Kids Count places N.M. 50th for child wellbeing

·1 min read

Aug. 8—Poor math and reading proficiency, plus higher than average rates of child poverty over a four-year period have helped land New Mexico last in the U.S. in child well-being, according to the 2022 Kids Count survey.

The data used to determine the ranking spans from 2016 to 2020, according to local nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children, which runs the state Kids Count program.

"While the data on child well-being is very informative, it only shows us where we have been. It does not show us where we are or where we're going," New Mexico Voices for Children Kids Count coordinator Emily Wildau said in a news release Monday morning.

Kids Count data from 2021 placed New Mexico at 49th for child wellbeing, a spot above Mississippi. Louisiana ranked 49th in 2022, according to Kids Count, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Maryland-based philanthropic organization focused on child welfare.

The count utilizes 16 indicators that touch on economy, education, health and family to calculate a composite score that determines each state's child welfare ranking.

The recent count also places New Mexico last in education for at least the fourth year running, according to the data.

"There are some bright spots," according to a Voices for Children news release. New Mexico is seeing long-term improvements over the last 10 years in areas like the rate of uninsured children and the number of teenagers who are not in school or employed.

The rate of teenage births has also declined from 53 per 1,000 female teens ages 15-19 in 2010 to 22 per 1,000 female teens in 2020.

The national 2022 Kids Count Data Book is available at www.aecf.org/databook.