Where are the best places in the state of New Mexico?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Land of Enchantment where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in New Mexico.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 32 places in New Mexico, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Corrales (Photos)
- Rio Rancho (Photos)
- Ruidoso (Photos)
- Los Ranchos De Albuquerque (Photos)
- Santa Fe (Photos)
- Carlsbad (Photos)
- Artesia (Photos)
- Alamogordo (Photos)
- Farmington (Photos)
- Albuquerque (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in New Mexico.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Santa Fe with a population of 82,927 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,100
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,100
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 32 cities, 96 towns, and 299 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,100 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In New Mexico
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in New Mexico across a number of criteria from one to 32, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In New Mexico”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in New Mexico.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Corrales at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 8,474 Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $433,100 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (6th best)
According to scientific data, Corrales is the best place in New Mexico, and it’s not even close.
Residents here earn the 1st most per household in the state and crime is basically non-existent.
No wonder the population here has jumped more than 30% in the last five years. Everyone who can afford it wants to live here.
So if you’re moving to New Mexico and want to settle in an awesome place, look no further.
2. Rio Rancho
Population: 92,966Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $173,100 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (10th best)
Rio Rancho has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of New Mexico. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Rio Rancho is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home pricese. Additionally, the commute time for Rio Rancho residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Population: 7,833Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Values: $167,600 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (7th best)
Ruidoso takes 3rd place on our list of best places in New Mexico for 2018 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (7th overall) and things to do.
Ruidoso is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years.And that tends to happen when home prices hit $167,600 at the median.
4. Los Ranchos De Albuquerque
Population: 6,069 Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Values: $346,300 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (3rd best)
Los Ranchos De Albuquerque has a strong showing in our best places to live in New Mexico analysis, coming it at 4th best.
It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.
If you’re thinking of moving to New Mexico, Los Ranchos De Albuquerque is a great option.
5. Santa Fe
Population: 82,927Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $259,700 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (8th best)
In Santa Fe, everyone loves to call Santa Fe home! The median home value is the 4th highest in New Mexico.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 8th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Land of Enchantment.
Population: 28,079Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Values: $125,300 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (4th best)
Carlsbad has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Carlsbad has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.4% and lowering. And the Carlsbad police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 16th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Population: 11,817Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Values: $145,400 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (2nd best)
Artesia has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Artesia has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.1% and lowering. And the Artesia police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 22nd lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Population: 31,201Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Values: $113,200 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (17th best)
The Alamogordo has the 17th lowest unemployment rate in New Mexico. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Alamogordo is higher than the national average and households make $46,364 per year.
We’d move to Alamogordo if we could in a heart beat.
Population: 44,067Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Values: $174,900 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (12th best)
Farmington has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of New Mexico. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Farmington is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home pricese. Additionally, the commute time for Farmington residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Population: 556,859Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Values: $185,400 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (9th best)
And rounding out the top 10 best places to live in New Mexico is Albuquerque.
Albuquerque followed a similar path to other cities the top 10 with its low unemployment, however it also stood out for its crime rates, which place in the top 10% of the state.
Another universally recognized great place to live, Albuquerque has consistently appeared as one of the best places to live in New Mexico over the years.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In New Mexico
If you’re looking at areas in New Mexico with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Corrales made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In New Mexico
- Sandia Heights (Pop. 3,319)
- La Huerta (Pop. 1,332)
- San Antonito CDP (Bernalillo (Pop. 1,186)
- Sandia Knolls (Pop. 1,475)
- Cannon AFB (Pop. 2,701)
- White Sands (Pop. 1,304)
- Holloman AFB (Pop. 4,070)
- Bosque Farms (Pop. 3,863)
- El Rancho (Pop. 1,185)
- Placitas CDP (Sandoval (Pop. 4,853)
Best Small Towns To Live In New Mexico
- Brazos (Pop. 97)
- Pueblo (Pop. 22)
- Cobre (Pop. 21)
- Los Luceros (Pop. 543)
- Veguita (Pop. 290)
- Luis Lopez (Pop. 239)
- Rancho Grande (Pop. 57)
- Pleasanton (Pop. 152)
- Lyden (Pop. 296)
- Twin Forks (Pop. 254)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in New Mexico:
- Belen (Pop. 7,184)
- Deming (Pop. 14,582)
- Anthony (Pop. 9,459)
For more New Mexico reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In New Mexico
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