NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – On Friday, the state’s Human Services Department released their Data Book for 2021. The book is a summary of the social, economic, and health statistics of New Mexico residents. Its goal is to compare where New Mexico stands with the rest of the country, as well as where each county in the state stands with data on unemployment, Medicaid eligibility, and poverty rates.
According to a study cited in the data book from Feeding America, New Mexico ranks 34th among the rest of the United States when it comes to the number of food-insecure children with 114,180 kids. By comparison, Texas has the most with approximately 1.6 million food-insecure children – about 14 times as many as New Mexico.
However, when the study looks at the food-insecurity rate for children – which is the number of food-insecure children compared to the state’s total child population – New Mexico ranks second with a rate of 23.8%. Louisiana is first with a rate of 24.6%.
When the study breaks down the numbers in New Mexico, Bernalillo is shown to be the county with the most food-insecure kids at 31,060. Doña Ana County comes in second with 13,940 – a difference of 17,120.
The study also found counties in western New Mexico like Catron, McKinley, Luna, and Sierra had the highest rates of food insecurity – mostly in the mid-30s. Bernalillo County was 26th with a rate of 20.5% and Santa Fe and Los Alamos counties had the smallest with 17.7% and 13.4% respectively.
The Feeding America study used by the New Mexico Department of Human Services for their databook is based on 2018 statistics. A projection on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the child food insecurity rates is available on their website.