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Many NM Families with Kids Face Food Shortages, Depression

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As the pandemic lingers, 11% of New Mexico residents say they don't have health insurance, compared to 12% nationwide, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (RamanTalpada/Pixabay)
As the pandemic lingers, 11% of New Mexico residents say they don't have health insurance, compared to 12% nationwide, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (RamanTalpada/Pixabay)
December 22, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexico families struggling against poverty have been further squeezed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Hunger and the threat of homelessness have hit families nationwide. But Emily Wildau, Kids Count Coordinator with New Mexico Voices for Children, said there were bright spots for the state's children in this year's report.

"Our indicators around health insurance and confidence in paying rent or mortgage on time were as good or better than the nation as a whole," Wildau said.

The recent Kids Count report examined data from weekly surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that demonstrate how families across the country are challenged to meet basic needs during the public health crisis while managing school, work and mental health. New Mexico reported the highest rate - 27% - of adults living in households with children who said they feel down, depressed or hopeless.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs with the Casey Foundation, said when it comes to food security, 14% of households nationwide reported they didn't have enough to eat - while that number was 20% of New Mexico households.

"The pandemic has laid bare and really exacerbated racial and ethnic inequities in this country," Boissiere said. "And we've seen that Black, Latino and native communities in particular have been hard hit."

Only one other state - Mississippi - has as high a rate of food insecurity as New Mexico. The report recommended policymakers make racial and ethnic equity a top priority in responding to the pandemic, including more equitable funding for education.

Disclosure: New Mexico Voices for Children/KIDS COUNT contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM