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New Mexico Grade School Population Dropping

Children's statue at State Capitol
Kevin Meerschaert
Children's statue at State Capitol

New Mexico’s population growth is flat and that is helping create a drop in the state’s expected school grade population.

In areport presented Tuesdayto the Public School Capital Outlay Oversight Task Force the state’s population is getting older, so it’s less likely to be producing offspring that would be attending New Mexico schools.

The report by UNM’s Geospatial and Population Studies department says while urban and suburban areas are growing, rural populations are in decline, and there is little to show that changing in the future.

Jacqueline Miller is Senior Research Scientist for UNM GPS department. She says it means we can expect the school age population of New Mexico to continue to fall.

“Our population is aging, which contributes to lower fertility  in the state overall and school enrollment has declined in large part because our child population has declined,” she said. “That is because of decreases in fertility rates among women but also because of increases in outmigration in New Mexico for young families and young people.”            

New Mexico is not alone in the trend as the birth rate has fallen across the US since the Great Recession.      

It can be very expensive to raise a child in the current climate and according to a report by the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority, economists believe that has left many couples hesitant to have kids.