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:
- Belen (Photos)
- Deming (Photos)
- Sunland Park (Photos)
- Bernalillo (Photos)
- Gallup (Photos)
- Anthony (Photos)
- Lovington (Photos)
- Bloomfield (Photos)
- Grants (Photos)
- Taos (Photos)
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
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.
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.”
If you’re looking to live in New Mexico, Sunland Park might not be the best choice as it places 3rd in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Land of Enchantment for 2019.
The average family earns $28,231 a year out here, and 38.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 11.0% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Sunland Park, every year, you have a 1 in 45.5 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 26th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
While the median household income in Bernalillo is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Bernalillo still has the 7th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 9th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Bernalillo household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn’t help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Gallup is one of the poorest cities in the state of New Mexico. This city has 9.2% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $43,598 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Gallup has the 5th 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.
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.
There’s probably not many people in New Mexico that would be surprised to see Lovington on this list. In fact, if Lovington wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Lovington has the 12th worst crime rate in New Mexico. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 80 violent crimes in Lovington in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 149 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Lovington are the 8th cheapest in the state ($103,500), the unemployment rate is the 11th highest (8.9%), and the annual household income is 23rd lowest in New Mexico, at $52,056. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
You can sure expect that Bloomfield is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 8th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Bloomfield has the 22nd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 89 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 46.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Bloomfield, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 9.3% which is the 9th worst in New Mexico.
Grants is the 30th most dangerous place in the state of New Mexico. That’s part of the reason it’s the 9th worst place in New Mexico.
The fact remains, that when you’re within Grants city limits, you have a 1 in 57.6 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Grants also has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state at 12.1%? Or that homes are only valued at $105,500?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s little demand to live in Grants.
You might have passed through Taos once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Taos needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 8.3%, residents earn about $29,849 a year, and home prices are just over $281,500. 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 Taos.
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)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In New Mexico
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In New Mexico
- 10 Safest Places In New Mexico
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In New Mexico
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In New Mexico
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