Do you want to live in a state with rich history, low cost of living, unique culture, and extremely scenic landscape?
Then you should definitely consider moving to New Mexico.
This is one of the most laid-back and picturesque states in the country.
It is located in the southwestern part of the US with the capital at Santa Fe with a population of 84,000 people.
However, the biggest city in the state is Albuquerque which has almost 560,000 people.
In total, there are more than two million people in the state, and most of them are of Latino and Native American heritage.
If you are considering the idea of living in New Mexico, there are some pros and cons that you should keep in mind:
25 Pros of Living in New Mexico
1. Cost of Living
The state of New Mexico is one of the most affordable states in the country to live in.
The cost-of-living index in New Mexico is much lower than the national index in the United States.
Therefore, the Land of Enchantment is considered today as one of the most affordable places to live, especially for families with kids.
2. Natural Beauty
New Mexico is known and appreciated for its breathtaking natural beauty.
For this reason, New Mexico attracts thousands of tourists every year.
In the Land of Enchantment, you will find whatever your heart desires, including mountains, rivers, deserts, forests, national parks, valleys, and canyons.
Stargazing is one of the most popular activities in New Mexico because the starry sky in the Land of Enchantment is well known for its magical beauty.
3. Good Climate
The residents of New Mexico can enjoy its mild and continental climate that is characterized by the presence of all four seasons.
Summers are warm and sunny, and winters are snowy and pretty cold.
The biggest disadvantage of the local climate is its dryness and the lack of precipitation throughout the year.
However, most people like this climate because of the high number of sunny days.
4. Unique Traditions and Rich Culture
New Mexico is known as a state with diverse ethnicity, long history, and old traditions.
The Land of Enchantment is the place where you will find many people who belong to old Native American tribes, as well as Hispanics and Latinos.
There are also big communities of Asians, Middle Eastern, and African-American people.
They all create a truly exclusive culture and unique traditions that are well-preserved.
Many cities in New Mexico look like open-air museums with a variety of architectural styles reflecting the long and unique history of the state.
5. Good Wines
New Mexico boasts more than 60 wineries that produce about 900,000 gallons of wine annually.
There is even a True Wine Trail in the Land of Enchantment.
Local wine is very delicious and has been influenced by Latino and Spanish traditions.
6. Perfect Place for Outdoor Lovers
New Mexico is a perfect place for those who like spending time outdoors and enjoy outdoor activities.
There are many outdoor options in New Mexico, including hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, climbing, rafting, fly-fishing, and horseback riding.
There are plenty of interesting and exciting places that attract thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every year.
You will never get bored in New Mexico because there are so many things to do and so many events to attend.
If you are a creative person, you can enjoy painting, dancing, designing, and going to local theaters.
There are also many cultural festivals that attract thousands of people not only from other states but other countries and continents as well.
One of the most famous events is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held every year in the fall.
8. Affordable Education
Regardless of the type of education you are thinking about (undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate), studying in New Mexico may be a good choice because of the low prices.
The average in-state tuition in the Land of Enchantment is $3,100, which is much lower than in other states.
The K–12 schools perform well, too, by giving everyone the opportunity to get a high-quality education and pursue any career.
9. Friendly People
New Mexico is known for its “southern hospitality”.
People are friendly, respectful, and are always ready to help each other.
People in the Land of Enchantment want to know how you are doing.
If you have a problem, you can always count on people in your community and your neighbors.
10. Slow Pace of Life
If you are tired of living in such busy and crowded cities as New York, Boston, or Chicago, you will definitely love Albuquerque or Santa Fe for its relaxing and peaceful atmosphere and slower pace of life.
You do not have to rush, you can wear whatever you want, and enjoy your quiet, simple, southern lifestyle in the Land of Enchantment.
11. Delicious Food
New Mexico is appreciated for its outstanding cuisine selection.
There are many fine-dining restaurants with great and delicious food.
One of the most favorite types of New Mexico specialties is the Hatch chile relish.
It is a popular dish made of sun-dried, grilled peppers pickled in vinegar and cooked with a blend of spices.
The food in New Mexico is also influenced by Mexican cuisine, so you can try many Mexican dishes and get familiar with Tex-Mex food.
12. Archeological Sites
The Land of Enchantment is considered one of the richest and most impressive collections of archeological sites in the entire United States and even North America.
There are multiple non-government and private organizations that are focused on the preservation of these archeological and historical artifacts.
One of the oldest continually inhabited communities in New Mexico today is Taos Pueblo that dates back almost 1,500 years.
13. Robust Agricultural Industry
Due to its dry climate, New Mexico is mainly focused on growing peppers and sheep farming.
Therefore, if you are looking for a job in the agricultural sector, you should definitely consider moving to the Land of Enchantment.
The industries in the state are also expanding to other livestock, including dairy cattle and pigs.
Cattle Ranchers, for example, are considered as some of the richest people in the state.
14. Strong Job Market, Especially in Santa Fe
Even though the number of job postings has declined by almost 20% in 2020 in New Mexico, the unemployment rate in Santa Fe is 3.6%, which is on the national level.
The rate even drops to 2.7%, if you take the number from the civilian labor force.
The strongest industries in New Mexico are education, hospitality, leisure, and health services.
Moreover, there are more than 16,000 jobs in the government sector.
15. Music Culture
Music is an integral part of New Mexico’s culture.
The Santa Fe Opera, for example, is one of the best and most exciting cultural events that you can experience while living in New Mexico, even if you are not a big fan of opera and music in general.
It is one of the best events of this type in the entire United States and attracts thousands of people and music lovers every year.
16. Traffic Is Not a Problem
Those who live in New York, Chicago, Boston, or Dallas, know how bad the traffic can be.
Sitting in traffic is one of the most unpleasant experiences you can have.
Fortunately, if you live in New Mexico (even if it is Albuquerque or Santa Fe), you do not have this problem because the population of the state is pretty low.
You can easily commute between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, which will take a little more than one hour.
There are also trains and shuttles that run between the two cities.
17. Developed Tourist Industry
Millions of tourists visit New Mexico every year.
For example, Santa Fe attracts more than two million people annually.
For this reason, tourism is one of the most developed industries in the state.
It is also one of the main reasons there are so many shops and restaurants in the Land of Enchantment.
Therefore, if you are a professional working in tourism, New Mexico is definitely a place to be, live, and work.
18. Good for Starting a Business
New Mexico is a perfect place for those who are thinking of starting their own business, especially LLCs. The filing fee for an LLC is only $50.
Business owners in New Mexico can protect their privacy because LLC owners in the Land of Enchantment are not listed on easily searchable public records.
Therefore, if you want to start your company and you are looking for the right place for it, New Mexico is definitely the state you should consider.
19. Well-Established Mining Industry
New Mexico is considered one of the best places for mining in the United States.
The state earns up to $6 billion annually. The minerals found in New Mexico are coal, uranium, potash, and copper.
Therefore, if you are a mining professional, you should consider moving to New Mexico, where employment opportunities for mining specialists are constantly growing.
20. Low Home Prices
The cost of having or renting a home is usually one of the biggest expenses.
Home in the United States prices vary from state to state, and if you are thinking of buying a home, then New Mexico is definitely one of the best states to consider.
The median house price in New Mexico, at only $187,000, is 5% lower than the national median price.
Renting a home is also very affordable in the state of New Mexico.
The cost of renting is almost 20% lower in the Land of Enchantment than in other states in the country.
21. Great Ski Resorts
Many people do not think of New Mexico as a prime destination for skiing, but they are absolutely wrong.
New Mexico boasts a great number of snow-covered mountains and hills that are perfect for downhill sport.
Since the state is located in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains, there are plenty of high-level ski resorts that can easily cater to your skiing dreams.
There are many resorts for both complete beginners and professionals.
22. It Is a Sunny Place
You will never get depressed in New Mexico because of plenty of sunshine.
Even though it rains in New Mexico as well, the state is known as one of the sunniest places in the United States.
Albuquerque, for example, records around 300 sunny days a year.
Santa Fe is almost the same with 283 sunny days a year, which makes these two cities a paradise for those who like warm and sunny weather.
23. Low Property Taxes
Taxes in the state of New Mexico are lower than in many other states, which means more money in your pocket.
For example, the state income tax is 4.9%.
Property and real estate taxes are also very low (24% lower than the national average), especially when compared with the neighboring state Arizona.
For this reason, New Mexico remains one of the most popular places to live among young families and retirees.
24. A Growing Film Industry
Due to temperate weather, tax incentives, and an abundance of sunny days, New Mexico is becoming a popular growing hub for filmmakers.
The films that have been shot in Albuquerque include Independence Day: Resurgence, The Avengers, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Therefore, if you are looking for a job in the film industry, New Mexico is definitely the place to be.
25. Indigenous Heritage
There are 23 Native American tribes in the Land of Enchantment, including the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, and the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
Therefore, there are many events and festivals where you can learn more about the life of indigenous people, their culture, and heritage.
The indigenous heritage of the state is what exactly makes New Mexico the Land of Enchantment.
List of Cons of Living in New Mexico
1. High Crime Rate
Unfortunately, the crime rate in New Mexico is higher than in many other states.
The percentage of violent crimes is 8.6 (per 1,000 residents), while the national rate is 3.7%.
The percentage of poverty-related crimes is also higher—over 39% (versus the national level of 24%). Within the mountain region of the state, New Mexico has the highest property and violent crime rates.
2. Bad Roads
The roads in New Mexico are pretty bad, especially in rural areas.
Almost 25% of rural roads are so bad that they increase the risk of road accidents.
There is even the road in New Mexico called “Most Dangerous Road in the United States” or “The Devil’s Highway”.
Bridges and many hilly roads are also in very poor condition in the state.
The most dangerous parts of the state for driving are the mountainous regions in the northern part of the state.
3. Low-Quality Education
Even though, in 2000, New Mexico was known as the state with the highest number of doctorate degrees, primary and secondary education is not very good.
In 2018, only 25% of school students passed the math test, and only 31% of students completed the test in English arts.
One of the main reasons public education in New Mexico is so bad is that there is not enough funding.
Public school spending is the 17th lowest with less than $11,000 per student annually.
4. Not Many Well Paid Jobs
Since New Mexico is considered one of the poorest states in the country, there are not so many well-paid jobs.
Even though the unemployment rate is quite low compared to other states, many residents in the Land of Enchantment are not able to find a job that would offer a good salary for a comfortable life.
The average hourly rate for New Mexico is $16.
The average annual salary in the state is around $53,000.
5. A Low Literacy Rate
New Mexico has the lowest literacy rate in the United States. A total of 29.1% of adults in the Land of Enchantment have low literacy.
Moreover, there are seven out of nine counties in the state where 25% of the adult population have below literacy level.
Most of them are Hispanic people who speak very little English or do not speak it at all.
Low literacy is a serious issue because it is related to certain social welfare issues, including poverty, drug abuse, unemployment, etc.
6. High Poverty Rate
Due to not so many well-paid job opportunities, low literacy, and low-quality education, the poverty rate in New Mexico is higher than in other states.
More than 20% of people today live in poverty.
In fact, the Land of Enchantment has the second-highest child poverty rate in the United States.
7. Necessity to Know Spanish
If you want to feel comfortable living in New Mexico, knowing just English is not enough.
Since 48% of the population of the state are Spanish-speaking residents, which is almost one million people, knowing and being able to speak Spanish is very important.
8. Very Dry Climate
The climate of New Mexico can be harsh, especially in the summer months.
It is also said that, because of regional and global warming trends, the climate in the Land of Enchantment is becoming even hotter and drier.
Dry summers in the state bring another problem.
Dry wood termites and several types of cockroaches are very common during the spring and summer.
Moreover, there are also scorpions, rattlesnakes, black widow spiders, and huge centipedes.
9. Cold Winters
Many people mistakenly believe that it is always warm in New Mexico.
However, this is not true, and the weather in the state varies from place to place.
In the northern part of the state, winters can be quite cold with heavy snowfalls.
The coldest months in the northern part of New Mexico are December, January, and February when the temperatures can drop below freezing.
Snowfalls are especially heavy in the mountains and can range from 60 to 160 inches.
10. It Is Quite Far from Everything
New Mexico is quite an isolated state.
It is quite far from major cities in other states.
Even though Albuquerque and Santa Fe are considered big cities, it is hard to get from them to other metropolises, such as New York or Washington, DC.
For example, even though the city of Albuquerque has its own airport, Albuquerque International Sunport, it does not currently offer any international flights.
Also, if you decide to drive from Albuquerque, it will take you seven hours to Denver and over 10 hours to the big cities of Texas.
11. Low Graduation Rate
The state of New Mexico has the lowest high-school graduation rate in the United States.
The lowest graduation rate is among Native American and Alaskan Native students—only 59%.
A low graduation rate leads to more serious social problems by contributing to increasing poverty, unemployment, and crime rates.
12. Drug Abuse Problem
Drug abuse is one of the most serious issues in the state today.
The Land of Enchantment is ranked as high second in the country for drug abuse in recent years, especially among young people and teenagers.
Drug abuse in the state also causes an increase in different chronic diseases, including liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, and depression.
Drug overdose is also a serious problem in New Mexico, and it is 29% higher than the national average.
Drug abuse also costs a lot to the state—about $2.8 billion annually.
13. Strong Winds
Most of New Mexico is located in the desert biome.
Therefore, if you decide to move to this state, you should be ready to wind and a lot of dust that you will have to manage around your home.
You will also have to deal with constant wind in your face.
14. Polluted Air
New Mexico is known as an energy-producing state, which makes it an extremely polluted place.
Gas and oil operations in the Land of Enchantment emit almost one million metric tons of methane a year.
Methane is dangerous and can cause serious health issues, including asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.
The most vulnerable groups of the population are the elderly and children living in rural areas of the state.
15. Shortage of Nurses
Hospitals in New Mexico experience a significant shortage of nurses, which has a negative impact on the overall quality of healthcare in the state.
Due to the lack of nurses, the workload of the existing workforce is increased, and the risk of medication errors is higher.
16. Shortage of Teachers
New Mexico is experiencing a significant shortage of teachers as well.
Albuquerque Public Schools have the highest overall need for teachers in the state.
There are 380 teaching and 90 educational assistant job openings for a student body of about 80,000.
The state especially in need of math, science, and bilingual teachers for grades 7 to 12.
17. Drunk Driving Problem
Drunk driving is the act of driving under the influence and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent.
Drunk driving is dangerous for both a driver, passengers, pedestrians, and other people.
New Mexico has the fourth-highest rate of drunk driving fatalities in the US.
According to statistics, there are 5.74 deaths per 100,000 people. In general, alcohol abuse is a serious issue in New Mexico, and the rate of alcohol-related death in New Mexico is twice the national average.
18. Weird Laws
New Mexico is also known for its weird laws, some of which do not make any sense.
For example, in the town of Las Cruces, it is illegal to carry a lunch box along Main Street.
According to another bizarre law, it is illegal for a woman to change a flat tire or pump her own gas.
If these laws seem too strict for you, you probably should think twice before moving to New Mexico.
19. Poor Economy
New Mexico remains one of the most underdeveloped states with a poor economy.
The state is spending billions of dollars to combat such issues as child poverty, poor healthcare, low-quality education, etc.
In 2020, the economy in the Land of Enchantment got even worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It may take years for New Mexico to recover.
20. Quiet and Boring Life
Life in New Mexico is not like in Florida, California, or New York.
Even in the bigger cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, life is quite slow with a laid-back lifestyle.
There is a lack of nightlife in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and there are not so many places where you can enjoy live music.
Even though there are plenty of festivals in New Mexico, communities in the state are generally very quiet, especially at night.
For this reason, New Mexico is not the most popular place for living among young people.
21. Population Decline
Due to poverty issues and a poor economy, the working class of the state is constantly moving to other places.
The state is already experiencing low population problems that are going to last for years.
About 10,000 people move away from the state every year.
New Mexico experienced the lowest population growth (1.1%) in 2017, which is relatively low compared to the national average (4.7%).
22. Shortage of Police Officers
Another problem that contributes to an even higher crime rate in the state is the shortage of police officers.
The Santa Fe Police Department, for example, has now the highest number of vacancies in the last five years.
The department currently has 19 open civilian jobs and 33 police officer positions.
The state has been struggling to retain officers, mainly because of the higher pay offered in other states.
23. Sales tax
New Mexico’s sales tax is about 5%.
However, each town can have its own sales tax, and in some areas, it can get up as high as 9%.
Moreover, the Land of Enchantment has a pretty high alcohol tax.
Beer is taxed at the rate of 41 cents per gallon, which is the 13th highest beer tax in the United States.
Wine is taxed at a rate of 45 cents per liter.
24. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is another common problem in New Mexico, which is probably related to other issues, such as high poverty rate, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, poor economy, etc.
Due to the lack of police officers, the problem of domestic violence in the Land of Enchantment is becoming even more serious, especially in small towns and rural areas.
25. Racial Tension
The population of New Mexico is very diverse, which is both good and bad.
In general, there are three ethnic groups in New Mexico: Hispanic, White, and Native American.
In general, everyone gets along, and most people are friendly to each other.
However, there is also some racial tension observed between the whites and Native American communities.