Economic Opportunity

Improving the Lives of New Mexicans

Gaining Insight About What Improves Quality of Life

Economic Opportunity can be difficult to quantify because it’s often defined by personal experiences and preferences. We explored possible metrics that ranged from the environment, drinking water, healthcare, and miscellaneous topics like charitable giving and voter participation. After much discussion, the metrics Viante New Mexico’s Board of Directors decided to focus on were related to our state’s economy, as we believe those metrics will make the biggest impact on New Mexican’s quality of life as well as our national rankings.

Our Metrics

With nearly 1 in 5 New Mexicans living in poverty and with the third highest poverty rate in the country, it was clear that this was an important metric to target. Poverty exists when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Poverty is incredibly complicated and its root cause cannot simply be traced to a single source. Living in poverty leads to generational disadvantages and can significantly affect things like a child’s education. Poverty has a ripple effect and undermines the quality of life for everyone in an economy, not just the poor.  We plan to target legislation that will help improve poverty in New Mexico.

Labor Force Participation

The labor force participation is the percentage of state residents age 16 and older who are participating in the labor force. New Mexico is ranked 2nd worst in the nation in this category and it’s clear we have a lot to improve as this metric is used to gauge the health of our state’s economy. The effects of having low labor force participation can stretch beyond our economy and can even lead to social consequences, like crime.

Cost of Living

This is one area where New Mexico is doing fairly well, ranking 24th best nationally. Cost of living is a big attraction for many folks to move to our state. We want to make sure we’re doing the right things to keep the cost of living down in order to keep New Mexico a desirable place to live.

Median Household Income

Median household income measures the income distribution into two equal parts – half having income above that amount and half having income below that amount.  In New Mexico, we have the 45th lowest at $48,451 in 2016 according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Our state has a diverse group of people living here and this metric will allow us to measure what the average person is making in our state.

Did You Know

  • New Mexico is ranked #1 by the US News World Reports for low pollution health risk.
  • New Mexico has always been recognized for having a supportive arts economy.
  • Our state is in the top 30% of the nation for gender equality in employment and income.

New Mexico Econmic Opportunity Statistics

A Snapshot of How We’re Doing

New Mexico is 49th in the nation for labor force participation


19.8% of New Mexicans live below the poverty line

Our state ranks 45th lowest in the nation for median household income

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