According to new findings by The Equal Opportunity Project at Harvard University, upward mobility for low-income children in Utah is among the best in the nation. In Utah, two rural counties are in the top one percent of income mobility among low-income children. These findings come following last year’s report that Salt Lake City is the number one urban area in the nation for upward mobility.

“Utah’s greatest strength lies in its rural areas and vibrant community involvement,” said Linda Gillmor, managing director of rural development at the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We believe our kids deserve the best opportunities possible, and I think our initiatives in rural Utah are paying off in dividends.”

All counties analyzed in Utah placed above the national average income, and in particular, Duchesne County placed fifth out of the 2,478 analyzed counties.

A disadvantaged child living in Duchesne County through education and services that are available to them has the opportunity to add an estimated $400 per year to their income. By age 26 the analysis noted that they could have an estimated $8,100 economic advantage over children who had been raised in the other 2,473 counties or 31 percent more than the national average income. Emery and Morgan counties performed similarly with 24 percent and 28 percent above the national average, respectively. This provides a stepping stone for a lifetime of improved economic prosperity.

Education, workforce development and an active community play an integral role in developing stronger opportunities for Utahns. Easier broadband access in rural areas and the fact that Utahns volunteer more than any other population in the U.S. are examples of continuing efforts to cultivate fertile ground for growth and success. All of these factors produce strong results for upward mobility in Utah.

Through programs at the STEM Action Center and partnerships with private industry, Utah is using education to prepare our youth for economic prosperity. Trade certificates, defining the new white collar (high-tech manufacturing jobs) and generating events such as the Utah STEM Fest, involve students, teachers and parents in an active dialogue to prepare students for the challenges of technology and the necessity for advanced skills.

“We are developing a strong workforce at the local, county and state level which provides a stronger future for Utah’s children,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “By working with the private sector and creating new ideas with all Utahns in mind, all of Utah’s kids will be able to live the American dream.”