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.”
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.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 26th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Sunland Park had a 1 in 45.5 chance of being robbed in 2016. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Sunland Park, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Sunland Park’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (11.0%) and income levels of its residents ($28,231).
What the heck is going on in little Bernalillo? The crime is the 9th highest in the state of New Mexico. Here, residents have a 1 in 21.1 chance of being robbed. That means if you live here, and didn’t have something stolen from you, there’s a good chance your neighbor did.
That ratio is one of the highest we’ve seen in the nation. Perhaps the high unemployment rate has something to do with it. More than 10.4% of Bernalillo residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 7th highest in the state.
If you’re looking to live in New Mexico, Gallup might not be the best choice as it places 5th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Land of Enchantment for 2017.
The average family earns $43,598 a year out here, and 29.9% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 9.2% 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 Gallup, every year, you have a 1 in 14.8 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 5th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
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 needs some tough love as it ranks as the 7th worst city to live in New Mexico for 2017. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Lovington is the 12th highest in the state, where 1 in 22.5 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Say what you want about how beautiful Bloomfield might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 9th highest in the state at 9.3%. Homes are the 19th lowest priced ($143,000), and the median income per household is just a tad over $55,372.
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.
Tthe small town of Grants has the 12th lowest income levels in the entire state. At $35,671, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 12.1%. Additionally, 26.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $105,500.
At least the crime is very minimal here.
There’s probably not many people in New Mexico that would be surprised to see Taos on this list. In fact, if Taos wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Taos has the 2nd worst crime rate in New Mexico. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 36 violent crimes in Taos in 2017. Residents here had a 1 in 157 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Taos are the 30th cheapest in the state ($281,500), the unemployment rate is the 14th highest (8.3%), and the annual household income is 9th lowest in New Mexico, at $29,849. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
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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