Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Child Poverty in New Mexico Rose to 31 Percent in 2014

 "New Mexico’s child poverty rate was 31 percent, an increase from 29 percent in last year’s Data Book, and the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas increased to 24 percent, up from 22 percent."  -from the 2015 Kids Count Report

It’s disheartening to see New Mexico still ranked so low in child well-being...We’ve made progress in some areas and we’ve gotten worse in others but, when you look at the long-term trends, we’re simply not seeing enough change...,When our children aren’t doing well, it’s an indication that our whole state isn’t doing well. Our future workforce is being shaped now. Poverty really holds children back. We can help kids in poverty reach their full potential, but only if we take intentional action and we take it early...Veronica García, New Mexico Voices For Children

I'm not a big fan of measuring our demographics and statistics against those of other states. While the comparisons are useful to provide some perspective, the more important measure is comparing our current situation against our past performance. 

If you look at the 2015 Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, you might notice that New Mexico experienced a slight improvement in the overall well-being for children. Our ranking improved to 49th in 2014 from 50th in 2013. And yet, our rate of child poverty increased to 31 percent from 29 percent the previous year.  However, our ranking improved only because conditions got much worse in Mississippi, the state that has the dubious distinction of ranking 50th in the 2015 Kids Count report.  

“Over the last several years we’ve seen 38,000 children fall into poverty in New Mexico. That is simply not acceptable. Poverty has very detrimental effects on children. If we want them to succeed in life—to be the next generation of doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers and leaders—we need to ensure that they have the opportunities that will put them on the right path early in life,” said Veronica C. García, executive director of New Mexico Voices For Children.  See full statement from organization.

Rather than repeat other findings in the report, I'll pass on the following links

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