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 5,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in New Mexico:
- Belen (Photos)
- Deming (Photos)
- Sunland Park (Photos)
- Grants (Photos)
- Gallup (Photos)
- Socorro (Photos)
- Bernalillo (Photos)
- Truth Or Consequences (Photos)
- Roswell (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Mexico for 2018
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 5,100 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.
Population: 7,184Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $98,700 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (4th worst)
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 13.4 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.
Population: 14,582Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $84,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.6% (1st worst)
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 16.6%. 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 $26,044. 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.’
Population: 9,459Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $86,100 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (9th worst)
Anthony is way down by El Paso, where people earn about $22,724 a year. The homes are a lot more expensive ($86,100). Meaning it’s even harder to live in Anthony at the poverty level.
4. Sunland Park
Population: 15,588Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $102,900 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.9% (3rd worst)
You can sure expect that Sunland Park is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 4th in our analysis. It is. In fact, Sunland Park has the 32nd-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 24 violent crimes here in 2015, and residents have a 1 in 125.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Sunland Park, 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 12.9% which is the 3rd worst in New Mexico.
Population: 9,263Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $103,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Grants is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of New Mexico. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of New Mexico. Grants is the 25th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 38.4 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $103,200, which is the 10th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Grants.
Income levels are just about $35,765, the 12th lowest in New Mexico.
When you add it all up, Grants really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Population: 22,523Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $132,000 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (18th worst)
Say what you want about how beautiful Gallup might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 18th highest in the state at 7.9%. Homes are the 18th lowest priced ($132,000), and the median income per household is just a tad over $38,646.
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.
Population: 8,760Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Home Values: $114,700 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (17th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Socorro is the 7th 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 7th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Socorro had a 1 in 18.4 chance of being robbed in 2014. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Socorro, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Socorro’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (8.2%) and income levels of its residents ($33,214).
Population: 8,676Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Values: $147,400 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (6th worst)
Out of all the places to live in New Mexico, Bernalillo ranks as the 8th worst — not something to brag about.
Bernalillo’s unemployment rate stands at 11.2%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $42,087 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 21st cheapest in the entire state at $147,400. 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 Bernalillo. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 10th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 22.1 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 100 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
9. Truth Or Consequences
Population: 6,157 Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Values: $77,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (14th worst)
There’s probably not many people in New Mexico that would be surprised to see Truth Or Consequences on this list. In fact, if Truth Or Consequences wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Truth Or Consequences has the 21st worst crime rate in New Mexico. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 22 violent crimes in Truth Or Consequences in 2015. Residents here had a 1 in 279 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Truth Or Consequences are the 2nd cheapest in the state ($77,600), the unemployment rate is the 14th highest (9.3%), and the annual household income is 5th lowest in New Mexico, at $26,844. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Population: 48,407Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Values: $100,700 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (20th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in New Mexico, Roswell ranks 10th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Roswell, crime is the 12th highest in the state, and 1 out of 22.7 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 155 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 Roswell have the 11th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Roswell undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 20th highest in New Mexico, at 7.7%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means New Mexico has some hard workers.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Mexico:
- Corrales (Pop. 8,474)
- Rio Rancho (Pop. 92,966)
- Ruidoso (Pop. 7,833)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New Mexico
|Truth Or Consequences||9||12|
|Los Ranchos De Albuquerque||29||30|