A high poverty rate, dire budget situation and high unemployment led to New Mexico once again being named the worst-run state in the nation, according to a list compiled by 24/7 Wall St. This is the second year in a row that the publication ranked New Mexico as the worst-run state in the country. The site ranks the states based on “measures of financial health and fiscal responsibility, as well as socioeconomic outcomes such as unemployment, poverty, and crime — conditions state governments are tasked with managing and improving.”
In addition to other economic factors, 24/7 Wall St. cited Moody’s Investor Services downgrading the state’s credit rating which came because of a general lack of general fund reserves. New Mexico is also seeing stagnant population growth, another indicator the New York-based publication looks at.
A new ranking shows New Mexico is the sixth-poorest state in the United States. The ranking by 24/7 Wall St used recently-released U.S. Census Bureau data to rank all 50 states, from richest to poorest. The data, from the 2015 American Community Survey, included information on not just median income, but also on income inequality, food stamp usage and more. The study also included 2014 and 2015 unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Mexico’s median income was $45,382, still well below the national median income of $55,775.
With reports that New Mexico has a net-negative job growth, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the fastest-shrinking city in the country is in New Mexico. A report by 24/7 Wall St. found that the Farmington, New Mexico metropolitan statistical area is the fastest-shrinking city in the country. Farmington was the only New Mexico city to land on the list, which tracked cities from 2010 to 2015. According to the report, Farmington has seen its population shrink by 8.8 percent in the last five years. This is more than two percentage points higher than second place, Pine Bluff, Arkansas with 6.38 percent.
It’s no secret that New Mexico has a wide divide in regions and counties on a number of issues, including health. The blog 24/7 Wall St looked at the most obese county in each state and the least healthy county in each state. It was not the same county for each ranking. In New Mexico, the most obese county is Lea County, in southeastern New Mexico. The center of the oil patch in southeast New Mexico has a 34.7 percent obesity rate; the nation’s obesity rate is 27 percent, while New Mexico overall is 23.6 percent.
New Mexico is once again the fourth-most dangerous state in the country, at least according to the latest yearly survey of violent crime by 24/7 Wall Street. The annual survey from the financial news website is based mainly from violent crime rates from the FBI 2014 Uniform Crime Report, which is the most comprehensive look at crime in the nation. It will be sure to fuel the effort from New Mexico Republican legislative leadership and Gov. Susana Martinez to pass “tough on crime” bills this upcoming legislative session. Republicans this session are supporting a tougher state “three strikes” law against violent repeat offenders, adding law enforcement officers as a protected class in the state’s Human Rights Act and increasing their pay. “The data clearly shows that violent crime in New Mexico is too high, and we need to do something about it,” State Rep. Larry Larrañaga, R-Albuquerque, said in a prepared statement from House Republicans.
If you’ve been reading 24/7 Wall St. recently, you’ll note that it doesn’t have much good to say about New Mexico. The New York financial news website is getting a lot of local attention for ranking New Mexico at the bottom of its annual Best and Worst Run States in America survey. But just how did the news organization come to its conclusions? Four researchers spent roughly four months gathering data to make the list, according to 24/7 Wall St.