by Angela Brauer, KOAT TV Action 7 News
July 21, 2015

Kids Count Data Book

New Mexico is one of the worst states for kids and teens, according to the 2015 Kids Count Data Book.

The book, which is released every year comparing overall childhood well-being in every state, ranked New Mexico 49th, only above Mississippi.

Researchers look at 16 different indicators to come up with the rankings. They base their findings on economical factors, education and family and community. The data book says that not a lot of kids are attending preschool and that fourth-grade reading proficiency has remained the same since 2011. Eighth-grade math proficiency was only slightly better than years past.

The book went on to say that a lot of New Mexico kids and teens live in unemployed or single-parent homes. New Mexico Voices for Children told Action 7 News the two factors that bothered them the most were that a tremendous amount of kids and teens live in poverty and are uninsured.

“That’s of grave concern,” Dr. Veronica Garcia, NM Voices for Children, said.

There was some positive news, though. The data book said that more teenagers graduated, not as many of them were abusing alcohol or tobacco, that there isn’t as many teen pregnancies and not as many teens are dying.

New Mexico Voices for Children put together a book to identify the problems and suggest solutions.

Garcia pointed to state legislators, saying that if New Mexico ever wants to improve its childhood well-being, state leaders need to invest more in young kids and make policy changes.

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