Last month, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released long-awaited numbers in their Kids Count report. The data, which give a picture of the impact of COVID, shows that, by and large, New Mexico’s efforts to protect youth from significant backslides in health and stability were effective. In fact, several areas showed slight improvement.
Encouragingly more households are being led by parents with higher education, a number inextricably linked to the continued decrease in the number of children living in poverty.
Additionally, New Mexico's long-term child nutrition initiatives are wildly successful, with food insecurity in children dropping an astonishing 46 percent in the last decade.
Still, there is significant work to be done. Housing costs continue to disproportionately affect poorer families with 50 percent of low-income households now staggering under the weight of high housing cost burdens.
Perhaps most significantly, investments are still needed in education, particularly in low-income households, where roughly 80% of 4th graders are not proficient in either reading or math.
New Mexico still has a long way to go to ensure the generational wellness of our families, but for now, we take comfort knowing that our shared efforts to help families through the pandemic paid off.