NM child well-being improves - Albuquerque Journal

NM child well-being improves

Jose Espinoza, 18, stands outside his Vado trailer with 4-month-old Emmily and wife, Maria Rodriguez, 19, in 2018 while speaking about making just $50 a day. (Russell Contreras/Associated Press)

New Mexico, which ranks 50th in overall child well-being, showed some improvement, according to the Kids Count Data Book for 2019, which uses data from 2016, 2017 and 2018 – the most recent numbers available.

The data book shows improvement in the state’s rate of child poverty, teen births, child health insurance and preschool attendance, as well as funding increases for child care assistance, pre-K, home visiting, K-12 and Medicaid.

But there was also backsliding in some categories.

New Mexico ranks 50th in the nation once again in fourth-grade reading proficiency and 49th in eighth-grade math proficiency. The state had been making progress in reading proficiency, but this marks the first year since 2009 that the rate of students reading below proficiency has increased.

The data book also reveals that the rate of substantiated child abuse worsened from 15 children per 1,000 in fiscal year 2018 to 21.5 per 1,000 in 2019.

The report notes that “70% of New Mexico families will receive a tax cut when they file their income taxes this year, which is good news for putting more money in the hands of working people,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which compiles the data book.

“We need to make these investments long term, and shouldn’t expect because there was one good budget year that all of a sudden everyone has the resources that they need. That’s clearly not the case,” he said.

New Mexico Voices For Children will push for legislation in the upcoming session to improve the working families tax credit “so more working families can qualify to get more money back in their hands” and for a new child tax credit targeting working families who earn low wages, Jimenez said.

The data book findings are based on 16 indicators under four major domains: Economic well-being, education, health, and family and community, which are tracked by Kids Count, a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Most data is provided at the state and county levels, as well as by the state’s tribal areas.

Of the 16 indicators, New Mexico improved in seven, worsened in three, saw no change in four and had mixed outcomes in the remaining two.

The rate and number of children living in poverty decreased from 2017 to 2018. Still, with 26% of the state’s children living at or below the federal poverty level, New Mexico continues to rank poorly, at 49th in the nation in child poverty.

The median household income in New Mexico is about 19% lower than the national average.

The number and rate of children in families burdened by high housing costs, spending 30% or more on housing, decreased substantially, with 19,000 fewer children in this situation from 2016 to 2017, dropping the share from 32% of children to 28%. New Mexico’s nationwide rank also improved from 37th to 27th in this indicator.

The teen birthrate among ages 15-19 in New Mexico has improved significantly, dropping from 61 per 1,000 female teens in 2008 to 28 per 1,000 in 2017. That represents an improvement of 54% and moved New Mexico from 49th to 44th among the states on this indicator.

The percentage of children without health insurance from 2008 to 2018 improved from 14% to 5%, giving New Mexico a national ranking of 24th in this indicator. Much of that improvement is attributed to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, particularly among Native American and Hispanic children.

The rate of teens abusing alcohol and drugs has improved slightly over the past year and more significantly over time, from 10% in 2008-09 to 6% in 2016-17. This means 7,000 fewer New Mexico teens are abusing alcohol and drugs than there were in 2008-09.

However, the percent of teens who engaged in binge drinking did not change, staying at 11% in 2017-18.

The teen death rate also improved. From 2008 to 2017, New Mexico’s child and teen death rate decreased from 40 to 32 deaths per 100,000, which is still higher than the national rate of 26 per 100,000 kids.

About 36% of the state’s children live in families where no parent has secure employment, ranking New Mexico 49th in the nation in this metric. Meanwhile, the rate of children living in single-parent families improved from 45% in 2017 to 41% in 2018 – still far worse than the national average of 35% and making New Mexico’s national ranking 47th in this measure.

On the education front, 29% of New Mexico high schoolers do not graduate on time, an improvement from 2008, when that figure was 33%, but still higher than the national average of 15%.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » NM child well-being improves

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Amid changing climate, big fires leave lasting changes to ...
ABQnews Seeker
The fire-scarred Jemez Mountains — hit ... The fire-scarred Jemez Mountains — hit repeatedly by high-severity wildfires over the last 45 years — offer a peek at how the Hermits Peak/Calf ...
Community groups plan gun buyback for South Valley
ABQnews Seeker
Community groups are holding a gun ... Community groups are holding a gun buyback next weekend. The buyback event, facilitated by the nonprofit New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, will be ...
New Mexico’s World College helped shape Wall Street Journal ...
ABQnews Seeker
In a wide-ranging interview, Tucker spoke ... In a wide-ranging interview, Tucker spoke about her time at the school in the ‘80s, how her career in journalism started and about her ...
Local food pantry reports big haul
ABQnews Seeker
The First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque ... The First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque said they are receiving enough food to support clients with food for weeks as part of the rewards ...
Chimayo man shot and killed on Sunday: Santa Fe ...
ABQnews Seeker
A 22-year-old man from Chimayo was ... A 22-year-old man from Chimayo was shot and killed at a residence where several people had gathered on Sunday night. Santa Fe County Sheriff's ...
APD: Man fatally shot in Downtown Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A man was fatally shot in ... A man was fatally shot in Downtown Albuquerque early Monday morning. Gilbert Gallegos, a police spokesman, said that officers were called to the area ...
Man charged in connection with fatal shooting of girlfriend
ABQnews Seeker
After the death of his 18-year-old ... After the death of his 18-year-old girlfriend in a Saturday-night shooting, Carlos Gonzalez, 24, was arrested by Albuquerque Police Department homicide detectives and charged ...
Biz Bits: Albuquerque Business Journal
ABQnews Seeker
Biz Bits: Albuquerque Business Journal Biz Bits: Albuquerque Business Journal
Business Column: In financial matters, government role has upside ...
ABQnews Seeker
Politics is directly intersecting with the ... Politics is directly intersecting with the economy — macro, micro, public and personal — in a not-so-rare standoff in Washington, D.C.