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:
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
The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Mexico For 2019
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, the city of Sunland Park is the 3rd worst place you can live in the state of New Mexico. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Sunland Park, located in Doña Ana County, have the 26th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $104,400, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of New Mexico, that is.
Bernalillo is one of the poorest cities in the state of New Mexico. This city has 10.4% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $41,219 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Bernalillo has the 9th highest crime rate in New Mexico. While the numbers aren’t staggering (New Mexico is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Land of Enchantment.
Out of all the places to live in New Mexico, Gallup ranks as the 5th worst — not something to brag about.
Gallup’s unemployment rate stands at 9.2%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $43,598 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 16th cheapest in the entire state at $123,700. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Gallup. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 5th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 14.8 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 62 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
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.
Lovington, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 7th worst city in New Mexico.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Lovington has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 8.9%, and families earn around $52,056 a year. It’s also the 12th highest in New Mexico for crime, where 1 in 22.5 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
Bloomfield, NM needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 9.3%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 22nd highest in the state. You have a 1 in 46.7 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Grants, part of Cibola County, is the 9th worst place to live in New Mexico for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $35,671, and crime 30th worst in New Mexico.
Additionally, the poverty level is 26.7% in Grants.
you’re looking to live in New Mexico, Taos might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
Taos 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, Taos may not be your first choice for a vacation.
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.
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:
- Alamogordo (Pop. 30,963)
- Rio Rancho (Pop. 93,317)
- Corrales (Pop. 8,463)
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