the stage for future success in adulthood. Economic well-being for children means living in homes where parents have sustainable incomes, access to housing, and a means to invest in their child’s future. In Utah, we know how important it is to prioritize economic strength, and continue to lower the child poverty rate, which is currently 10 percent—the lowest in the nation. 

Education is also vital for preparing children to thrive in an increasingly global job market. A robust education system requires attention to early learning opportunities in the home as well as in traditional education settings. Governor Herbert has made the improvement of early learning one of the four cornerstones of his Education Roadmap, and has consistently aligned his proposed budget with these education priorities. 

Health is another important factor that is often recognized as the basis for success. When children start their lives healthy, they are better able to enjoy success in other facets of life. 

Family and community also play a critical role, as children who live in nurturing families and supportive communities often realize greater personal and academic achievement. As noted in the KIDS COUNT report, Utah leads the nation in part due to the drop in teen births and a reduction in the number of children living in high poverty areas. 

Over the last 10 years, Utah has managed to improve in 13 of the 16 areas the Foundation uses to measure childhood well-being. Though we are not aiming for fourth place, the findings of the report validate Utah’s commitment to our children. Providing safe and engaging communities, supporting educational opportunities, and making sure parents have the resources they need to raise their children is a sustained multi-faceted effort. Governor Herbert is proud to have worked with partners in government, education, and community organizations to support families and make these positive results possible. 

Moving forward, the governor hopes to continue to make improvements to childhood well-being in the state. He firmly believes in investing in our children, and will continue to work on cultivating an environment in Utah where young people can flourish. Together, we can help further cement Utah’s status as the best state in the nation to raise a family.

(Photos from 2018)