Article Table Of Contents
There's more to New Mexico than aliens, amazing sunsets, and the Animas River. This Southwestern state actually has plenty of great places to call home.
Heck there's a reason two million people call it home; and lucky for you, HomeSnacks is here to uncover where the best places to live in New Mexico for Corrales are located. We think there must be something magical about New Mexico's best places to live. Notables like Julia Roberts, Gene Hackman, and Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin wouldn't just live anywhere. They love New Mexico's great people and good 'ol desert livin'.
Whether you're a fan of UFOs, the University of New Mexico Lobos, or catching a rodeo in Ruidoso, the good people in New Mexico's best places are waiting to show you why living in their corner of the Land of Enchantment deserves a second look.
What does it take to live in New Mexico's best of the best places? We suggest a good job. And the jobs that are keeping median incomes high and New Mexico's best places to live safe and enjoyable are in the medical field, architecture, and engineering.
However, to find out the top ten best places to live in New Mexico, you're going to have to keep reading.
The 10 Best Places To Live In New Mexico For 2020
- Corrales (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Edgewood (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Rio Rancho (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Los Ranchos de Albuquerque (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ruidoso (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Artesia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Santa Fe (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Alamogordo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Carlsbad (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Farmington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
New Mexico has so many great cities, that you could literally throw a dart at the state and live happily wherever it landed. So, you can understand how difficult it was to narrow down a list of the top ten best places.
What's the best place to live in New Mexico? After analyzing 32 places in New Mexico, Corrales is New Mexico's number one best place to live for 2020.
We invite you to grab yourself a green chili cheeseburger, find a remote spot to watch the sunset, and read on to see what other places made the top ten. And if you don't see your favorite New Mexico place there, head to the bottom.
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In New Mexico
- Cheapest Places To Live In New Mexico
- Best Places To Raise A Family In New Mexico
The 10 Best Places To Live In New Mexico For 2020
Welcome to Corrales, the best place to live in New Mexico for the second year running. Despite having the the big cities of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho as neighbors, Corrales has worked hard to retain its rural character. From the many wineries to the community Grower's Market, agriculture still plays a big part in Corrales's culture and economy. There are also many events peppered throughout the year and regular shows put on at the Old San Ysidro Church are a big hit with locals.
The first thing to know about your neighbors in Corrales is that they're among the best-educated in the state; about 60% of residents have a college degree and 30% have a master's degree or higher. Those fancy degrees come in handy when pay-day rolls around, because Corrales also has the best-paid populace in New Mexico, with a median household income of $79,303/year. Also, the poverty rate in Corrales is the lowest statewide at 5.7%. Smart, moneyed individuals rarely go in for crime, so it makes sense that Corrales is also the safest place in New Mexico, with a crime rate 80% below the national average. The catch? Housing is twice as expensive as the statewide average, with a typical home selling for $430,500 and rent going for $1,052/month.
Edgewood is a town of 6,067 situated a half-hour east of Albuquerque. An exceedingly popular bedroom community, Edgewood's population has exploded by around 65% since 2010, making it New Mexico's fastest-growing city. Folks love the vintage indoor Church Street Market, chock full of local and handmade treasures. Wildlife West Nature Park is a must-visit for animal-lovers who want to see the epic wildlife of the Southwest up close and personal.
As for the essentials, the unemployment, poverty, crime, and health insurance rates in Edgewood all rank in the top ten statewide. GreatSchools also gave Edgewood's public schools an 8/10 score, so those with children can feel secure moving here. Increased demand drove up property values more than 10% in the last year, so don't be put off by the high price tag on homes -- it's a sound investment.
Rio Rancho, New Mexico's third-biggest city, also comes in as the 3rd best place to live in the Land of Enchantment. Rio Rancho has been surging economically in recent years; it's home to an Intel facility that's by far the area's largest employer, as well as companies like Hewlett-Packard and Walmart. For families, A Park Above is a delightful spot that's been named the best city park by several New Mexico publications. And while New Mexico is generally sparse on greenery, you wouldn't know it if you walked or cycled down the Willow Creek Trail.
Rio Rancho's population has grown by more than 15% since 2010. Crime has remained uncommon, though, and ranks as the 5th lowest in New Mexico. The poverty rate in Rio Rancho is the 2nd lowest statewide at 10.8%. Rio Rancho's median rent of $1,106/month outstrips the statewide median by 33%. Expenses aren't a big issue for Rio Rancho's residents, though, because they enjoy the 3rd highest median household income in the state at $63,014/year.
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is an affluent suburb of Albuquerque. From organic farms to grower's markets, agriculture remains the dominant theme in Los Ranchos. Antique shopping, ceramics, and wineries leave you with plenty to do and work to enhance the cultural tradition of Los Ranchos. No event garners more attention than the annual Lavender Festival, though.
Nearly 30% of Los Ranchos residents have a master's degree or higher, so you'd better study up if you don't want to hold your team back on pub quiz night. The unemployment rate in Los Ranchos is the lowest statewide at 3.0% and the village has the highest rate of residents with health insurance in New Mexico. Homes are the 2nd most expensive in the state, but the median rent of $746/month is lower than the statewide median. In any case, you shouldn't have much trouble paying the bills here, because Los Ranchos has the 4th highest median household income in New Mexico at $62,214/year.
An enchanting mountain oasis situated high in the Sierra Blanca Mountains, Ruidoso comes in as the 5th best place to live in New Mexico. There are a number of options nearby for outdoor-enthusiasts, but Lincoln National Forest is a local favorite for day trips. If you're looking for something easier and closer to home, Grindstone Lake is only minutes from Ruidoso's downtown and offers all manner of outdoor fun. Last but not least, Pillow's Funtrackers is a premier entertainment venue with loads of family-friendly activities on offer. This quiet vibe coupled with plenty to keep you busy is why Ruidoso ranked so highly on our lists of both the the best cities for families and retirement in New Mexico.
Ruidoso is quite cheap if you want to give it a try; rent here goes for around $694/month, the lowest you'll find on this list and 80% below the average rent in New Mexico. Homes, on the other hand, are the 5th most expensive in the state at $214,400.
Sandwiched between Roswell to the north and Carlsbad to the south, Artesia ranks as New Mexico's 6th best place to live. A small-town environment, free of pollution and traffic, makes Artesia the ideal spot for someone who prefers the simple things in life. Main Street has all the amenities you need, as well as fun street sculptures and murals to keep everything aesthetically pleasing.
If you're looking for a vibrant city with fresh ideas, know that Artesia is the youngest place on this list, with a median age of 32. As far as safety goes, Artesia experienced the lowest amount of violent crime anywhere in New Mexico. People are catching on to how great Artesia is and the city's grown by more than 10% in the last decade. Property values also went up 4% in just the last year, and property taxes are a fraction of what they are in most places on this list.
Situated at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the U.S. With about 300 sunny days each year and low humidity, residents have a tough time imagining living anywhere else. Known as The City Different, Santa Fe doesn't care about conforming; only about being awesome. A thriving arts scene,
top-notch cuisine with an amalgam of influences, and too much history and culture to cover here all make Santa Fe a place of endless discovery.
On the statistical side of things, it's important to note that Santa Fe is one of New Mexico's most expensive cities, with a cost of living about 10% higher than the statewide average and housing about 50% higher. That hasn't stopped people from coming in droves though, seeing as the city's population has grown by nearly 25% since 2010. People are willing to pay big for good schools, safe streets, low poverty and unemployment, and the ability to drop in on George R.R. Martin to ask the ETA for his next Game of Thrones book.
Located in the high desert at the base of the Sacramento Mountains, Alamogordo comes in as the 8th best place to live in New Mexico. We named Alamogordo one of the best places for singles in New Mexico and it's not hard to see why. Date ideas include: a day out at the New Mexico Museum of Space History for the science nerds, the Heart of the Desert for wine-lovers and pistachio-poppers, the Alameda Park Zoo for animal-enthusiasts, and the White Sands National Park for anyone with an eye for breathtaking beauty.
The poverty and unemployment rates in Alamogordo both rank within the top ten statewide. The cost of living here is cheap, with housing costs about 25% below the statewide average. In fact, Alamogordo's median home price of $110,800 is the lowest of anywhere on this list. As a bonus, Alamogordo has the 7th shortest average commute time in New Mexico at 15 minutes.
Located on the Pecos River in the Chihuahuan Desert, Carlsbad's tree-lined streets, gorgeous public parks, and municipal beach on Lake Carlsbad all work to make this a truly spectacular oasis. For those who want to get up close and personal with the region's wildlife, the unique Living Desert Zoo and Gardens offers an incredible experience. If exploring more hidden treasures is your cup of tea, you'll probably find yourself returning again and again to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Carlsbad has grown by about 10% in the past decade as people swarm to a place with great schools, low unemployment and poverty rates, and high quality of life. Also, despite having the second cheapest median home price on this list, Carlsbad has the 2nd highest median income in New Mexico at $66,110/year. That combination of stats is part of the reason we named Carlsbad among New Mexico's most affordable cities.
We're taking our first trip to New Mexico's northwest to reach our final stand-out city, Farmington. The principal hub of the Four Corners region, Farmington is an absolute paradise for outdoorsmen and women. Three rivers, four golf courses, five lakes, and six National Parks make up your backyard if you live in Farmington. World-class fly fishing, epic off-roading, unreal mountain biking, and limitless scenic landscapes -- what more could you want in a place? Top spots in Farmington proper are the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area, a rolling landscape of badlands with some fantastical rock formations, and Salmon Ruins, an outdoor experience for the aspiring archeologist.
Farmington is also among the most diverse cities in New Mexico, which greatly contributes to the cultural vibrancy here. Low unemployment, low poverty, good schools, and a solid housing market make for a high quality of life. Farmington residents also enjoy a median household income of $56,368, the 8th highest in New Mexico.
Mapping The Best And Worst 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 83,847 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 5,000
- Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000
This left us with 32 cities, 91 towns, and 145 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in New Mexico have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities 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
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in New Mexico? That would be Corrales.
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.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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 the best place to live in New Mexico for 2020.
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)
- Bosque Farms (Pop. 3,863)
- El Rancho (Pop. 1,185)
- Placitas CDP (Sandoval (Pop. 4,853)
- Arenas Valley (Pop. 1,480)
- Ponderosa Pine (Pop. 1,382)
- La Mesilla (Pop. 2,165)
Best Small Towns To Live In New Mexico
- Veguita (Pop. 290)
- Pleasanton (Pop. 152)
- Twin Forks (Pop. 254)
- Luis Lopez (Pop. 239)
- San Pedro (Pop. 136)
- Galisteo (Pop. 290)
- Las Palomas (Pop. 412)
- Tijeras (Pop. 547)
- Jaconita (Pop. 421)
- San Jose CDP (San Miguel (Pop. 165)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in New Mexico according to the data:
- Sunland Park (Pop. 16,602)
- Anthony (Pop. 9,368)
- Deming (Pop. 14,292)
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In New Mexico
- Richest Cities In New Mexico
- Safest Places In New Mexico
- Worst Places To Live In New Mexico