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SANTA FE (AP) — More New Mexicans have fallen into poverty during the past two years and the state has the third highest poverty rate in the nation, according to the latest Census Bureau report.
The increase in poverty reflects the recession taking a firmer hold in New Mexico, said Gerry Bradley, an economist and research director for New Mexico Voices for Children, an Albuquerque-based group that advocates for social programs benefiting the poor and children.
The poverty rate in New Mexico was 19.3 percent in 2008-2009 compared with 15.5 percent in 2006-2007.
“With the unemployment rate up as much as it is and employment falling, it’s not surprising that poverty would rise like that,” Bradley said.
Nationally, the average poverty rate rose by more than a percentage point in 2008-2009.
In the latest Current Population Survey released on Thursday, the Census Bureau used two-year averages for evaluating changes within a state, but it provided three-year averages to make comparisons among states. The agency based its estimates on a survey of households across the country and there’s a relatively small sample from New Mexico.
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