Moving to New Mexico, Pros and Cons of Living in New Mexico

Are you considering moving to New Mexico? This state is known for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. From the bustling city of Albuquerque to the serene desert towns, New Mexico offers a variety of living options. However, like any other state, it has its pros and cons. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of living in New Mexico and help you decide if it's the right place for you.

Is New Mexico A Good Place To Live?

Yes! New Mexico can be a great place to live for many people. The state offers a unique and diverse culture, stunning landscapes, affordable living, and a range of outdoor activities. However, like any state, New Mexico has its challenges, including high crime rates in some areas, limited job opportunities in some regions, and a poorly ranked education system. 

Overall, the benefits of living in New Mexico can outweigh the drawbacks, but it ultimately depends on individual preferences and needs. It is important to research and consider all aspects of living in New Mexico before making a decision to move there.

Things to know before moving to New Mexico

If you are considering moving to New Mexico, here are some important things to know before making the move:

Climate: New Mexico has a high desert climate, which means that it can get very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The state also experiences frequent droughts and high winds.

Cost of living: While New Mexico is generally affordable, some areas, particularly the larger cities, can have a higher cost of living than other parts of the state.

Job market: The job market in New Mexico can be competitive, particularly in certain industries. It's important to research the job market in your field before making a move.

Culture: New Mexico has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo traditions. It's important to understand and appreciate the local culture and customs.

Education: New Mexico has a poorly ranked education system, particularly in public schools. If you have children, it's important to research schools and education options in your area.

Healthcare: New Mexico has a shortage of healthcare providers, particularly in rural areas. It's important to research healthcare options and availability in your area.

Outdoor activities: New Mexico is known for its beautiful landscapes and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, skiing, and more. However, it's important to be prepared for the high elevation and harsh weather conditions.

Crime rates: Some areas of New Mexico have higher crime rates than others. It's important to research crime rates and safety statistics in your area before making a move.

Best place to live in New Mexico?

New Mexico offers a variety of great places to live, depending on your preferences and needs. Here are some of the best places to live in the state:

1. Los Alamos

Los Alamos is famous for its surrounding beautiful mountains and forests, and parks that offer outside entertainment. Nature lovers will appreciate what the town has to offer them. It also has safe streets and an excellent school system, which makes it a nice place to live with your family. 

Although it is known as the birthplace of the world's first atomic bomb, the town is peaceful, with hundreds of amenities and activities for locals and tourists.

However, you will not like the town if you love nightlife as there is not much going on during the night.  Its main advantage is the peace and gorgeous nature, where you can go skiing, mountain biking, and camping.

2. Santa Fe

Although Santa Fe is a small city, it is famous for its rich history and cultural diversity. The cost of living is relatively high here but it appeals to prospective residents.

The city was founded not long ago- in 1610. When you walk through the streets of Santa Fe, you'll notice Spanish colonial churches, Mexican missions, and Native American adobe edifices. The city is a house to many museums and art galleries, dozens of impressive festivals and cultural events. If you love a multicultural environment, this city will be a perfect choice for you. 

3. Las Cruces

Las Cruces is almost always in the rankings of the best cities in New Mexico for living. This city is located not far from the borders of Mexico and Texas and lies on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. Thanks to the latter, people living in Las Cruces enjoy warm summers and mild winters.

This city has stunning views of mountain ranges, where you can go hiking or biking. Moreover, it includes many top restaurants, countless attractions, national parks, museums, and crazy nightlife options.

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4. Taos

Taos is located next to the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is famous for its rich cultural heritage and outdoor entertainment, such as skiing in winter.

Although the city is not very big, it does have unique architecture and interesting museums you can visit. Here you can also visit the historic site of Taos Pueblo.

Pros and Cons of Living in New Mexico 

Pros and Cons of Living in New Mexico



Cost of Living


Affordable Housing Market

Crime rate

Enchanting Natural Beauty

Poverty rate

Pleasant Climate

Adobe architecture prevalent

Rich Historical Legacy

Quirky laws

Diverse Cultural Tapestry


Recreation and Artistic Haven


Pros of living in New Mexico

Cost of Living: According to the 2019 Cheapest States to Live in a report by World Population Review, New Mexico stands out as the fifth most affordable state when considering utilities, transportation, and other expenses. The state offers a cost of living that is appealing, particularly for those seeking relief from the high costs experienced in states like California and Maryland.

Affordable Housing Market: The housing market in New Mexico is exceptionally vibrant, with median home values remaining below the $200,000 mark. This affordability makes it an attractive destination, particularly for individuals relocating from states with steep real estate prices. You can easily find affordable housing with the help of agencies like Homes Direct.

Enchanting Natural Beauty: New Mexico lives up to its nickname, the Land of Enchantment, with a diverse and awe-inspiring array of natural wonders. From majestic mountains to expansive deserts, fertile valleys, and captivating slot canyons, the state's scenery offers a breathtaking and varied landscape.

Pleasant Climate: Although certain regions experience colder weather and occasional snowfall, New Mexico generally boasts warm and dry climates, generously blessed with approximately 280 days of sunshine annually. This favorable weather further enhances the quality of life for residents.

Rich Historical Legacy: New Mexico boasts a history that predates the existence of the United States itself. Serving as the oldest state capital, Santa Fe stands as a testament to the state's rich heritage. Additionally, New Mexico is recognized as the birthplace of the American cowboy, adding to its historical significance.

Diverse Cultural Tapestry: Native American influences are deeply ingrained in New Mexico's culture, but the state also celebrates a captivating blend of various ethnicities. African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, and Hispanic cultures contribute to the unique and vibrant melting pot found in the state.

Recreation and Artistic Haven: New Mexico is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities such as hiking, rafting, cycling, skiing, and rock climbing. Nature lovers will find themselves immersed in the state's vast and inviting playground. Moreover, the artistic scene thrives in New Mexico, serving as the home and inspiration of influential artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe.

Cons to Moving to New Mexico

Economy: Regrettably, New Mexico's economy finds itself positioned towards the lower end of the spectrum. US News & World Report ranks it at #47, indicating high unemployment rates and sluggish growth that pose challenges for the state.

Crime rate: New Mexico struggles with a higher-than-average rate of violent crimes and property crimes, making it important for residents to be vigilant. Albuquerque, in particular, has gained notoriety as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Poverty rate: New Mexico battles with a poverty rate of around 20%, placing it on par with Louisiana as the second-highest in the country. This means that over 420,000 residents find themselves at or below the poverty line.

Adobe architecture prevalent: While some may appreciate the distinctive aesthetic, it's important to note that adobe buildings are widespread throughout New Mexico. This building material aligns with the region's climate but may be a personal preference for residents and visitors.

Quirky laws: Like many other states, New Mexico has its fair share of peculiar laws. For instance, it is technically illegal to carry your lunch box along Main Street in the city of Las Cruces, although enforcement of this law is unlikely.

Is it expensive to live in New Mexico?

According to BestPlaces' Cost of Living in New Mexico, the state has a cost of living index of 96.3, which is below the nationwide index of 100. This indicates that, on average, living expenses in New Mexico are slightly lower compared to the national average. 

The cost of housing, utilities, transportation, groceries, and other basic necessities may be more affordable in the state, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking a lower cost of living.








Santa Fe














Las Cruces







What is the population in New Mexico?

According to the U.S. 2020 Census Results, the population of New Mexico in 2020 was recorded as 2,118,390. The population of New Mexico in 2022 was 2,113,344, which reflects a 0.16% decline compared to the population in 2021, which was 2,116,677. Similarly, the population in 2021 experienced a 0.08% decline from the previous year's population.

New Mexico Population



Growth Rate
















Best schools and universities in New Mexico

When it comes to education in New Mexico, there are several esteemed institutions across different levels. Here are some of the top-rated schools in the state:

Best Elementary Schools:

  1. S. Y. Jackson Elementary School (Albuquerque Public Schools)

  2. Hubert H Humphrey Elementary School (Albuquerque Public Schools)

  3. Corona Elementary School (Corona Municipal Schools)

Top-Rated Middle Schools:

  1. Sidney Gutierrez Middle School (Roswell Independent Schools)

  2. Academy for Tech & Class (Santa Fe Public Schools)

  3. Albuquerque Institute Of Math & Science (Albuquerque Institute Of Math & Science)

Best High Schools:

  1. College and Career High School (Albuquerque Public Schools)

  2. Arrowhead Park Medical Academy (Las Cruces Public Schools)

  3. Early College High School (Las Cruces Public Schools)

Best Colleges & Universities:

  1. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

  2. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

  3. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro

  4. Eastern New Mexico University, Portales

  5. Western New Mexico University, Silver City

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These institutions provide excellent education and opportunities for students in New Mexico. Consider visiting their websites or contacting them directly for more information and to determine the best fit for your educational goals.

New Mexico job market

When considering a job search in New Mexico, it's important to be aware of the state's current unemployment rate. Currently standing at 5.6%, it is higher than the national average of 3.7%. This indicates some challenges in the job market and reflects the overall state of the economy.

However, there are positive signs as well. New Mexico has seen a 2.8% increase in job growth over the past year, which is encouraging. It suggests that there are opportunities available in various sectors and industries.

Looking ahead, the job market in New Mexico is predicted to experience significant growth in the coming years. Projections indicate a 29.5% increase in job opportunities over the next 10 years. This forecast paints a promising picture for job seekers and signifies a positive trajectory for the state's economy.

What are the top industries in New Mexico?

New Mexico thrives on a variety of key industries that drive its economy forward. We've compiled a list of the primary sectors in the state to provide you with insights into potential investment and opportunities if you're planning a move to New Mexico. Here are the top industries in the state:

  1. Energy

  2. Tourism and Food

  3. Distribution, Logistics, and Transportation

  4. Advanced Manufacturing

  5. Digital Media and Film Production

  6. Administrative and Federal Government

  7. Aerospace and Defense

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New Mexico relocation shortlist

Moving to a new state involves a lot of tasks and responsibilities, even after the moving process itself. Once you've tackled packing, cleaning, and logistics, there are still important things to address when relocating to New Mexico. Here's a checklist of essential items to take care of:

  1. Find a comfortable house in New Mexico

  2. Update your address to ensure that all your mail and important documents are forwarded to your new location

  3. Obtain a New Mexico driver's license to comply with state regulations and ensure legal driving privileges

  4. Register your car with the appropriate New Mexico authorities

  5. Secure a new car insurance policy that aligns with New Mexico's regulations

  6. Register to vote in New Mexico, allowing you to actively participate in local and state elections.

  7. Obtain health insurance coverage to protect yourself and your family's well-being

  8. Evaluate and obtain any additional insurance policies you may need, such as homeowner's or renter's insurance, to safeguard your belongings and property

  9. Address your financial details, including updating your banking information

  10. Enroll your child in the appropriate school district

  11. Familiarize yourself with New Mexico's tax requirements 

  12. Obtain a license for your pets and locate a local veterinarian

  13. Set up your utilities, such as electricity, water, gas, and internet services, to ensure a comfortable living environment in your new home.

By completing these tasks, you can streamline your transition to New Mexico and ensure that important aspects of your life, such as documentation, legal compliance, and essential services, are in order.

Conclusions about Relocation to New Mexico

In conclusion, moving to New Mexico offers a range of opportunities and experiences. With a diverse economy, top-rated schools, and thriving industries, the state provides a favorable environment for career growth and educational advancement.

While the unemployment rate may be slightly higher than the national average, New Mexico's job market is showing positive growth, and the state is projected to see significant employment opportunities in the coming years. Moreover, the rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant communities make New Mexico an enticing place to call home. 

By considering factors such as the cost of living, and housing options, and addressing necessary tasks like updating addresses and obtaining licenses, individuals can embark on a successful and fulfilling relocation journey to the Land of Enchantment.


  • Is moving to New Mexico a good idea?

Moving to New Mexico can be a great idea for those seeking a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and economic opportunities. With top-rated schools, a growing job market, and a rich heritage, the state offers a vibrant and welcoming environment for individuals and families looking to start anew.

  • What are the pros and cons of living in New Mexico?

Living in New Mexico has its pros and cons. On the positive side, the state boasts stunning landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and a lower cost of living compared to national averages. However, it's important to consider factors such as high crime rates in certain areas, limited healthcare options in rural regions, and water scarcity in some parts of the state. 

  • What do I need to know before moving to New Mexico?

Research the cost of living, job market, healthcare, education, and local regulations for a smooth transition.

  • What are the safest cities in New Mexico?

New Mexico has several cities that are considered safe. Some of the safest cities in the state include Los Alamos, Corrales, and Rio Rancho. These cities have low crime rates and offer a high quality of life for residents.

Ray Gritton

Ray Gritton


Ray Gritton has been in the manufactured housing industry for over 40 years when he started his first dealership in Modesto in the 1970s. Since then he has worked for large corporations in charge of hundreds of dealerships and now owns 13 locations in 5 different states.