Economic Security and Prosperity2021-08-20T09:05:34-06:00

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

Eligible but Excluded: How Systemic Inequities in Language Access are Impacting Asian, Pacific Islander, and African Immigrant and Refugee Communities During the Pandemic

A follow-up to our Essential but Excluded report, this looks at how Asian/Pacific Islander and African immigrants and refugees are unable to access public benefits for which they are eligible – and not just during the pandemic – due to a pervasive lack of language access at many state agencies. This, despite federal laws requiring such access.

Tax Policy: A Powerful Tool to Advance Racial Equity in New Mexico

Systemic racism isn’t accidental – it’s the result of public policies that benefit one group while disadvantaging others. Our state and national tax systems have been built to benefit those at the top (who are mostly white) while disadvantaging people of color. This report looks at concrete ways New Mexico can make our tax system more equitable.


Essential But Excluded: How COVID-19 Relief has Bypassed Immigrant Communities in New Mexico

Despite the fact that immigrants work, pay taxes, and are a vital part of our economy, many were left out of the relief packages Congress passed to help blunt the pandemic-caused recession and assist displaced workers and small business owners. Not only is that harmful to many New Mexico children and families, it also will impede our ability to rebuild our economy. This report looks at ways the state an address the problem.

Recent Publications

2021 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book

January 19th, 2022|

Still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, New Mexico’s child well-being wavers. This annual report provides data on numerous child well-being indicators housed under four domains (economic security, education, health, and family and community) and includes policy solutions for ensuring a more equitable recovery. Includes some pandemic-specific data from 2021.

All Publications

Recent Blog Posts

Putting New Mexico’s Babies First: How Paid Family and Medical Leave Gives Babies a Healthy Start

September 20th, 2021|

In homes across New Mexico, parents and caregivers have long been forced to make an impossible choice – one made even harder in the last 18 months by COVID-19. Do I care for my baby or sick family member, or do I leave them to work and earn the pay we need to survive? This choice has dire implications for babies, families, public health, and the economy.

All Blog Posts

Recent News Coverage

Well-being of local children similar to state in most areas

January 20th, 2022|

Amber Wallin, deputy director, said that Chaves County’s outcomes are often tied closely to the fortunes of the oil and gas industry. “Those are things like poverty rates, child abuse rates that are linked to that,” said Wallin. “We know when parents have steady wages and good steady income that is a good predictor of how children are doing.” She added that the pandemic had a dramatically different effect on people depending on their social circumstances.

2021 Kids Count Data Book indicates positives but also continued challenges

January 20th, 2022|

Amber Wallin, executive director of NMVC, said New Mexico legislators should continue to enact legislation that will positively impact families and children, particularly families of color. “During this Legislative session we’re continuing to focus on public policy to provide robust safety net support, especially in direct economic assistance for families who need it the most, especially for low-income front line workers, refugee and immigrant families unable to access key forms of relief,” she said.

All news coverage

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
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