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Data paints bleak picture of NM

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The 2021 Data Book compiled by the New Mexico Human Services Department tells a lot about our state, and much of what it’s saying is not flattering.

We have the highest percentage in the country of people receiving benefits from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, the highest percentage of seniors ages 65 and older living in poverty, and the second-highest rate of overall poverty, suicide and food insecurity among children.

With a budget request of $7.782 billion for FY 2022, the state Human Services Department, and its major agencies – the Children, Youth and Families Department and the Aging and Long Term Services Department – serve more than half the state’s population. HSD gets 85% of its funding from the federal government.

In compiling the HSD 2021 Data Book, the department sought to provide a comprehensive, data-driven summary of social, economic and health statistics for New Mexico, with specific county-by-county metrics and comparisons to national measurements where applicable.

This is the second year HSD has assembled a data book, and this year’s book has been expanded to 350 pages, nearly twice the number of pages produced last year.

Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said he eventually wants the data book to be an all-inclusive resource for universities, people doing program planning, the media and citizens, as well as legislators looking to enact evidence- and fact-based policy and legislation.

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