Is New Mexico a Good Place to Live? (17 Pros and Cons)

Pinterest Hidden Image

Vital Things To Know Before Moving To New Mexico

Are you thinking about moving to New Mexico? If yes, I will address the big question, “Is New Mexico a Good Place to Live?” by reviewing the state’s pros and cons.

New Mexico has a lot to offer residents. So, let’s dive into today’s topic.

Is New Mexico A Good Place To Live?

The state’s history, culture, diversity, scenic beauty, and outdoor recreation, plus the low cost of living, are several factors that make New Mexico an excellent place to live.

New Mexico is stunningly beautiful, according to The state has five national forests, 20 national parks and monuments, 35 state parks, 25 scenic byways, and 21 wilderness areas. Furthermore, there are more working artists, open studios, artist-owned galleries, and artisan shops here than in any other state per capita.

Local real estate professional Eli Nevarez echos the many pros of living in New Mexico. However, he says the slow pace of life, resident’s propensity to put things off, high winds, and seasonal allergies are some things that won’t suit everyone (source).

With those highlights in mind, I recommend carefully considering all the pros and cons listed below.

Pros And Cons Of Living In New Mexico: Side By Side Comparison

Living in New Mexico ProsLiving in New Mexico Cons
1. A historical place10. Lackluster economy
2. Lots of diversity11. High unemployment
3. Generational traditions11a. Low household incomes
4. Unique regional foods12. Sub-par school system
5. Great local wines13. Bad road conditions
6. Outdoor/indoor recreation14. High crime
7. Scenic beauty15. Excessive poverty
8. Low cost of living16. Drug abuse
9. Affordable Universities17. Windy, dry, high elevations
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living and Retiring in New Mexico

Next, I will flesh out the above-listed pros and cons of New Mexico.

the foothills in Santa Fe New MexicoPin

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros Of Living In New Mexico

1. A Place That Is Rich In History

New Mexico is a historical state.

For example, Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the country. The city was established in the early 1600s.

2. A Diverse Mix Of People Live In New Mexico

New Mexico is known for its racial and ethnic diversity. The state’s residents have influences from all over the world.

For example, Native Americans have lived in New Mexico for over 1,000 years. At the same time, Hispanics and Mexicans have lived here for centuries.

New Mexico’s population includes dozens of other ethnic groups, too.

Current demographic studies suggest that more than one-third of the state’s residents are Hispanic. There is also a large population of Native Americans, while African Americans round out the mix.

More reading: This state has a lot of character

3. State Residents Honor Many Traditions

New Mexico’s history and diversity have led to many traditions in architecture, art, food, music, language, and religion.

These customs are a significant part of the state’s character. Many practices have been passed down through generations.

You will see the state’s distinctive ways of life played out in:

  • Old adobe homes
  • Mission-style churches
  • Christmas holiday luminaries
  • Lively mariachi music
  • Tasty hatch chile peppers
  • Festivals and celebrations

Next, here’s another one of the best things about living in New Mexico.

4. New Mexico Is Known For Its Unique Regional Foods

benefits of living in New MexicoPin

New Mexico’s cuisine is unique and unforgettable.

Here are some of the food traditions and popular dishes you will come to enjoy when living in New Mexico:

  • Green chile cheeseburgers
  • Chile Rellenos
  • Enchiladas
  • Blue corn tortillas
  • Sopaipillas
  • Huevos rancheros
  • Red chile sauce

This is fantastic food you won’t find elsewhere in the United States. There is a specific texture, taste, and quality coming out of New Mexico’s kitchens.

5. Wine Lovers Love Living In New Mexico

New Mexico produces some excellent wines. The state’s soil, altitude, climate, and temperatures are well-suited for growing grapes. They create lovely wines with flavors unlike anywhere else!

The best wines are sourced from the vineyards around the region’s towns, including:

  • Las Cruces
  • Albuquerque
  • Santa Fe

Furthermore, the state’s wine-growing regions are some of the oldest operations in the country. They date back nearly 400 years.

Living in New Mexico means you have easy access to the state’s wine trail. Sample the wines produced from these popular varieties of grapes grown in the area:

  • Syrah
  • Viognier
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Riesling
  • Zinfandel

6. There Are Plenty of Recreational Options For Your Leisure Time In New Mexico

New Mexico is an excellent place for enjoying outdoor activities.

Visitors and local outdoor enthusiasts have a lot to choose from, including:

  • Hiking in the mountains
  • World-class downhill skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Fishing
  • White-water rafting
  • Rock climbing
  • Camping under the stars

Living in New Mexico is perfect for the less adventurous, too. In this family-friendly state, take part in these fun things to do:

  • Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad
  • International UFO museum
  • New Mexico museum of natural history and science
  • Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Festival
  • New Mexico Museum of Art
  • ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
  • The New Mexico State Fair

Next, here is another great thing about moving to New Mexico.

7. The State Has An Abundance Of Natural Beauty And Scenic Landscapes

moving to New Mexico pros and consPin

New Mexico’s diverse landscape and awe-inspiring natural beauty are second to none. The terrain is varied, part flat and part mountainous.

The Great Plains covers the eastern one-third of the state. The area is notable for its vast high plateau of semiarid grassland.

New Mexico’s Rio Grande River Valley sits in the central part of the state. It stretches from Colorado in the north and south to Texas.

The river valley contains various landscapes, including deserts, plains, forests, meadows, mountains, and cliffs. It gives rise to the breathtaking Rio Grande Gorge, which is located in Northern New Mexico.

Finally, the state’s mountains are part of the Rockies.

The Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountain range is home to Wheeler Peak, the highest point in the state. West of the Rio Grande are the Nacimiento and Jemez Mountain ranges.

Thus, New Mexico’s landscape and lack of population density in this state allows for easy access to the mountains.

8. Low Cost Of Living In New Mexico

New Mexico offers residents a low cost of living. Let’s discuss why this is one of the cheapest states to live in.

The median home value in New Mexico is about 15% lower than the comparable figure in the United States (source: Redfin).

Average apartment rents are approximately 24% less (source: Would Population Review).

Finally, utilities, groceries, health care, transportation, and other goods and services run 1-10% less than the rest of the country (source: RentCafe).

Here are two more tips for making the most of your money after moving to New Mexico.

Pro tip #1: Sign up and try Rakuten for cash rebates on your online purchases.

Pro tip #2: Use the free app from Empower to manage your spending, budget, and investments in one convenient place.

Next, New Mexico residents have another excellent way to save money.

9. Take Advantage Of The State’s Affordable Higher Education

New Mexico is one of the few states where higher education won’t bankrupt you and your family.

According to, New Mexico has the 2nd lowest in-state tuition in the U.S. Only by residing in Wyoming and attending school there will you find lower costs.

New Mexico universities to consider include:

  • University Of New Mexico
  • New Mexico State University
  • Eastern New Mexico University

Okay. That completes the advantages of moving here.

However, the pros and cons of living in New Mexico are incomplete without reviewing the reasons not to move to New Mexico in the first place. Let’s cover those points now.

Cons Of Living In New Mexico

pros and cons of living in New MexicoPin

10. The State Has A Lackluster Economy

New Mexico does not have a diverse and vibrant economy compared to other states like what Texas has to offer. For example, New Mexico has the 14th smallest economy in the country (source: Wikipedia).

The economy is primarily service-based. Agriculture, manufacturing, and natural resources also contribute to output. For example, the state is a large oil producer.

11. There Is High Unemployment And Low Household Incomes For Many Living In Mexico

New Mexico’s lackluster economy contributes to higher unemployment and lower household incomes.

At the time of this article, the state had the 13th highest unemployment rate (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and the 6th lowest median household income (source: World Population Review).

Thus, as you assess moving to New Mexico and the associated pros and cons, consider how your budget and financial resources will stack up.

New Mexico may be an excellent place to live, for example, if you:

  • Have retirement income sources
  • Work remotely
  • Have a good-paying local job

By having a secure income, you can take advantage of the low cost of living New Mexico offers.

12. The State Suffers From A Poor Quality K-12 Education System

Living in New Mexico as a parent means you must keep a close eye on your kid’s progress in school since the state ranks poorly for its K-12 education system.

For example, WalletHub recently ranked the state’s schools dead last among the 50 states for educational quality and the safety of the school system.

Please don’t leave your kid’s success to their teachers because you may be disappointed. Or, consider budgeting for private school education.

13. After Moving To New Mexico, You Will Encounter Bad Road Conditions

New Mexico’s transportation infrastructure is lacking. Like the school system, it provides a weak foundation for the state’s economy.

For example, Motortrend ranks New Mexico’s urban road conditions in the bottom quarter of all states. And when you venture onto the roads in rural areas, it doesn’t get much better.

The less-than-ideal conditions mean slower commutes and reduced safety. On a positive note, except for Albuquerque, traffic jams are infrequent.

More reading: The quality of life is fine here

14. High Crime In New Mexico May Make You Pause

crime ratesPin

USA Today ranks New Mexico as one of the worst states for crime.

Violent crime is relatively high. Property crime is prevalent, too, but it is less of an issue.

15. Many Residents Here Live In Poverty

In New Mexico, nearly two out of every ten residents live below the poverty line. This rate is exceptionally high compared to other regions of the country.

Poverty goes hand-in-hand with the poor educational system and the low incomes people earn in the state.

More reading: Be open to living in this state

16. Drug Usage Is A Problem In New Mexico

New Mexico’s drug addiction rate is abnormally high.

Another WalletHub study gives the state unfavorable grades for:

  • Drug use and addiction
  • Law enforcement
  • Health issues and rehabilitation

Okay. I have one more reason not to move to New Mexico, and then I will wrap up.

17. The Windy, Dry Weather At High Elevation Isn’t For Everyone

New Mexico’s weather is challenging for some to deal with.

The air is arid with virtually no humidity. Conditions are often windy, making for dry, dusty conditions.

Peak summer days here can be sweltering. At the same time, winters are cold, with plenty of snow in the higher elevations.

Finally, cities like Santa Fe and Taos are approximately 7,000 feet above sea level for anyone who suffers from altitude sickness.

On a positive note, the state has many pleasant, warm, sunny days to enjoy.

Okay. That wraps up the essential things to know before moving to New Mexico.

So, please allow me to conclude with some parting comments.

Is New Mexico A Good Place To Live? (Examining The Pros And Cons)

The Land of EnchantmentPin

Whether you are considering retiring in New Mexico. Or, looking for a fresh start in “The Land Of Enchantment,” there are plenty of benefits of living in New Mexico. And some things to watch out for.

Hopefully, you can now answer these critical questions:

  1. Is New Mexico a good place to live?
  2. Why move to New Mexico?
  3. Is New Mexico a good place to retire?

Thanks for reading, and best luck deciding where to move.

More Reading About Living In New Mexico And Beyond

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Pinterest image: moving to New MexicoPin

The Pros And Cons Of Living In New Mexico Explained