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Health Indicator Report of New Mexico Population - Poverty Among Children Age 5-17

Research suggests that living in poverty during early childhood is associated with lower than average academic performance that begins in kindergarten(1) and extends through elementary and high school. Living in poverty during early childhood is associated with lower than average rates of school completion.(2)
In 2017, 1 out of every 4 school-aged New Mexico children were living in poverty.


The measure of child poverty includes all children who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption (except a child who is the spouse of the householder). The householder is the person (or one of the people) who owns or rents (maintains) the housing unit. Poverty status is determined by comparing household income to poverty thresholds (income cutoffs). Thresholds vary by family size and number of children under 18 in the household. For instance, the poverty level for a family of four in 2019 is $25,750.   Some of the race category definitions used the by U.S. Census Bureau differ from those used in the New Mexico Department of Health. The American Indian, Asian/NHOPI, and Black poverty estimates in this data view include both Hispanic and non-Hispanic persons. The White estimate includes only White, non-Hispanic persons, and the Hispanic estimate includes all persons of Hispanic origin, regardless of race, which are the same definitions for White and Hispanic that the NMDOH uses.

Data Sources

  • U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
  • New Mexico Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,

Data Interpretation Issues

The U.S. Poverty Guidelines are published in January of each year, and may be found online at Beginning with the year 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau switched from the Current Population Survey as a data source for these data to the American Community Survey. Poverty estimates from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program are modeled, using ACS data as inputs, and are considered more accurate than estimates directly from the American Community Survey (ACS). Data views for NM and U.S. by year, county, school district, and U.S. States are from SAIPE. Estimates for NM Small Areas and race/ethnicity are not available on SAIPE, so the ACS 5-year estimates are used for those data views. Population size estimates from the UNM Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) program are considered more accurate for New Mexico. For the county, New Mexico by year, and Small Area data views, the poverty percentage estimates were applied to the GPS population estimates to calculate counts and population size. GPS population estimates are not available for U.S. states or school districts, so the SAIPE population estimates were used for those data views. The race/ethnicity categories provided by the U.S. Census do not match those used by NMDOH, so the population estimates provided are ACS 5-year estimates.


The estimated percentage of children under age 5-17 living in households whose income is at or below the federal poverty level.


Estimated number of children under age 5-17 living in households whose income is at or below the federal poverty level.


The estimated number of children under age 5-17 in the population.

Other Objectives

New Mexico Early Learning Indicator

How Are We Doing?

In 2017, 89,200 children, or one out of every four New Mexico school-aged children, 5 to 17 years old, were in families living in poverty.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

In 2017, the U.S. poverty rate for school-age children was 17.3% compared to the New Mexico rate of 24.6%. The poverty rates among the states ranged from 9.1% in New Hampshire to 27% in Mississippi.
Page Content Updated On 05/01/2019, Published on 05/02/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Mon, 06 July 2020 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Thu, 2 May 2019 15:33:56 MDT