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

SANTA FE – New Mexico ranked 49th in a report released Monday measuring child well-being based on data gathered before the pandemic.

That's an improvement over last year when the state ranked 50th among U.S. states.

“It’s encouraging to see that child well-being in New Mexico was improving before the pandemic hit,” said James Jimenez, executive director for New Mexico Voices for Children, which partners with the foundation.

He’s cautiously optimistic that state policies “helped offset some of the health and financial problems caused by the pandemic.”

The annual Kids Count report tracks 16 metrics of children’s access to education, health, economic and social stability at home. It was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation Monday.

It ranks New Mexico at or near the bottom on education, economics, and “family and community,” which tracks rates of single-parent homes, teen birth rates and whether or not the head of household has a high school degree.

One in five New Mexico children live in an area where 30% of the population is at or below the federal poverty line. Nationally, only one in 10 children live in high-poverty areas, according to the report.

The report ranks the state 37th in child health, with kids having average access to insurance (94%) and only slightly higher than average obesity (32%).