ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In recent decades, some parts of New Mexico have seen economic boom and industry growth. But 30 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that about a fifth of the state’s population lives in ‘persistent poverty’ areas.

While extensively defined in the Census Bureau’s report, “persistent poverty” essentially means a certain area has had high poverty rates for an extended period of time. And newly compiled data shows that New Mexico has an unrepresentatively large amount of persistent poverty from 1989 to 2019.

The nationwide average percent of people living in persistent poverty areas in 2019 was about 9%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In New Mexico, about 21% of the population lives in regions of persistent poverty.

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Data shows a high percent of New Mexicans live in areas of persistent poverty. Data from U.S. Census Bureau.

Not all of New Mexico is experiencing persistent poverty. The troubled areas were Socorro, San Miguel, Rio Arriba, McKinley, Cibola, Hidalgo, Luna, Roosevelt, and Doña Ana Counties as of 2019.

Residents in areas of persistent poverty can face systematic problems, the U.S. Census Bureau says. From limited access to medical services to poor education, residents often experience more difficulties than residents of wealthier regions, they note.

You can read the U.S. Census Bureau’s full report about persistent poverty online, on