It is one thing to criticize policies. It is another to criticize culture, but just today it is being reported that one in ten New Mexico children have a parent in jail.
Certainly, there are a number of policy ideas that can help alleviate that problem, and we at the Rio Grande Foundation spend most of our time focusing on the former, there is no doubt that New Mexico has some unique issues relating to culture. In some ways, culture is New Mexico’s greatest strength. Its unique history of Native, Hispanic, and Anglo mingling (not to mention other ethnic groups) is what makes this state so unique, but “culture” is means many things and as a new report by the Family Prosperity Initiative points out (see map below), New Mexico faces some unique “culture-related” problems.
The chart ranks all 50 states on Violent Crime, Property Crime, Unwed Births, Religion, and Education. One may quibble with the inclusion of Religion, but I think think the rest are self-explanatory as beneficial or harmful. Economic success can occur even in places with weak cultural indicators (Florida and Georgia to name two), but it would be great if New Mexico’s culture could shift in a way that supplemented the much-needed move towards freer markets.