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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 5,900 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in New Mexico:
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 Deming.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In New Mexico
- Cheapest Places To Live In New Mexico
- Most Dangerous Cities In New Mexico
The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Mexico For 2021
When you're looking at science and data, Deming is the worst place you can live in New Mexico. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 12.1%. 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 $27,079. 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."
Belen's main issue is crime. It's the 2nd most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Belen, you have a 1 in 19.9 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.
Anthony is way down by El Paso, where people earn about $23,948 a year. The homes are a lot more expensive ($103,800). Meaning it's even harder to live in Anthony at the poverty level.
Sunland Park is the 4th worst city in New Mexico for 2021. When you're comparing other cities to Sunland Park, things just don't look great, at least according to science.
Sunland Park is the 28th 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 7.6%, worse than the state average.
Home values are really low ($111,100), and residents earn just $27,266 a year.
Bernalillo, part of Sandoval County, is the 5th worst place to live in New Mexico for 2021.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $44,978, and crime 11th worst in New Mexico.
Additionally, the poverty level is 18.3% in Bernalillo.
Gallup is the most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. That's part of the reason it's the 6th worst place in New Mexico.
The fact remains, that when you're within Gallup city limits, you have a 1 in 15.6 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Gallup also has the 12th highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.4%? Or that homes are only valued at $132,000?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Gallup.
We're seeing a pattern here. A small, isolated city with a bad economy. Grants is located in Cibola County.
Here, the schools are way underfunded, when you compare them to the rest of New Mexico. Families can barely make ends meet, and the unemployment rate (8.5%) is the 9th highest in the state. A home here sells for $101,900, on average. That signals it's not a desirable place to live.
Plus, crime is in the top 10%.
If you live in New Mexico, you may or may not be surprised that Clovis ranked, at least on paper, as the 8th worst place to live in the state. It has the 14th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 7th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Clovis is the 26th most densely populated city in New Mexico. Draw your own conclusions.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in New Mexico, Los Lunas came in 9th. Let's see why.
The city has very bad crime (5th worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 6.5%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
The unemployment rate in Portales is a sky high 11.5%, which is the 2nd highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Portales is $37,921. That means 27.8% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 38.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Mexico for 2021
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 -- Deming. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New Mexico. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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, Deming ranks as the worst city to live in New Mexico for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Mexico:
- Raton (Pop. 6,047)
- Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (Pop. 6,114)
- Corrales (Pop. 8,588)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Mexico?