WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement today after the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked New Mexico as 49th in the nation for child well-being. The report ranked all 50 states on 16 indicators that fall into the categories of economic well-being, education, health, family, and community.
"It's unacceptable that nearly a third of New Mexico children are living in poverty. Despite 64 straight months of private sector job growth at the national level, New Mexicans still find themselves outflanked by the aftershocks of the great recession. That is why my number one priority is to level the playing field for hard-working New Mexico families.
"A two-generational approach is needed to ensure families across the state have the opportunity to get ahead. By investing in early childhood education and facilitating targeted interventions to improve two-generation outcomes in education, health care, job training, childcare, and a range of other vital government services, we can simultaneously improve community outcomes and save taxpayer dollars. When we invest in children and their parents concurrently, we harness the family's full potential and put the whole family on a path to permanent economic security and independence."
Last month, Senator Heinrich spoke at New Mexico Voices for Children Annual KIDS COUNT Conference where he discussed the Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act, a bill he will introduce in the coming weeks to dramatically improve the federal approach to ending the cycle of poverty in New Mexico and across the country.
New Mexico's child poverty rate was 29 percent in last year's KIDS COUNT Data Book, using 2012 data. That figure has risen to 31 percent in the new 2015 report, which uses 2013 data. Similarly, the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas increased-from 22 percent, 2008-2012 data, to 24 percent, 2009-2013 data. The long-term data are even worse. The number of children living in high-poverty areas has increased by 25,000 between 2006-2010, and 27,000 more children live in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment than did in 2008.