Child health improved, but not economic, education, and family well-being

July 25, 2012

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505 

ALBUQUERQUE—The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 KIDS COUNT® Data Book  shows that New Mexico made a few gains in children’s health status, but the state has a long way to go in improving the economic, education, and  community-related well-being of its children. The state ranks 49th out of the 50 states.

This most recent data show that the recession and slow economic recovery are continuing to hurt struggling families in the state. Since 2005, 30,000 more children live in poverty, a number greater than the populations of Deming, Taos, and Truth or Consequences combined. In 2010, more than one-third of the state’s children had parents without secure employment, an increase of 23 percent from just two years before.

“This year’s national KIDS COUNT findings continue to be disappointing. As a state we are not making the kind of growth in reading and math proficiency that we want for our children,” said Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children.

This years’ data book looked at 16 indicators of child well-being, broken down into four categories. In those categories, New Mexico ranked 49th in Education, Health, and Family and Community, and 48th in Economic Well-being. “This indicates that it’s important to not look at a student’s academic achievement in isolation but rather we must work together as New Mexicans to comprehensively address the issues that affect educational outcomes and the economic well-being of our state,” Dr. Garcia added.

New Mexico ranked 46th overall in the 2011 data book, but that score was based on 10 indicators of child well-being.

“Based on the research we know that access to high-quality care and education services for children from birth to age five promote the academic achievement of our children,” said Dr. Garcia. “However in our state, 62 percent of our three- and four-year-olds do not have the opportunity to attend preschool. We also know that children’s health is foundational to improved educational outcomes; therefore increased access to affordable quality health care is important. There is evidence that children who live in a nurturing and caring environment from birth to five will have better social-emotional, language and learning outcomes. These outcomes are critical for our children and for the long-term economic development of the state.”

This year’s addition of six new indicators provides users of the data book with a picture of child well-being that better reflects extensive child development research. “This gives us a more robust and comprehensive tool for assessing how children are doing across states,” said Christine Hollis, NM KIDS COUNT Director.

The data book and other resources are available online at:
Download the New Mexico data sheet here (pdf)

The KIDS COUNT Data Book provides the latest data on child well-being comparable across all states. This information will be available July 25 in the KIDS COUNT Data Center,, which also contains the most recent New Mexico data on hundreds of other indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users, even through mobile device access, to create rankings, maps, and trend graphs for use in publications and on websites.


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.
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