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Giving Compass' Take:
• Governing Magazine reports some troubling statistics about the health and education levels of kids living in New Mexico.
• How can policy change the livelihood of kids living in New Mexico? What about philanthropy? Can that help the future of health and education services for kids in New Mexico?
• Read about the effects of positive physical education fitness classes in elementary schools on kids' health.
For the first time in five years, New Mexico has fallen to last among states when it comes to the economic, educational and medical well-being of its children, according to a nonprofit that tracks the status of U.S. kids. New Mexico steadily decreased its number of uninsured children between 2010 and 2015, to 4 percent from 10 percent, the Casey Foundation reported. But in 2016, that figure edged up to 5 percent, the 2018 report says.
That change, as well as an increase in the rate of teens who reported abusing drugs or alcohol, helped push the state from 37th in 2017 to 48th this year in health, one of four categories in which states are ranked in the Kids Count report.
Overall, Kids Count -- which analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- paints New Mexico as a dire place to be a child.
According to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, 30 percent of New Mexico's children were living in poverty in 2016, compared to 19 percent nationwide that year, the earliest figures available.
In educational measures, the report says 75 percent of the state's fourth-graders were not proficient in reading in 2017, compared to 65 percent nationally, and 80 percent of eighth-graders were not performing up to par in math in 2017, compared to 67 percent across the U.S.
Even in areas where the needle has moved up slightly in New Mexico since last year's report, data show the state is still faring far worse than others. For example, while the teen birth rate has improved here, dropping in 2016 to 30 births for mothers age 15-19 per 1,000 births overall from 35 per 1,000 in 2015, the rate remains much higher than the national average of 20 per 1,000.
Read the full article about New Mexico by Robert Nott at Governing Magazine