Monday, June 24, 2013

How Much Bad News Can We Take Regarding the Well-Being of Kids in New Mexico?

The question is: How much bad news can we take regarding the plight of children in New Mexico? Last week, I posted about our state's ranking as the worst for children in Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap report.  Then there was a little bit of good news showing that we made progress in 2012 in expanding summer feeding programs for school children.

And now comes the Annie E. Casey Foundations' 2013 National Kids Count Data Book. This report, which measures various categories related to the general welfare of children, put New Mexico dead last (50th out of 50 states!)for the first time since the survey began in 1990. An article in the Albuquerque Journal on Monday  morning described the situation well in its opening paragraph:""After circling the drain for more than two decades, New Mexico finally got sucked in, coming in last in a national survey ranking childhood well-being."

The report provided a rating on four areas that affect children in our stats in the long term: economics, education, health, and family.  And to be fair, New Mexico didn't rank last in any of these categories. It was in the penultimate place.  Mississippi was the worst in both economic well-being and community; Montana was at the bottom in health, and Nevada had the worst situation in terms of education.  But what is the difference between 49th place (where are state ranked in all of these categories) and 50th?

And when it all the scores are added and averaged, someone has to be last.  “(We give) a standard score for each of the indicators, then everything gets added together,” said Annie F. Kasey demographer Laura Speer, who produced the report over three months with data from the Centers for Disease Control, the  U.S.Census, the National Center for Health Statistics and other federal agencies.

Read full article in Albuquerque Journal (If you don't have an online or delivery subscription, you can still view the full piece by answering a few questions from advertisers)

Or you can see the full report in the Kids Count Data Center

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