New Mexico ranks 49th in child well-being, an improvement

SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — An annual report ranks New Mexico 49th in child well-being, and that’s a slight improvement.

The Kids Count report tracks metrics of children’s education, home life, and health. New Mexico continues to rank high in child poverty and low in education outcomes.

One bright spot is an increase in job stability among parents, but that’s based on data gathered before the pandemic.

Child advocates say state policies supporting families and healthcare may blunt the impacts of the pandemic.

“We hope our lawmakers note these pre-pandemic improvements and continue to make the kinds of investments in education, health care, and more, that can have significant impacts on child well-being,” said Emily Wildau, the Kids Count coordinator for New Mexico Voices for Children. “However, we cannot forget that many of our families continue to face challenges, so our investments need to be long-term as well as robust.”

As far as long-term improvements since 2010, the report shows a decrease in child poverty (17% improvement), high school students not graduating on time (32% improvement), children without health insurance (45% improvement), and teen birth rates (55% improvement).

The report ranks New Mexico 37th in child health, in part because kids have average access to insurance and only slightly higher-than-average obesity rates.

New Mexico ranked 50th in overall child wellbeing in 2020. For more information on the latest data, click here.