Editorial: Census wakeup call: State’s low growth shows need for hard conversations and big policy i

BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD

Sunday, May 9th, 2021 at 12:02am



The federal census numbers are in, and they are concerning. New Mexico has gained only 58,000 residents since 2010 while our neighboring states flourished. More people are leaving than moving here, we’re losing our future leaders and our overall population is getting older.


New Mexico’s overall population has grown by just 2.8% since 2010, the smallest rate recorded since statehood. Meanwhile, Texas grew by 15.9%, Colorado by 14.8%, Arizona by 11.9% and the nation by 7.4%. Utah led the country with a phenomenal growth rate of 18.4%.


There are those who say that’s fine with them, that we don’t have the resources for more people. But low, flat or negative population growth is a symptom of an illness. State leaders should take the census numbers very seriously because they are an indication of our future. Policymakers need to sit down and ask themselves what they are doing wrong, and then figure out how to do it right. And they need to bring in – and listen to – leaders of both the public and private sectors.


If not, we risk becoming an abandoned movie set – literally.


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