Growing Up In The Poorest State In The Country
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Politics and Activism

Growing Up In The Poorest State In The Country

From 50th in Education to 1st in Poverty, Teen Pregnancy, and Robbery

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Growing Up In The Poorest State In The Country

New Mexico, the 'Land of Enchantment,' is the state that is often overlooked by outsiders. Some people don't even know that it's a state. It's the place that raised me and made me who I am, yet as I've grown older I've realized its many faults. There's a running joke among fellow New Mexicans that we're number one in all the bad things and last in all the good. It really is no laughing matter, though, that thousands of people in the state I call home are struggling to barely scrape by.

I live in Albuquerque- the biggest city in the state. On almost every street corner there are homeless people and beggars asking for money. There's a park right by my house with a community pool, softball fields, and a dog park. It was where I used to play my softball tournaments and run around with my puppies with the fresh eye of youth. Now, I look upon the park with adult eyes and am terrified to walk around it and see all the drug needles that litter the wood chips of the dog park.

Park littered with needles nearly one year after SHARP program


Park littered with needles nearly one year after SHARP programwww.krqe.com


Workers at an Albuquerque community center say they find dozens of hypodermic needles in their park, daily. With summer right around the corner, they're about to have hundreds of kids playing there every day.

With these high rates of poverty come high crime rates. This year Albuquerque was named number one in robbery, specifically auto-theft. Cars are constantly stolen, so much so that the Albuquerque Police Department rarely bats an eye. My senior biology teacher had her car stolen when she was at the movie theater. When she got home, the thieves were attempting to break into her house because she left her registration (which had her address) in her car. Another example of the lengths that criminals go to in New Mexico is how my best friend's car was broken into in her own driveway. She left nothing in her car except her bowling ball in her bag, which was taken. Luckily it was nothing else, but it just shows how desperate criminals are in this state to simply make a couple of bucks.

Then, there's the education aspect. Albuquerque Public Schools lacks funding due to poverty-stricken circumstances, which then allows for poor education. There are not many resources for a prospering learning environment. Not only that, but the struggle to get kids to attend school, and doing well in it nevertheless, is difficult when one-third of children in New Mexico live below the poverty line. Therefore, it's harder for them to escape the circle of poverty that traps them. With this worse education comes a lack-luster sex education, which is why there are thousands of teen pregnancies. All of these things (poverty, crime rates, bad education, and teen pregnancy) all feed off each other and are hard to improve.

Saying all this, though, I believe that change is possible and that New Mexico can escape these deficiencies. I'm glad I grew up where I did because now I'm constantly aware of my surroundings and am suspicious of sketchy situations. It was ingrained in me to be careful everywhere I go. It's also humbled me and made me sympathetic with those who are homeless and those are struggling to get by because those people were my classmates, teammates, friends, and so much more. Growing up in New Mexico shaped me into who I am and I wouldn't choose to have grown up anywhere else.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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