Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20 2014 9:30 a.m. MDT
Poverty is contextual. Provo is impoverished in many ways, although perhaps not
Yes there is a large population in Provo and Orem that live in poverty. And
it's not just the student population. My sister teaches in an elementary
school in one of the impoverished Orem neighborhoods... and it's staggering
to hear the stories of kids who are super poor, and stories of parents who
don't seem to care about their kids and their education, or even care if
they learn to speak English or not.
If this explanation was true, all the college towns would be on the list. They
are not. Perhaps we need to look at Provo again, and realize that it's
It's been long acknowledged that Utah workers will accept lower
wages/salaries. Reimbursement for many types of things are lower here in Utah
for myriad reasons. Granted, $100 here will get you $106 in goods, but that
certainly doesn't make up for it.
BYU has been there for over 140 years...There has always been a higher
student ratio in Provo.ALWAYS.What the writer is missing - or
intentionally ignoring to make a case - is the fact that the study is showing
that the rate of poverty is "Increasing", and at 4 times the rate
as anywhere else.Now, I'm not an economist nor a BYU fan,
but I can tell you that BYU students have not magically QUADRULPED in
number over the last 8 years in Provo.Therefore -- This has
little to nothing to do with the number of students [which, as I have
previsouly pointed out -- have ALWAYS been there], and Everything to do
with a crummy economy, earnings not keeping up with inflation, a growing number of minimum wage jobs, a minimum wage that is not going
up, and a complete lack and growth of higher paying jobs...Deal with the FACTS, please.
"That is true in any college town, but it is especially true in one with an
institution as unique as BYU. Many students in Provo are married with children.
"This is the sort of thing (young married couples who have
children quickly) that gives Utah a higher rate of 47%ers than you'd think
for a state that has one of the lowest unemployment rates.
So if the student population is more or less constant how come Provo's
poverty is growing? It's growing because of the very soft economy. I
suspect Utah County is a lot like Davis County with wealth on the hill, but
grinding poverty on the flats. My wife taught at one of the Davis County
elementary schools - she'll tell you there is plenty of poverty there.
One thing is for certain there is poverty everywhere in Utah one thing that
needs to be addressed is what about the other college towns that are in Utah are
they in poverty when they have colleges in them for example Salt Lake with UofU
and Logan with Utah State. or even Ogden with Weber state. all of these cities
have colleges in them and we all have portions of the city that are poor.I don't believe for a second that it is just because BYU is in
Provo that is causing Provo to be ranked that high on the list.
I don't know if this would affect the calculation, but Provo has a lot of
UVU students living here plus other colleges. It is not just BYU
You don't have to spend a whole lot of time in Provo to realize the
problem.Illegals work in all the fast food shops and construction
sites. Since they will work for substandard wages THEY also contribute
substantially to the poverty rates.The irony is when I see them
building the McMansions on the west and extreme east side of Provo - most likely
for someone who ENABLES their lawbreaking!It used to be that they
only came to Provo/Orem areas during the summer to work the orchards (I worked
alongside them BTW), now they work - well, pretty much everywhere so that the
contractors can make even more $$$.
I thought a degree from BYU was rated as one of the top financial values with
more earning power than any university in the country. Just not in Provo I
While at BYU, I heard from an economics professor that if one was to draw a line
starting on the east bench of Provo and move it southwest to the southern
boundary of the town, and map incomes along that line, one would find the
sharpest drop in incomes over a comparatively short distance anywhere in the
country. I can't speak to the data behind that assertion, but
I found it deeply troubling. And this was over a decade ago, so this is not a
recent issue.More Saints should read Hugh Nibley's
"Approaching Zion" - Nibley had profoundly stinging criticisms for those
who ignore the stark inequality in our midst. As a longtime resident of Provo,
Nibley had ample observations to draw upon.
What in Tucket?Many BYU students live in Orem. With UVU there, why
isn't Orem growing as fast as Provo? I think that has been answered.
Gotta ask the NEXT question then...How many of these Utah County [95% GOP, hard-core Republicans], are qualifying for and taking
Government; FoodStamps, Financial Aid, WIC programs,CHiP, etc.Before anyone begins throwing stones at me, I confess --I'm really OK with it, That's what
they're there for, use them, get through college, get a
good job, be thankful, and then pay it back and pay it forward
via taxes! but then again -- that's what makes me a
Liberal.BTW Like Jesus -- What I really can't stand is
those who are Hypocrites.
If you think Provo is 95% Republican, or BYU students are 95% Republican, you
need to spend some time in Provo.
Go down to The Boulders apartments. It isn't BYU student housing but
families, many Hispanic, trying hard to eek out a living.
As someone who got multiple degrees from BYU after an eternity at the place, I
whole heartedly agree with the statements concerning the mansions on the
hillside versus the shanties in the valley. There is a frightening wealth
discrepancy in Provo.
I'm close to the situation and so I have to agree with many of the other
previous posters.It's Reaganomics at it's finest.The richie 1 percent lives on the east side. They employ thousands of cheap
laborers. Most of these are cheap college students just trying to make ends meet
and illegals. So a handful make a killing while the rest wallow in poverty.
Those who can leave, do so. Years of republican policy has encouraged illegal
immigration. In fact, they love it because they don't have to pay good
wages or give any benefits. The repubs only answer for illegal immigration is
amnesty (Reagan & Bush)Rampant poverty is a common symptom of
places that have been ravaged by failed trickle down nonsense. Just look at how
many southern red states are wallowing in poverty and demanding welfare
handouts.We need to become less a right to work state and become are
right to a livable wage state. Junk failed right wing economics promoted by an
What in tucket - the astronomical growth of UVU indeed plays a big role.
Roughly half of those living in the area of UVU live in Provo, many because BYU
approved housing now can take students from other schools - mostly UVU, but also
some local trade schools. Another big impact comes from a part of
Obamacare - that health insurance companies must insure children of their
insured up to the age of 26, regardless of whether that child is a dependent for
tax purposes, This allows a student to file from Provo where they live and work
full-time, and not have to file from their parent's home address to be
eligible as an adult defendant student as most insurance companies required in
the past. This also allows low-income students to get a variety government
benefits.And yes there is a real poverty issue in Provo, just as
there is in most Utah cities - and most cities in the US for that matter.
Google "bishaw.pdf" and click on the top link. It's to a census
bureau site where a paper on this very topic is published "Examining the
Effects of Off-Campus College Students on Poverty Rates" (or you can just
google the title of the paper!).In Table 6, page 20 of the document,
you'll see "Provo City" listed on line 4. The data show that
between 2009 & 2011, roughly 32.5% of the residents of Provo were at some
time classified as living below the poverty level. Factor students living
off-campus, however, and that percentage drops by over a third to 21.5%. Which
puts the rate of poverty in the city of Provo significantly lower on the list of
places with high rates of poverty.Bottom line more than a third of
those "in poverty" in Provo are students living off campus.
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