New Mexico brings to mind images of Santa Fe, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.
However, like all states, New Mexico has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.
With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in New Mexico that could use a helping hand.
To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 33 places in New Mexico with more than 5,000 people.
We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Land Of Enchantment for 2018:
- Deming (Photos)
- Sunland Park (Photos)
- Belen (Photos)
- Portales (Photos)
- Grants (Photos)
- Las Vegas (Photos)
- Truth Or Consequences (Photos)
- Taos (Photos)
- Silver City (Photos)
Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.
And according to the facts, Deming is the poorest place in New Mexico for 2018.
For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.
How We Determined The Poorest Places In New Mexico For 2018
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.
However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
- Unemployment Rate
The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.
The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.
After we collected the data for all 33 places with more than 5,000 people in New Mexico, we ranked each place from 1 to 33 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Deming, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In New Mexico For 2018’.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 33 places.
Population: 14,582Median Income: $26,044
Unemployment Rate: 16.6%
Poverty Rate: 32.1%
Deming, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in New Mexico thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.
The city of 14,582 people averages the 4th lowest median household income in New Mexico and the 5th highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.
Population: 9,459Median Income: $22,724
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Poverty Rate: 48.2%
The second poorest city in New Mexico is Anthony.
The city ranks as having the 1st highest incidence of poverty and 1st lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 9th highest in the Land of Enchantment.
3. Sunland Park
Population: 15,588Median Income: $28,920
Unemployment Rate: 12.9%
Poverty Rate: 37.8%
Placing as the third poorest city, Sunland Park’s median income ranks as the 6th lowest.
And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 37.8% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.
But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Land of Enchantment.
Population: 7,184Median Income: $31,133
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 32.2%
Belen ranks as the fourth poorest place in New Mexico.
The town ranks as having the 9th lowest median household income and the 4th highest incidence of poverty in the state.
That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.
Population: 12,275Median Income: $31,152
Unemployment Rate: 13.1%
Poverty Rate: 29.5%
The fifth poorest city in New Mexico is Portales.
The city ranks as having the 10th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 7th highest in New Mexico.
Still not the best news for Portales.
Population: 9,263Median Income: $35,765
Unemployment Rate: 11.9%
Poverty Rate: 27.5%
Grants ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Land of Enchantment.
It ranks as having the 11th highest incidence of poverty and the 4th highest unemployment rate.
7. Las Vegas
Population: 13,570Median Income: $24,220
Unemployment Rate: 7.6%
Poverty Rate: 34.4%
Las Vegas places as the seventh poorest city in New Mexico.
The city of over 13,570 ranks as having the 3rd highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.
8. Truth Or Consequences
Population: 6,157Median Income: $26,844
Unemployment Rate: 9.3%
Poverty Rate: 27.6%
Truth or Consequences ranks as the eighth poorest city in New Mexico.
The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 15th highest in the state.
Population: 5,735Median Income: $30,500
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Poverty Rate: 22.8%
Taos couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in New Mexico; it ranks number 9.
While the median income is the 8th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Taos ranks as having the 15th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in New Mexico.
10. Silver City
Population: 10,103Median Income: $38,487
Unemployment Rate: 9.4%
Poverty Rate: 30.2%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in New Mexico is Silver City.
The city of 10,103 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Land of Enchantment.
There You Have It – The Poorest Places In New Mexico For 2018
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in New Mexico, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in New Mexico.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in New Mexico, according to data:
2nd Richest: Carlsbad
3rd Richest: Los Ranchos De Albuquerque
For more New Mexico reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In New Mexico
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