If you’ve ever been to New Mexico, you know it’s a beautiful place. The desert landscapes are some of the prettiest places in the country, and the mountain areas have some of the best outdoor activities in the entire southwest.
But is it all enchanting in the Land Of Enchantment? Of course not. Just like every other state, New Mexico has its trouble spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which cities in New Mexico are the least desirable to live in.
Of course, you’ll most likely disagree if you see your town atop this list. But nonetheless, according to science, these cities are the worst places you could possibly live if you make New Mexico your home. These places need a big hug right about now.
After analyzing 32 of the state’s most populous cities (over 5,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in New Mexico:
- Belen (Photos)
- Deming (Photos)
- Sunland Park (Photos)
- Anthony (Photos)
- Gallup (Photos)
- Bernalillo (Photos)
- Socorro (Photos)
- Grants (Photos)
- Lovington (Photos)
- Truth or Consequences (Photos)
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in New Mexico? That would be Belen.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In New Mexico
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New Mexico
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Mexico
How we determined the worst places to live in New Mexico for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 32 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 32 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in New Mexico — Belen. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New Mexico.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Belen’s main issue is crime. It’s the 1st most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Belen, you have a 1 in 12.4 chance that you’ll be the victim of a property crime. That’s really high, especially for a city of its size. That’s a lot of stolen lawn mowers, cell phones and cameras. Perhaps it’s because the folks here live in far nicer homes than some of the other cities to top this list. They’re targets.
The public schools are underfunded and the unemployment rate is far higher than the state average.
Belen is a half hour south of Albuquerque on I-25.
When you’re looking at science and data, Deming is the 2nd worst place you can live in New Mexico. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 11.7%. That’s out of this world high. Located about 30 miles north of the Mexico border, there’s a good chance that many of the out-of-work residents are recent immigrants.
The average income for a household here is $25,428. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty level for a family of four is $24,600. So the people in Deming are barely making ends meet.
Crime, while not sky high, is still above average for the state, and there were two murders in this small city two years ago. And the public education system is rated very low in terms of the number of dollars spent per student.
Plus, what do you do for entertainment in Deming? It’s an hour west from Las Cruces on I-10. All there is to do for fun is shop at Walmart and eat Mexican food. Oh wait, there’s an annual duck contest in town every year!
Here’s what one person said about Deming on City-Data: “Lots of vacant and/or underutilized commercial property and storefronts, businesses closing, some fairly grim housing, it just seems to lose a little more air every time I’m through there.”
When you’re looking at science and data, Sunland Park is the worst place you can live in New Mexico. Let’s see why.
The unemployment rate here is 11.0%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $104,400, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 45.5 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That’s not fun, either.
Sunland Park is a far drive south from Louisville.
Anthony is way down by El Paso, where people earn about $24,398 a year. The homes are a lot more expensive ($84,300). Meaning it’s even harder to live in Anthony at the poverty level.
Gallup takes the 5th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons — below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Gallup its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index — the 5th worst in the whole state.
You might have passed through Bernalillo once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Bernalillo needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 10.4%, residents earn about $41,219 a year, and home prices are just over $155,800. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn’t anything to do in Bernalillo.
While numbers in New Mexico are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare New Mexico cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Socorro average $110,200, which is the 11th lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Socorro.
Plus, 32.2% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 8th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Socorro city limits, you have a 1 in 20.3 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
you’re looking to live in New Mexico, Grants might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
Grants doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Grants may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Lovington is the 9th worst city in New Mexico for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Lovington, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.
Lovington is the 12th most dangerous place in New Mexico, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 8.9%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($103,500), and residents earn just $52,056 a year.
Welcome to Truth Or Consequences, which might be one of the poorest areas in New Mexico. Residents average $27,350 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 26.3% of Truth Or Consequences residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $75,300 and the unemployment rate hovers near 11.0%.
Wrapping Up The Worst In New Mexico
If you’re looking at areas in New Mexico with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Belen ranks as the worst city to live in New Mexico for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Mexico:
- Santa Fe (Pop. 82,980)
- Rio Rancho (Pop. 93,317)
- Corrales (Pop. 8,463)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In New Mexico
- 10 Safest Places In New Mexico
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In New Mexico
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In New Mexico
|10||Truth Or Consequences||6,029|
|29||Los Ranchos De Albuquerque||6,097|