Foreclosures, parental unemployment affecting New Mexico children
August 17, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505
ALBUQUERQUE—Recent data confirm that the current recession has had a negative impact on America’s children, and New Mexico’s kids are no exception. Across the country—and here in New Mexico—the percentage of children living in poverty and in single-parent households has risen. Since 2007, 17,000 New Mexico children have been affected by foreclosure, and the unemployment rate for parents has almost tripled. This effectively erases the economic gains made since the late 1990s.
These are the conclusions of the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a report released annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report ranks states based on ten indicators of child well-being—such as the rates of child poverty, infant mortality, and teen births, among others. This year’s report also includes new data reflecting the effects of the recession on children. For a second year in a row, New Mexico ranks 46th—meaning only four other states did worse.
“The fact that our ranking hasn’t changed doesn’t mean things have stayed the same for our kids – it just means that the global recession is having a negative impact on children across the country,” said Bill Jordan, Policy Director for NM Voices for Children, which runs NM KIDS COUNT.
“When the economy tanks those people who are already vulnerable suffer the most,” he added. “That means families that aren’t on economically stable ground because of the challenges they already face have the fewest resources to weather a downturn.”
The KIDS COUNT Data Book suggests a two-generation approach to improving child well-being across the country: help parents put their families on a path to economic success, while enhancing children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development from birth by investing in health and early childhood care and education programs.
“Child poverty is in many ways a bellwether for the well-being of society as a whole,” said Christine Hollis, NM KIDS COUNT Program Director. “Research has shown us time and again that children who grow up in poverty face greater challenges to becoming successful adults able to make a contribution to the community. Due to the disadvantages they face, they are less likely to do well in school, which does not bode well for our future workforce. With fully one-quarter of New Mexico’s children at risk, we have to ask ourselves what kind of future quality of life we can all expect if we do not intervene,” she added.
The report does have some good news for New Mexico, however. Even though the percentage of New Mexico children affected by foreclosure has doubled from 2007 to 2009, our foreclosure rate (3.2%) is still lower than the national average (5.5%).
“The state Legislature put some protections in place for homeowners several years back that has helped keep our foreclosure rate down,” said Jordan.
The entire KIDS COUNT report is available online at http://datacenter.kidscount.org/databook/2011
The New Mexico fact sheet is attached as a pdf and is also available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org/databook/2011/profiles
KIDS COUNT is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities.
2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org