SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Poverty rates in Utah are on the rise, and it appears single moms are struggling the most.
In a new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 43 percent of single moms living in Salt Lake County were living below the federal poverty line in 2011.
Overall, the survey found that 13 and a half percent of Utah's population lives in poverty.
While all areas of Utah are affected - with almost 16 percent of the state's children living in poverty, the numbers are even worse in southern Utah. In Washington County alone, one in four children are living in poverty.
The survey blames low paying jobs or no jobs at all as major culprits of the poverty trend, and so does Catherine Trujillo who has been struggling for months to try to raise her grand-daughter in this economy. "It is really hard, especially if you get sick, down and out, or lose your job," said Trujillo.
After finding cancer cells in her pancreas, Trujillo had to leave her job. Now, several months later, with nowhere to live, she's staying temporarily at the Road Home in downtown Salt Lake. "It has been the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life. I have cried. I have wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up again."
Trujillo says she sees hundreds of moms every day at the shelter who are looking for work, but the lack of jobs and rising costs of childcare are making it difficult for those moms to get back on their feet. "There's not a lot for us to do out there and then finding the daycare without the money to pay for the daycare...it's a problem," said Trujillo.
Despite the emotional toll that poverty is taking on her family, Trujillo says for now all she can do is hope for a better future and take each new challenge day by day. "They say God never gives you more that you can handle, so I keep believing that," said Trujillo.
For more on the survey, check out this link http://www.census.gov/acs/www/