Jan. 10, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children
OR: Alex McCausland, Graphics and Social Media Manager
2024 Race for Results Report Identifies Gaps in Child Well-Being That Persist Across Race and Ethnicity, Caused by Policy Choices That Shortchange Young People
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Children of color in New Mexico make up the majority of kids, yet overall, they fall behind their peers nationwide and face disparate outcomes compared to kids who are Asian and Pacific Islander and white in New Mexico, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2024 Race for Results report. Although New Mexico has passed many policies to benefit families over the last several years, there is a clear need for further support through policies to improve outcomes for our communities of color, particularly through better opportunities to succeed for our Native American and Hispanic children.
“Although New Mexico still lags behind the nation and experiences disparities in child well-being by race and ethnicity, we have seen some notable improvements over time,” said Emily Wildau, KIDS COUNT Coordinator for New Mexico Voices for Children, which is funded by the Casey Foundation. “These indicators show us that we still need to strengthen policies like our state Child Tax Credit to further address family and child poverty, to continue to focus on closing the opportunity gaps for our students, and to increase our focus on policies that address racial inequities in our communities.”
Overall, the data reveals that New Mexico’s children – of most races and ethnicities – are lagging behind when compared to the nation overall. However, New Mexico’s Black children are faring better than Black children nationally. New Mexico’s rates of teens, ages 15 to 19, who delay childbearing are better or the same as the U.S. rate for all races and ethnicities. The state has also seen improvements in children living in households where the household head has at least a high school diploma, with a greater percentage of New Mexico kids who are Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic or two or more races in this situation compared to the U.S., and percentages are very similar to those of the nation for all other races and ethnicities in New Mexico.
Comparing New Mexico to itself over time, Hispanic children have seen improvement in most indicators, and all races and ethnicities saw improvement in on-time high school graduation rates and young adults completing associate’s degrees. Most New Mexico children of all races and ethnicities are worse off when it comes to birth weight, enrollment in early education, and math and reading proficiencies.
The Race for Results index standardizes scores across 12 indicators that represent well-being milestones from cradle to career, converting them into a scale ranging from 0 to 1,000 to make it easy to compare and see differences across states and racial and ethnic groups. The higher the number, the better the racial or ethnic group is doing. Indicators are grouped into four areas: early childhood; education and early work experiences; family resources; and neighborhood context. Scores in New Mexico ranged from 344 for children who are Native American to 632 for children who are Asian and Pacific Islanders. New Mexico children who are Black scored 452, while Black children nationwide scored 386, but all other races and ethnicities had scores lower than their peers across the U.S.
Nationally, Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 771, followed by white children at 697 and children of two or more races at 612. National scores for Hispanic (452), Native American (418), and Black children (386) are considerably lower. Calculations of the index for all 50 states show that experiences vary widely depending on where a child lives, from a high of 877 for Asian and Pacific Islander children in New Jersey to a low of 180 for American Indian or Alaska Native children in South Dakota.
Race for Results contends that young people are missing critical developmental milestones as a direct result of choices to not invest in policies, programs and services that support children, especially in under-resourced communities and communities of color.
The Casey Foundation introduced the Race for Results index in a 2014 report and updated it in 2017. This third edition of the report carries data from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic that demonstrate both the urgency of ensuring all children can thrive and the promise of policy prescriptions for achieving that goal.
The Casey Foundation makes several recommendations in Race for Results toward improving outcomes for all children:
- Congress should expand the federal Child Tax Credit. The temporary, pandemic-era expansion of the CTC lifted 1 million children out of poverty, with the share of kids in poverty falling to 5.2% in 2021, the lowest rate on record.
- Congress should expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Lawmakers should consider baby bonds and children’s savings accounts – programs that help families save for their children’s future.
- Policymakers must create targeted programs and policies that can close well-being gaps for young people of color, because universal policies are important but insufficient for continued progress.
The 2024 Race for Results report is available at https://www.aecf.org/resources/2024-race-for-results
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. 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s young people by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. Race for Results® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.