NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham discusses her initiatives to improve outcomes for New Mexico’s children during a virtual press conference on the 2020 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book release.
Each year, NM Kids Count provides an account of child well-being in the state that is tracked across indicators including economic security, education, health, and family and community. The indicators include issues such as child poverty and food insecurity rates, parental employment and education levels, and teen birth rates.
The report is released at the beginning of the legislative session to provide lawmakers with an idea of the barriers that children and families are facing. This year, there will be data specific to the COVID-19 pandemic that comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing surveys.
According to the NM Voices for Children, with a few exceptions, data showed that child well-being in New Mexico had improved in 2019 over the past years. However, the pandemic and recession have resulted in challenges to many children and families.
“We have a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children this year,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Among them – we’re on track to greatly expand education and care programs for our youngest children through the Land Grant Permanent Fund and we’re enacting an equity-first budget for public education that will ensure resources are going where they’re most needed.”
This year’s KIDS Count Data Book includes information specific to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession and tracks issues including economic insecurity, loss of health insurance, and how COVID-19 rates relate to income levels. In a press release, NM Voices for Children explains that the data sets are not comparable with the rest of the data points in the report as most are from 2019.
“Perhaps the most striking data set is the one showing the impact income levels have on COVID-19 infection rates in a community,” said Emily Wildau, KIDS COUNT coordinator for NM Voices. “It really serves as a surrogate for the many ways in which social determinants of health impact families earning low incomes.”
The full 2020 New Mexico KIDS COUNT Data Book can be viewed online at nmvoices.org.
This was originally scheduled for Tuesday February 2, 2021.