I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
NM ranks near last in U.S. for child welfare
Despite bucking a national trend of increasing child poverty and a reduction in school drop-out rates, New Mexico ranks last or near-last in seven of 10 measures of child welfare, from teen deaths to proportion of children living in poverty, according to a report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Overall, the 2010 Kids Count Data Book shows that New Mexico lost ground, slipping to 46th place from 43rd in last year’s report.
Only for infant mortality did the state rank better than the national average, at 13th place, with 6.3 babies dying per 1,000 live births, compared to a U.S. average of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 births. Here are some of the other major findings:
NM teen birth rate is highest in the nation
New Mexico continues to rank worst in the nation for teen birth rates, with 2007 numbers (the most recent available data) showing no change from 2000 in New Mexico; 66 girls aged 15 to 19 gave birth for every 1,000 girls in New Mexico, compared to 43 per 1,000 nationwide.
Teen death rate also high
The state continues to have one of the worst teen death rates in the U.S. Although New Mexico’s teen death rate dropped slightly — 3 percent — between 2000 and 2007, at 96 deaths per 100,000 teens, the state’s rates are markedly higher than the national average of 62 per 100,000.
Single-parent families growing faster than average
The percentage of children in single-parent families grew seven times as much from 2000 to 2008 in New Mexico as the rest of the U.S., the report states. The percent of New Mexico children living in single-parent families grew from 33 percent in 2000 to 40 percent by 2008, compared to 32 percent nationwide in 2008.
The Kids Count report includes single-parent households as an indicator of child welfare because children in households with one adult do not have access to the same economic or human resources as children in two-parent families, the report states. In 2008, nearly a third of single-parent families lived in poverty, compared to just 7 percent of children in households run by married couples, according to the report.
Poverty affects one-fourth of NM kids
Nearly a quarter of New Mexico children, 24 percent, live in poverty (defined in 2008 as a four-member household income below $21,834). The situation is much worse for the state’s Native American (39 percent) and Hispanic children (30 percent), according to the report.
Nationwide, 18 percent of children live in poverty, according to the study.
Drop-out rate dips, but NM still ranks 47th
The percent of 16 to 19 year-old New Mexicans who were not in school dropped from 16 to 10 percent between 2000 and 2008, but that still placed the state in 47th place nationwide.
The U.S. average drop-out rate was 6 percent in 2008, the report states.
Child death rates rise while national rate drops
New Mexico’s number of deaths per 100,000 children under age 15 increased between 2000 and 2007, while the U.S. average child death rate declined. For 2007, New Mexico’s child mortality rate was 24 deaths per 100,000 children, compared to a U.S. average of 19 deaths per 100,000 according to the report.
The new report comes on the heels of a report in May that New Mexico children rank low on reading ability and school performance.