BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL - Few people have money problems who live in Fruit Heights, but in some cities in the north, almost one in five people live below the federal poverty guidelines, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which studied incomes between 2007 and 2011.
The high rates have concerned the Family Connection Center, which serves as the county’s community action agency.
The rate varies widely throughout cities.
In some, poverty is hardly noticeable, while in other areas, a large percentage of the population falls into that category, said Daneen Adams, assistant executive director for the Family Connection Center.
The federal poverty threshold for a two-parent household with two children is $23,550 in 2013, and just $11,490 for a single person.
According to the census data, the percentage of poverty was lowest in Fruit Heights, at just 2.3 percent among more than 5,000 residents. That city typically reports among the highest average household income in the state.
At the other end of the spectrum, Clearfield reported that 17.6 percent of residents live in poverty.
The city falls into a federal “entitlement” category, meaning it receives community development block grants because of its economic status, for example.
The percentage of poverty for the cities includes:
Bountiful, 6.4 percent
Centerville, 3.2 percent
Clearfield, 17.6 percent
Clinton, 4.5 percent
Farmington, 4.4 percent
Fruit Heights, 2.3 percent
Kaysville, 5.4 percent
North Salt Lake, 9.3 percent
Layton, 7.5 percent
South Weber, 5.5 percent
Sunset, 18 percent
Syracuse, 2.7 percent
West Bountiful 5.5 percent
Woods Cross, 4.4 percent
Some people believe there is no poverty in Davis County, but that’s hardly the case, especially in Clearfield, where the Family Connection Center has its main office, Adams said.
She compiled city-by-city statistics as part of a community needs survey being conducted by the center. Findings are used to determine where emphasis should be placed in providing services, such as transportation or medical care.
The center found its poverty numbers from city-data.com, an information compilation website and social media network. Adams prefers those figures, she said, because the Census doesn’t count all the people in poverty.
Differences in the figures compiled by the center included a 22.6 percent poverty rate in Clearfield compared to 17.6 percent, a 9.7 percent rate in Layton compared to 7.5 percent, a 9.3 percent rate in Kaysville compared to 5.4 percent, and more.
In the meantime, the Voices of Utah KIDS COUNT released its yearly report, “Measures of Child Well-Being in Utah, 2013,” last week.
Its figures were based on 2011 data and showed nearly 25,600 people living in poverty in the county, or a number about equal to the populations of Kaysville or Syracuse. Of that number, 10,759 were children under the age of 18.
On a percentage basis, 8.3 percent of all county residents lived in poverty, but 10.2 percent of those under 18 fell into that category, the data showed.
In south Davis, 644 children attend Title 1 schools, or those that provide special assistance to low-income children, Davis School District figures indicate. They qualify for reduced or free lunch, for example.
“That group grew by 18 percent in the last year,” said Lorna Koci, executive director of the Bountiful Food Pantry.
Hunger can also be a sign of poverty, she said, noting that “In parts of Davis County 27 percent of households experience food hardship.”
The county’s 2011 median family income was listed at $68,971. But 8,187 households were receiving food stamps in December of 2012.