Economic Security and Prosperity 2018-09-07T14:24:37+00:00

Economic Security and Prosperity

The economy should work for everyone, not just a select few. But for New Mexicans who lack job skills and education, and work in low-wage jobs with little hope for advancement, economic security is just a dream. Long-term economic prosperity involves promoting economic and workforce development opportunities for all New Mexicans, as well as supporting access to adequate wage and work supports for those in crisis and those who are unable to work.

Featured Content

New Mexicans are Worth More: Raising the Minimum Wage

New Mexico’s minimum wage has not been raised in nearly a decade. Worth $7.50 an hour back in 2009, it now has the purchasing power of $6.30. Nearly a quarter of a million workers and more than 100,000 children would benefit by an increase in the state minimum wage. (A Working Poor Families report)

New Mexico Kids at the Crossroads

With the highest rate of child poverty in the nation, New Mexico is not providing the opportunities our children need to succeed. But the good news is that we can improve opportunities for New Mexico’s kids through public policy. This children’s agenda for candidates provides 30 policy recommendations that will help improve child well-being. (Policy brief)

2017KCDB_badge1_400pxA Blueprint for a Prosperous State

Prosperity requires investments. You can’t grow a garden without good soil, water, and some hard work. Same with a state — you can’t have prosperity without resources, infrastructure, and a skilled workforce. But New Mexico has tried to cut its way to prosperity and it hasn’t worked. This brief offers recommendations for raising revenue so we can invest in our state and its people. (Policy brief)

Recent Publications

Proposed Changes to Public Charge: What You Need to Know

October 10th, 2018|

Rumors about proposed rule changes on the use of public benefits and immigration applications have many immigrants and their families worried about using programs like WIC, SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and energy assistance. Do not give up important benefits that your family needs, like food assistance and health care, based on rumors and fear. Be informed so you can make the right choice for you and your family.

New Mexicans are Worth More: Raising the State’s Minimum Wage

August 29th, 2018|

New Mexico's minimum wage has not been raised in nearly a decade. Worth $7.50 an hour back in 2009, it now has the purchasing power of $6.30. Nearly a quarter of a million workers and more than 100,000 children would benefit from an increase in the state minimum wage. (A Working Poor Families Project report; state-level data on selected demographics of low-wage workers)

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Recent Blog Posts

The devastating math of the child care cliff effect

May 11th, 2018|

Imagine having to turn down a raise in pay because it will actually make you less financially secure. Sounds crazy, but that's what many working parents have to do--and just when they're making headway in the quest to provide their family with economic stability. It's all due to the "cliff effect" and, in New Mexico, the cliff effect for child care assistance can throw families who get even a small raise right back into poverty.

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Recent News Coverage

New Mexico no longer in last place on child poverty

September 16th, 2018|

The numbers, while encouraging, are not necessarily a comprehensive look at childhood poverty, says Sharon Kayne, communications director for child advocacy group New Mexico Voices for Children. Kayne pointed out that the poverty line referenced by these statistics is drastically low, around $20,000 a year for a family of three and about $25,000 for a family of four. So, even though the official count holds that 30 percent of New Mexico’s children are living in poverty, Kayne said the percentage of children who struggle with poverty-induced stress on a day-to-day basis is certainly higher.

Jobs are up, wages flat this Labor Day

September 5th, 2018|

A new study by Voices for Children found that the state minimum wage will only purchase $6.30 of the $7.50 buying power it had nine years ago. To keep pace with inflation, the new rate would need to be $8.95 an hour. “Given our rate of child poverty, which is the highest in the nation, it’s unconscionable that we haven’t raised the minimum wage to help New Mexico’s hard-working families and our economy,” Jimenez argues.

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Current Initiatives

Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) is a national initiative focused on strengthening state workforce development policies as a way of reducing poverty for working families. One way to address poverty among working Americans is with so-called ‘work supports,’ which help stabilize low-wage workers while assisting their climb up the job ladder. Work supports include child care assistance, health care coverage, funding for adult basic education and community college attendance, and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Fiscal Policy Project, our program focusing on tax and budget policy, also covers work supports and wage issues.


A Basic Family Budget Calculator is an important tool in determining if a family lives in poverty, because the system currently in place to do that is completely outdated.

Federal poverty guidelines, which dictate whether a family is eligible to receive assistance such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, are tied to a formula that was created in the 1960s. It was based on what the typical family spent on groceries because that was a family’s biggest expense at the time. Today, necessities like housing, childcare and health care take up a far greater share of most family incomes than groceries. Not only do the guidelines not take these changes into account, they do not take into account regional differences in the cost of living.

Because the federal guidelines are so inaccurate, families are generally considered low-income when they earn up to twice (or 200 percent) the poverty level. This makes up for some shortfalls in the guidelines, but they are still nowhere near as accurate as a Basic Family Budget.

  • Click here to find out the minimum amount families need to earn in order to live at a basic, no-frills level in New Mexico’s cities and counties