Report: New Mexico named worst state for child well-being

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Yet again, New Mexico is at the very bottom nationally in child well-being. The state has been 49th or 50th every year for about a decade.

Every year the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report called Kids Count. It analyzes the well-being of children and their families in all 50 states.

This year, New Mexico is dead last.

Most of the data in the report is pulled from 2021, in the middle of the pandemic. The report noted more parents lacked secure employment compared to 2019.

However, according to the nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children, New Mexico has actually seen some solid improvement since 2010.

For instance, the child poverty rate is down 20%, and the number of kids graduating on time saw a 28% improvement.

The number of kids without health insurance improved by 45%, and teen birth rates saw a 64% improvement.

New Mexico has also launched some programs since then, that could boost the state’s ratings in the future.

In 2021, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a child care assistance program that doubled the eligibility level for families. Just this year, lawmakers also approved $100 million for a massive expansion of state pre-K programs.

“Thousands of children and thousands of families will have access to high quality pre-K in places they already have, but also in communities across the state that didn’t already have access to pre-K,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, Early Childhood Education and Care Department cabinet secretary.

In a statement, New Mexico Voices for Children Executive Director Amber Wallin wrote:

“We expect the many good policy decisions enacted in recent years… to put us back on the path to improvement for New Mexico children that will be reflected in our ranking in the coming years.”

To see the report, click here.