The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the progress the state started to make towards ending its long-time position as 50th in the nation for child well being, according to child advocacy organization New Mexico Voices for Children. Emily Wildau, research and policy analyst for New Mexico Voices for Children’s annual Kids Count data book, said the U.S. census polled Americans using both text and computers from the end of April to the end of July to generate early data on how the nation was faring under the pandemic. Some of that data was available at the state level, she said. New Mexico ranked as the lowest in the nation for child well-being in 2020, according to the Kids Count data book, and has done so for years. Recent policy changes and the increased revenue from the oil boom in the Permian Basin last year brought hope for many child advocates of an improved future, especially for children of color and low-income children in New Mexico.
But according to New Mexico Voices for Children, 51 percent of adults in households with children in New Mexico have lost employment since March.
The easiest number to understand in the just-released 2019 Annie E. Casey Kid’s Count report is that New Mexico ranks 50th overall in child well-being. That’s a stark ranking, the second year in a row New Mexico earned that distinction. For detractors and supporters of former governor Susana Martinez, there’s a lot to digest in the numbers released Monday because they track with nearly her entire tenure. The chart below shows the Kids Count rankings in several categories for 2012-2019, but most of the data comes from 2010-17 (Rankings go back to 1990, but a different methodology was used in those years, making direct comparison difficult). New Mexico results in the annual Kids Count report prepared by NM Voices for Children
“It very much is a reflection of what happened, and more specifically, what didn’t happen during the Martinez years,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which monitors the indicators for New Mexico.
Santa Fe voters delivered a decisive rejection of a proposed 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages to support early childhood education Tuesday in a special election. As of 10 pm Tuesday night with votes counted in all but one voting convenience center, the proposal was losing by a near-15 point margin. The vote capped the end of an intense, expensive and heated debate that saw nearly $1.9 million in direct spending overall from political action committees on both sides as of May 1. More than $1.2 million of that money was spent on opposition to the tax proposal, while a PAC in support of the tax spent roughly $685,000 to convince city residents to vote yes on the measure. This doesn’t include in-kind donations on each side of the vote.
New Mexico is “falling behind” on some key indicators according to a new report released this week. The annual KIDS COUNT report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that New Mexico ranks 50th in education and 49th in overall child well-being—again at or near the bottom of the list on key indicators for the state. New Mexico has ranked at or near the bottom on education for years. The number of eighth graders not proficient in math in 2015 worsened since 2013, while the number of high school students not graduating on time in 2012-2013 worsened since 2011-2012. New Mexico still sees 30 percent of children living in poverty, which ranks 48th.
One in every ten children in New Mexico have at least one parent incarcerated at some point in their lifetime, according to a recent report. That’s the third-highest rate in the nation and just one of three states with a rate in double digits. In raw numbers, this is 52,000 children throughout the state. The findings came from a new Kids Count report called “A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities.”
New Mexico Voices for Children executive director Veronica C. Garcia, Ed.D., explained the reasons why this is detrimental to the youth of the state. “Often their families lack the financial resources to cover basic needs such as food and housing.
A day after a report attributed New Mexico’s high rank when it came to dangerous states, in part, to poverty, a report finds that New Mexico is again last in the nation when it comes to child poverty. This is one of the findings from the annual KIDS COUNT report that is put together locally by New Mexico Voices for Children. In overall child well-being, New Mexico doesn’t fare much better, ranking 49th out of 50 states. Only Mississippi is worse. “Child poverty is at the root of all of New Mexico’s poor outcomes for children,” KIDS COUNT director Amber Wallin, MPA, said in a statement announcing the findings.
Every year, the Annie E. Casey foundation, in partnership with New Mexico Voices for Children, issues its national ranking of states according to child-wellbeing. Once again, New Mexico ranks at the bottom of the pile—49th in the nation. This isn’t the first time that New Mexico ranks so low. New Mexico was also 49th in the 2014 report and has never been above 45th. In 2013, the state fell to 50th.