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.
If, by some reason, you were driving through Bernalillo, after stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here.
It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($41,219) and they can’t get good jobs (10.4% unemployment rate).
Bernalillo ranks as the 4th wost place in New Mexico.
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as New Mexico when we get to Gallup. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 9.2% (which is really high), and the median income is $43,598. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
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.
If you live in Lovington, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 7th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 12th highest crime rate in New Mexico, which saw 80 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 22.5 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 149 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Lovington.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Lovington sports the state’s 11th highest unemployment rate (8.9%), and families bring in a combined $52,056 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $103,500.
Bloomfield ranks as the 8th worst place to live in New Mexico for 2019.
While the unemployment rate is high (but not terrible), crime is a real factor here. It’s the 22nd most dangerous place you can live in New Mexico, according to the latest FBI numbers. If you live here, you have a high chance of being a victim each year.
Residents here earn about $55,372 a year. That’s in the bottom half of what people in New Mexico normally make.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Grants ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 10th cheapest in the state here at $105,500. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Grants.
The median income levels here are the 12th lowest in the state of New Mexico, at $35,671. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we’ll talk about in a minute. And almost 12.1% of people in Grants were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
Taos ranks as the 10th worst city in New Mexico. Located in Taos County, Taos has the 9th lowest income levels in the state of New Mexico ($29,849), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 8.3%.
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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