The Best College Towns In New Mexico For 2022


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our fifth time ranking the best college towns in New Mexico.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and New Mexico is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in New Mexico are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in New Mexico for 2022.

The 10 Best College Towns In New Mexico For 2022

  1. Portales, NM
  2. Socorro, NM
  3. Las Vegas, NM
  4. Albuquerque, NM
  5. Las Cruces, NM
  6. Santa Fe, NM

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Portales, Socorro and Las Vegas - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Portales ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 6 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 417 places in New Mexico that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on New Mexico check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In New Mexico For 2022

Portales, NM
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 11,713
% Undergrad Pop.: 25.1% (best)
Median Rent: $738 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1258.3% (6th best)
Crime Rank: best
More on Portales: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

Socorro, NM
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 8,406
% Undergrad Pop.: 14.7% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $688 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 285.5% (best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Socorro: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Las Vegas, NM
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 13,055
% Undergrad Pop.: 14.5% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $609 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 618.7% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Las Vegas: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: New Mexico Highlands University, Luna Community College

Albuquerque, NM
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 560,447
% Undergrad Pop.: 3.6% (5th best)
Median Rent: $889 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 559.5% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Albuquerque: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Central New Mexico Community College, University of New Mexico-Main Campus, University of Phoenix-New Mexico

Las Cruces, NM
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 102,950
% Undergrad Pop.: 12.1% (4th best)
Median Rent: $805 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 761.8% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Las Cruces: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: New Mexico State University-Main Campus, New Mexico State University-Dona Ana, Massage Therapy Trainining Institute

Santa Fe, NM
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 84,418
% Undergrad Pop.: 2.2% (6th best)
Median Rent: $1,125 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 483.7% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Santa Fe: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, St. John's College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in New Mexico?

To crunch our data on New Mexico's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 6 places in New Mexico with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In New Mexico For 2022".

And it looks like Portales placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in New Mexico, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

6 Best College Towns In New Mexico

Rank City Population
1 Portales, NM 11713
2 Socorro, NM 8406
3 Las Vegas, NM 13055
4 Albuquerque, NM 560447
5 Las Cruces, NM 102950
6 Santa Fe, NM 84418

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?