New Mexico was home to nearly 140k ex-service members in 2021
A recent analysis of the state’s veterans conducted by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions shows that, by and large, those former service members are doing better in many areas than their nonveteran counterparts across the state, including in income and educational attainment.
The 2023 Veterans Profile released Nov. 9 by the Department of Workforce Solutions shows that New Mexico was home to nearly 140,000 veterans who made up 8.6% of the state’s population in 2021. That figure left New Mexico tied with Nevada for 12th in the nation in its concentration of veterans among the general population. Catron County (17.4%), Otero County (16.3%) and Sierra County (16%) had the highest percentage of veterans in the state, while Lea County had the lowest percentage at 3.5%, followed closely by McKinley County (5.7%) and Guadalupe County (6.2). San Juan County tied for fourth on that list with Roosevelt County at 6.6%.
While nearly one-third of all veterans in the state, 32.3%, have some form of disability, compared to 18.3% of nonveterans, they nevertheless attend and graduate from college at a higher rate than nonveterans. The study shows that 38% of veterans have earned an associate degree or completed some college, while 33.7% possess at least a bachelor’s degree. Among nonveterans, only 31.5% have at least an associate degree or some college, while 27.9% have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
That difference in educational attainment is reflected in income levels among the two groups, according to the analysis. The median annual income for New Mexico veterans in 2021 was $43,971, significantly higher than the figure for the state’s nonveterans ($27,197). New Mexico veterans also were significantly less likely to live in poverty than nonveterans, with only 7.8% of them falling below the poverty level in 2021, compared to 17.4% of the remainder of the population.
In terms of unemployment, several counties in the state — Union, Harding, Guadalupe, De Baca, Soccorro, Catron and Luna — effectively showed a 0% unemployment rate among veterans. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Taos County’s jobless rate among veterans was the highest at 21%, followed by Lincoln County (10.2%), Curry County (8.9%) and Lea County (8.5%).
The overall jobless rate for the state’s veterans was 3.3% in 2022, lower than the rate for New Mexico’s nonveterans at 3.8%. The national unemployment rate for veterans also was 2.8%, compared to 3.8% for nonveterans.
The analysis indicates that homeless among veterans is decreasing at the national level. Slightly more than 33,000 veterans across the United States were homeless in 2022, a reduction of more than 4,100 people or 11.1%, since 2020. In New Mexico, there were an estimated 91 homeless veterans, but the study did not indicate whether that figure has increased or decreased in recent years.
In terms of personal characteristics, New Mexico’s veteran population skews toward an older demographic. Nearly one-fourth (23.2%) of the state’s vets are age 75 or older, while another 27% are between the ages of 65 and 74. Only 7.7% of New Mexico veterans are between the ages of 18 and 34.
An overwhelming majority (89.9%) of the state’s veterans are male, but the study shows the percentage of female veterans in New Mexico has increased steadily in recent years, growing from 8.5% in 2016 to 10.1% in 2021.
The study also shows that the state’s population of veterans is less diverse than the state’s nonveteran population in terms of race. More than three-quarters (76.3%) of New Mexico veterans are white, compared to 65% for nonveterans. As for ethnicity, 30.6% of the state’s veterans identified as Hispanic or Latino, compared to 47.7% among nonveterans. Nearly six in 10 New Mexico veterans (57.6%) identified as white alone, compared to only 38.2% among nonveterans.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or email@example.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.
Rivalry Renewed as NM State Suffers 44-Point Loss to UNM – KVIA
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KVIA) — On Saturday, the Lobos and Aggies clashed for the first time in nearly two years. The home team fed off the energy from its sellout crowd all night, soundly defeating the visiting Aggies 106-62. NM State was led by Femi Odukale, who drew 12 fouls to finish with 18 points and seven rebounds. The Lobos rode a hot first half from veteran guard Jaelen House to improve to 7-1 on the season. With the loss, the Aggies are now 4-6. The two teams will meet again in just 13 days at the Pan American Center on Dec. 15.
Jaylin Jackson-Posey knocked down the first bucket of the game from beyond the arc. However, there wasn’t much action on the offensive end immediately after. In the first nine minutes of the game, NM State only put up six shots. Luckily for the Aggies, five of the six fell, keeping them in the mix early. A media timeout came with UNM ahead 19-13 at the 10:17 mark, effectively marking the end of the first quarter of action. At that point, Christian Cook and Jackson-Posey were both two-for-two on field goals and accounted for 10 of the Aggies’ 13 points.
After being forced to play with four men against Louisville less than a week ago, fouls plagued the Aggies once again. As a team, they committed 18 fouls in the first 20 minutes, and their 10th foul put the Lobos in the double bonus for the final 9:20 of the half. A 9-0 Lobo run swelled the lead to 40-24, forcing a timeout from Head Coach Jason Hooten with 4:24 left. The run would continue to 14-0, giving UNM a 45-24 lead before Kaosi Ezeagu hit a pair of free throws to stop the bleeding. The Aggies went nearly a fifth of the game without a field goal, being held to only nine free throws between the 9:29 and 1:33 marks.
55 first-half Lobo points were the most by NM State or any opponent this season. The last time the Aggies allowed at least 55 points in a half was against Southern Utah on Jan. 19, 2023. The Thunderbirds dropped 58 in the first half of a 111-76 victory. UNM was led by Jaelen House, who dropped in an efficient 26 points. The graduate guard was 8-9 from the field, 5-5 from deep, and 5-5 at the free throw line in the first 20 minutes.
Things wouldn’t get much better for the defense after the break. UNM came out of the locker room and scored 14 points before the next media timeout, pulling ahead 69-38. Jaylin Jackson-Posey picked up his fifth foul with 10:29 remaining, sending him to the bench for the remainder of the game. The Aggies were outscored 51-30 in the second half, and shot just 33.3% from the field. Keylon Dorsey hit the team’s lone three pointer out of 10 attempts. UNM put together another 9-0 run that concluded with 3:37 left on the clock. The burst pushed the Lobos over 100, heading into the final media timeout with a 101-58 advantage.
The two sides were comparable in most second half statistical categories. The Aggies outrebounded the Lobos 18-16, each side had four steals and the teams were only separated by one foul. The difference in the half was shotmaking, and the quality of offensive opportunities. The home team hoisted 14 three-point attempts in the final 20 minutes, and knocked down seven of them. The Lobos canned 18 of their 28 total field goals and made eight free throws. NM State couldn’t force their opponents away from their spots, and UNM took advantage, hanging another 50-plus point half.
Numbers of Note
- The last time the Aggies allowed 106 or more points was Jan. 19, 2023, when Southern Utah scored 111.
- UNM’s 44-point margin of victory is its largest in at least the last 40 years of the rivalry series.
- NM State coughed it up 17 times to UNM’s seven. Saturday marked the second-most turnovers in a game this season, and the most since the regular-season opener at Kentucky.
- UNM’s bench outscored NM State’s reserves 51-15. Tru Washington (21) single-handedly scored more than the Aggies’ bench unit.
- No Aggies were positive in their minutes. All Aggies that played at least five minutes were -10 or worse.
The Aggies will have more than a week off before returning home to the Pan American Center. The Aggies will welcome two consecutive in-state rivals, starting with Northern NM before a rematch with New Mexico. The matchup with the Eagles is set to tip off at 7:30 PM MT on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and available to follow via StatBroadcast.
Lady Eagles outlast Amherst 29-28
AMHERST, Texas – Freshman Reece Robb scored 10 points and freshman Madisyn Kruckeberg had a trio of 3-pointers for nine on Tuesday night, and Clovis Christian’s girls opened their season with a 29-28 victory over Amherst.
CCS built a 16-9 halftime lead, but the Lady Bulldogs rallied to go ahead by a point entering the final stanza. A last-second 3 attempt by Amherst rattled in and out.
Senior Dennys Reyes finished with 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs (1-3).
In other Tuesday area girls matchups:
Farwell 40, Christoval 32 – In a neutral-court game played at Sands H.S., junior Makylee Baldwin scored 12 points and junior Landri Richey added 10 as the Lady Blue improved to 5-1 for the season.
Farwell led 13-5 at the quarter and kept the Lady Cougars at bay the rest of the way. It was the first outing of the season against a Class 2A opponent for the 2A Lady Blue, whose first five games were against Class 3A and 4A competition.
Junior Jordyn Walker finished with 11 points and junior Madyson George added 10 for Christoval.
Muleshoe 58, Lockney 19 – At Muleshoe, the Lady Mules (3-5) opened a 37-5 lead at halftime and cruised past the winless Lady Longhorns (0-4).
Junior Aubrey Granados scored 19 points and sophomore Adalie Agundis added 14 for the Lady Mules, who posted their second consecutive win.
Elida 50, Carrizozo 10 – At Elida, the host Tigers made short work of the Lady Grizzlies in the season opener for both sides.
Elida led 10-1 at the quarter and 24-3 at halftime. High scorers for the Lady Tigers were freshmen Addison Yates with 12 points and Reatta Munsell with 10.
Junior Bryana Villanueva topped the Lady Grizzlies with five points.
Also on Tuesday, Silverton (3-3) pulled away in the final stanza for a 42-32 victory at home over Bovina (1-6).
In area boys action on Tuesday:
Elida 74, Carrizozo 30 – The host Tigers led 19-14 at the quarter, but dominated the Grizzlies the rest of the way in the season opener for both squads.
Senior Seth Jimenez funneled in 19 points for Elida, while juniors Hardy Fraze and Dylan Dobbins each scored 11. Senior Riley Gallacher led the Grizzlies with 11 points.
Childress 67, Farwell 59 – In a game played at Bushland H.S., the defending Class 3A state runnerup Bobcats (3-0) opened a 24-point halftime lead and held off the Steers (0-2), who are still less than two weeks removed from the Texas Class 2A football playoffs.
Seniors Aiden Allen and Billy Moore paced Childress with 15 and 14 points, respectively. For Farwell, five players scored eight or more points, led by sophomore Braddock Foster with 18 points and senior Cesar Snyder with 12.
Silverton 37, Bovina 43 – The homestanding Owls won their season opener, holding off a late run by the Mustangs (0-3) for the victory.
Senior Sawyer Francis led Silverton with 15 points, while senior Carlos Adams added nine. Seniors Yandel DeLeon and Michael Nieto with eight points each and Miguel Lopez and Gabriel Nieto with seven apiece topped the Mustangs.
Amherst 65, Clovis Christian 38 – At Amherst, the Eagles hung tough for three quarters before the Bulldogs used a 21-7 surge over the final eight minutes to put the game out of reach.
Senior Jaden Martinez paced CCS with 14 points, while senior Noah McKay added four 3-pointers for 12.
The Environmental Improvement Board rule is unsustainable
After four long days of testimony and public comment the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) decided recently to move forward with Gov. Lujan Grisham’s plan to follow California’s “clean vehicle” standard. In practice that means New Mexico’s car dealers will have to increase sales of EV’s in New Mexico from the current 3 percent of all new vehicles to 43 percent by summer of 2026 and 82 percent by summer of 2031.
That may seem like a long time away, but the summer of 2026 is less than 3 years from now. New Mexico’s car dealers are the ones with the most to lose under this policy, but the new rules will negatively impact all New Mexicans. Car dealers rightly fear that New Mexicans will travel to neighboring states to purchase their cars. There is nothing to stop them. In fact, online super-seller Amazon just announced that it would begin selling vehicles online.
Amazon’s presence in the auto market alone is a problem for car dealers but if Amazon (and out-of-state dealers) can sell whatever consumers want and New Mexico dealers can’t, that is a big problem. Many car dealers are small businesses. New car dealers average 56 employees per dealership and employ a total of 6,314 New Mexicans statewide. Car dealers also pay numerous taxes (like property, payroll, and income) that Amazon and Texas dealers won’t pay when they sell cars to New Mexicans.
The EIB’s process is hugely problematic. New Mexico’s Democrats talk endlessly about defending “democracy” but when push comes to shove, elected bodies like the Legislature refuse to guard their own power. Every Democrat in the Legislature needs to go on the record in support or opposition to the Gov.’s mandate when seeing reelection in 2024. Notably, every single Republican in the Legislature signed letters in opposition to the proposal.
Sadly, despite overwhelming numbers of New Mexicans expressing their opposition (including 3,517 individual opponents through our KeepYourCarsNM.com website), the SEVEN-member Board voted on a mere 3-2 basis to adopt the mandate. The Gov. couldn’t even get an outright majority of her own appointed board to support her policies.
So, who supported it? Major environmental groups led the charge of course. But, in attending the hearings a common refrain from supporters (many of them wealthy, Anglo, EV owners from Albuquerque and Santa Fe) were that “EV’s work great for them.”
That attitude ignores the dire lack of charging infrastructure throughout rural New Mexico, an issue that is even more acute in Navajo Country. Apartment dwellers and those who do not own single family homes, while often living a “green” lifestyle will inevitably struggle to charge their mandated vehicles.
Factually speaking, this mandate cannot and will not work. New Mexicans will simply not have enough EV’s available to comply with this mandate with vastly more populous California having already embraced similar rules. Car dealers will go out of business and either Lujan Grisham or some future Gov. will either delay or modify this unworkable mandate.
The question is how many jobs will be killed in New Mexico? How many people and businesses will leave our state or choose not to come here due to the adoption of another ill-conceived public policy? We don’t know, but what we do know is that despite having the benefit of a large federal infrastructure (and the jobs and tax dollars it brings) and being the 2nd-leading oil producing state in the entire country, New Mexico remains poor and is losing its young people.
In the name of environmental “sustainability” our Gov. has made New Mexico’s future less sustainable.
Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility
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