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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, where there's absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 3rd worst city in New Mexico.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Sunland Park has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 8.2%, and families earn around $27,442 a year. It's also the 16th highest in New Mexico for crime, where 1 in 28.1 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
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.
The unemployment rate in Bernalillo is a sky high 10.2%, which is the 7th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Bernalillo is $42,396. That means 20.4% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 33.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in New Mexico, Gallup ranks 6th worst. Let's see why.
Here in Gallup, crime is the highest in the state, and 1 out of 14.6 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That's not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 65 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That's really high.
When you look at adult education in New Mexico, the folks in Gallup have the 10th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Gallup undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 11th highest in New Mexico, at 8.1%. That's actually on par with the national average, which means New Mexico has some hard workers.
Truth Or Consequences ranks as the 7th-worst place in New Mexico due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 20th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Say what you want about how beautiful Roswell might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 22nd highest in the state at 6.0%. Homes are the 7th lowest priced ($105,700), and the median income per household is just a tad over $43,481.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
If you live in New Mexico, you may or may not be surprised that Hobbs ranked, at least on paper, as the 9th worst place to live in the state. It has the 16th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 11th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Hobbs is the 22nd most densely populated city in New Mexico. Draw your own conclusions.
When you're looking at science and data, Taos is the worst place you can live in New Mexico. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 6.1%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $254,200, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 13.8 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
Taos is a far drive south from Louisville.
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:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Mexico?
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