New Mexico Truth: The highest child poverty rate in the country


New Mexico has the highest child poverty rate in the country. If we do not invest in our children when they are young, our state will not get ahead. Children continue to enter kindergarten underprepared and we are seeing the negative results. Poor outcomes in the early years persist throughout the lives of our children.

As New Mexicans we love the natural wonders of our state, but we can’t take credit for how deep the Carlsbad Caverns are, how white the White Sands are or how high Wheeler Peak is, but we can take responsibility for the well-being of our children.

New Mexico is ranked 49th in children’s well-being, we can’t stand for this! We need to take responsibility for this and understand that this is a part of our New Mexico Truth.

New Mexico ranks 49th in children’s well-being. This ranking is based on the four categories below:

  1. Economic well-being
    • 30% of our children live in poverty
    • 36% of our children’s parents lack secure income
    • 31% of our children are living in households with a high housing cost burden
    • 9% of our teens are neither in school nor working
  2. Education
    • 59% of our children are not in preschool
    • 77% of our 4th graders are not proficient in reading
    • 79% of our 8th graders are not proficient in math
    • 28% of our high school students are not graduating on time
  3. Health
    • 8.8% of our babies are  born at a low-birth weight
    • 7% of our children are without health insurance
  4. Family and Community
    • 41% of our children live in a single-parent family
    • 18% of our children are in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma
    • 26% of our children live in high poverty areas