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Comments about ‘Utah ranks 4th for child well-being’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 10:43 p.m. MST

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MacMama
Sandy, UT

This article raised red flags in my mind on several levels, but mostly because of this: Why is the well-being of our children dependent on how much the government spends on them? I have always thought- silly me- that the well being of my children has more to do with how my husband and I- as the parents- care for and nurture my children regardless of our income and tax rate. Now I find out that it really doesn't have much to do with parents- my child's well being is determined by how much tax money the state takes and how much they spend on children's programs. The trend of this is disturbing.

  • 7:28 a.m. Jan. 18, 2012
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milhouse
Atlanta, GA

MacMama,

The data in this case don't lie, government spending on children does significantly help the well-being of children. But correlation is not always causation. It could be, for instance that better parents are willing to pay taxes to help their own children as well as the children of others. So New Jersey has the highest taxes because it has parents who want to be involved financially in the community, and not because they are passing the job of parenting to the government.

Don Bugg
Prince Frederick, MD

The article makes passing mention of Utah holding 19th place for teen pregnancy. What isn't clear to me is whether that figure includes 19-year-old married women.

tom_e
Kaysville, UT

With an entitled generation of course the well being of a child depends on the welfare entitlements from the state.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

" Why is the well-being of our children dependent on how much the government spends on them?"

That is because the well-being of our children includes the children whose parents are doing an inadequate job so there's a question of how strong the safety net is for those kids in that case.

Lilljemalm
Gilbert, AZ

After spending time in NJ, and seeing conditions in many areas, I find it hard to believe that their children are so well off on average.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Another bogus "study" by an advocacy group with an agenda.

It is so easy to cherry pick data points and weight them to come up with any "results" you want. Then shove them in a fax machine and send to the news media.

What is really amazing is that some "news" outlets are so gullible, or totally failing to do even cursory questioning of the "information" they are fed, that they actually print this stuff.

Firing all those reporters and editors has not really made the content of the Deseret News any better.

What a waste of ink and space!

J-TX
Allen, TX

There are at least two states that buck the assumption that more spending / taxation equals better child welfare. Utah in the good way - Lower $$, better child welfare, and Texas - High taxes, but 39th in child welfare. (Yes, we have no income tax, but 8.25% sales tax and one of the highest property tax rates in the country. Plus we spend about $9500 per child in school.)

THere are ancillary reasons for both - In Utah, 2-parent homes and predominant religion that has a health code and values the family - In Texas, many illegal immigrant families and wide open spaces where rural children fall through the cracks.

The conclusions drawn by the study seem to state that throwing money at our children increases their welfare. In a way, of course, they are right. :-) However, there are so many variables that contribute to child well being that I do not put much stock in their hypotheses nor their conclusions.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

First, let me point out that Illinois also spends big bucks -- some of the highest rates in the nation -- on kids and has high taxes (5% income and 7.25% sales). Yet, according to the chart doesn't do very well on child well-being.

J-TX: Well said. One thing that is glossed over in the article and probably by the study is that Utah has the lowest rate of single-parent families. I'm in agreement with Macmama that two parent families invariably will have a higher rate of child-wellbeing than single-parent families. Thus, I'm also in agreement with atl134 (which doesn't happen often) that states that provide a better safety net for children in the latter situation will have a higher level of well-being. Since most of these family subsidies are available only to families with a single parent (or one income), is the government really helping? Or is it abetting the problem by encouraging the break up of families?

As J-TX points out, the question is much more complex and has many variables. Therefore, an answer is much more difficult than this article makes it appear.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

I think that this article unintentionally points out the problem that the US is facing. It isn't so much about taxes and how much the government does or does not do to improve the lives of children.

The more interesting point that can be seen is the fact that we have a societal problem where parents are not united in raising children, and that they don't set bounds to ensure that their children grow up to be productive members of society.

The bottom line is that if you want to fix what is wrong with the nation, no amount of spending by the government can fix the ills that families currently face.

lket
Bluffdale, UT

you all make good points about why we will never spend more on education and that our kids dont read as well as most of the country, and most likley never will because of you way of thinking. al kids are important even ours in utah.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

1ket: money is not the solution to reading better. Turning off video screens (TV, computer, cell phone, video game, etc.) is much more effective and a lot cheaper. Tons of studies demonstrate that children who are read to are better readers themselves. If Utah children are not the best readers, the most likely cause is too many parents are not reading to their kids and allowing an electronic screen to entertain them.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

RE: lket | 1:15 p.m. Jan. 18, 2012

Throwing money at education doesn't make it better. We don't provide birth control for 3rd graders here in Utah but we do teach them how to read and write. New York City can't make the same claim.

Madden
Herriman, UT

These articles tend to exist for two purposes:
1. Let some people pound their chests about Utah superiority
2. Give others a forum in which to make sniping comments about Mormon culture...they are always so original and inspired!

I think most people understand the reality - there is a lot more that goes into the well-being of kids than taxes and political leanings. And when it comes down to it, the overall level of family-focus in Utah leads to better results despite a population distribution that works against it. Something is going right here.

A1994
Centerville, UT

Hmm. Not bad for a state that supposedly ranks so low in education. (See article from two weeks ago.) With so many of these articles contradicting each other, I'm starting to think maybe all these studies AREN'T definitive. Weird.

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