Poverty and Insurance Coverage in NM Largely Unchanged in 2011
Report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the 2011 median household income declined and the percentage of people without health insurance coverage decreased slightly.
ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico's families look a lot like those around the country, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in 2011.
Gerry Bradley, research director at New Mexico Voices for Children, says one of the biggest contributors to the state's economic forecast is the loss of jobs in state and local government. He cites one category in particular.
"We're starving the education sector. State government was down by 2,400 and local government was down 600 over the years. Half of those lost jobs are in education."
Bradley says the public sector is slowing the economy, with the biggest chunk in K-through-12 and higher education. He adds that the private sector in New Mexico is growing marginally. However, while things look grim, he believes the state has options.
"We're up in poverty, we're down in income, and employment is flat. We could change that picture somewhat by implementing the Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act."
Gov. Susana Martinez is undecided about Medicaid expansion.
Barbara Webber, executive director of Health Action New Mexico, doesn't see a lot of positive news in the census report, either. Although there is some improvement reported for insurance coverage, Webber says she doesn't see much change.
"The overall numbers may be slightly increasing, but they're not statistically significant. Some of those inequities and disparities heavily fall onto women. They fall onto ethnicity groups, race groups."
Read the census data at census.gov.