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Mayor Tim Keller Releases Report on Racial Equity in Albuquerque

Report supports commitment to building a more inclusive economy that works for everyone.

June 19, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Mayor Tim Keller joined community organizations to release a new report, An Equity Profile of Albuquerque, which examines dozens of indicators of economic and social inclusion. The report finds that equitable growth leads to a stronger local economy. The Mayor called on all sectors to join together to address racial and economic inequities.

The Mayor also announced the city’s joint commitment with more than thirty local organizations and more than 150 national organizations to — a cross-sector commitment to racial equity practices sponsored by Race Forward, Living Cities and the Haas Institute.

 “We believe that all people living in Albuquerque deserve economic stability, yet we are seeing an increase of people who are working hard but not able to make ends meet. As with all economic challenges, this hits our communities of color hardest,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “This doesn’t reflect our values as a city, which is why we created the first-ever Office of Equity and Inclusion to address the inequalities we already knew existed. Now, we’re taking action to close these gaps to create an economy that works for everyone.”

The profile, prepared by PolicyLink and the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and in collaboration with a host of community organizations, will serve as a guide for the Mayor’s newly reorganized Office of Equity and Inclusion. 

“While much has been written in the past about Albuquerque and New Mexico’s many challenges, this report is a first-of-its kind analysis that outlines how much Albuquerque, as a whole, has to gain from addressing racial and economic equity head on,” said Michelle Melendez, Director of the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity and Inclusion.

The Mayor, upon taking office, established the city’s first Office of Equity and Inclusion, whose mission is to inspire and equip city government to make Albuquerque a model of embracing diversity as our greatest asset.

The Policylink report and other national research efforts show that greater economic and racial inclusion fosters stronger economic growth. Simply stated, equitable growth results in greater economic security for families, increased revenue for businesses, and a stronger local economy.

“Our analysis finds that Albuquerque’s regional economy could be $11 billion stronger every year absent its current racial inequities in income,” said James Crowder, senior associate at PolicyLink.

As Albuquerque’s population grows and continues to be one of the most diverse in the nation, inequities in income and opportunity have also increased, particularly within communities of color.

“As a city where nearly 75 percent of our children are children of color, we must be committed to fully engaging the entire community in our economic development,” said James Jimenez, Executive Director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “This report shows that when we fail to do so, we short-change communities of color and we are all less prosperous.”

Some key findings of the Profile include:

  • Population growth in Albuquerque is being driven by communities of color: as of 2015, six in ten Albuquerque residents are people of color, up from four in ten in 1980. 47 percent of the city’s residents identify as Latino or Hispanic, and the vast majority of them were born in the United States.
  • This rapid demographic change has created a large “racial generation gap” in the city: 74 percent of Albuquerque’s youth are people of color, compared with 37 percent of seniors—a 38 percentage point difference. This is the 18th highest racial generation gap among the largest 100 cities. This gap is a risk because studies have found that a larger gap corresponds with lower investment in public education.
  • Poverty and working poverty is on the rise in Albuquerque, and communities of color are most impacted by the lack of economic opportunity. 26 percent of Native American women, 18 percent of Latino and Native American men, and 15 percent of Latina women are working full-time but earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $48,000 for a family of four). In the Albuquerque metro area, 18 percent of black women and 16 percent of black men are working poor. For Asian or Pacific Islander men, the rate is 25 percent, and is 18 percent for Asian or Pacific Islander women.
  • The report also found that black renters are more likely than any other group to be paying more than 30 % of their income towards housing (57.5%)

Read the full report here:

Learn more about Racial Equity Here and commit to action at


Racial Equity Here is a unique, cross-sector collaboration led jointly by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) (a part of the new Race Forward) and Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative focused on racial and economic justice.

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity.

New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico's children, families and communities.