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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 6,000 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 2020.
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 2020
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 11.8%. 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 $23,633. 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 5th most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Belen, you have a 1 in 19.6 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.
Sunland Park is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Sunland Park is the 16th most dangerous place you can live in New Mexico.
Residents in Sunland Park have a 1 in 28.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you're considering home prices, you can't do much lower than in Sunland Park, where average homes are valued at only$104,000. That's the 5th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Anthony is way down by El Paso, where people earn about $23,378 a year. The homes are a lot more expensive ($98,700). Meaning it's even harder to live in Anthony at the poverty level.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Bernalillo is the 14th most dangerous city in New Mexico, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 33.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That's really high for New Mexico, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 20th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Bernalillo bring in just under $42,396 a year annually.
You might have passed through Gallup once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why Gallup needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 8.1%, residents earn about $44,768 a year, and home prices are just over $127,700. 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 Gallup.
Truth Or Consequences is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Truth Or Consequences residents earn the 4th-lowest salaries in the state. At $27,511 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $79,700, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 23rd highest in New Mexico per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 4th highest in the state, at 11.0%.
Roswell's main issue is crime. It's the 10th most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Roswell, you have a 1 in 24.0 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 unemployment rate is higher than the state average at 6.0%.
Hobbs places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in New Mexico.
You can imagine it's a pretty simple life down there. Which is fine, unless you look closely at the data.
Homes are the 16th cheapest in the state, and at $131,700, just about anyone with a pulse can buy a home here. However, the unemployment rate (7.2%) is the 16th highest in New Mexico, and income levels are far below the state average. And 19.2% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Would you have guessed that the area around Hobbs has one of the highest crime rates, per capita in New Mexico?
The city of Taos is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of New Mexico in 2020.
It's unlucky for Taos, which has the 20th highest unemployment rate (6.1%), the 7th lowest household incomes ($30,893) and the 29th lowest home prices in the state ($254,200).
Basically, a lot of people in Taos are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it's not one of the most dangerous places we'll look at, it's in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in New Mexico.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Mexico for 2020
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 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Mexico:
- Alamogordo (Pop. 31,230)
- Artesia (Pop. 12,202)
- Corrales (Pop. 8,544)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In New Mexico
- Richest Cities In New Mexico
- Safest Places In New Mexico
- Best Cities For Singles In New Mexico
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Mexico?
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