Have you been enticed by New Mexico’s nickname, “The Land of Enchantment”, to consider making it your new permanent home? This Southwest gem holds some amazing benefits (and a few drawbacks) to living in this region of the U.S.
These days, many people share the desire to escape the gloom of urban life in favor of warmer climates and reduced living costs. In the arid southwest corner of the USA, this state of 2.11 million residents (as of the 2020 census) has recently gained attention as a nice place to settle.
Despite New Mexico’s famed Hatch chiles and breathtaking scenery, there are a few significant drawbacks that prospective residents should be aware of. Evaluate these pros and cons of living in New Mexico to see if it’s a good fit before making the big decision to move there.
Pros of living in NM
New Mexico is a wonderful place to call home, and anyone thinking about relocating here should find out what it has to offer for perks. From a moderate climate to captivating landmarks, there’s more than a few reasons to love living in the Southwest.
Cost of Living
New Mexico has cheaper living costs than much of the country. One of the main reasons that life is less expensive is because housing and utilities are more affordable compared to other states. Additionally, the average prices for food and gas are lower in the Land of Enchantment than in its closest neighbors, like Texas and Arizona.
Despite the job market’s lack of variety, the lower income requirements for a comfortable life are a major plus.
Since the dollar stretches further in New Mexico, it can be an ideal retirement place. Folks who are done in the workforce and empty nesters might find that they can live well on a pension, even in one of the bigger cities like Santa Fe or Albuquerque. Alternatively, someone who works from home could build their nest egg more easily residing there.
Amazing Outdoor Scenery
There is no other place like New Mexico, and millions of tourists stop by each year to admire its breathtaking landscapes. Mountains, valleys, canyons, rivers, deserts, woods, and national parks are all featured in this beautiful southwestern state.
Since the night sky in the Land of Enchantment is so renowned for its mystical beauty, stargazing is one of New Mexico’s most popular pastimes. Not only are there many places to go hiking, biking, birding, camping, and even skiing, but the state also has several great hot springs to relax in.
New Mexicans get to experience all four seasons in a climate that is both moderate and easy to handle. The winters are snowy and somewhat chilly, while the summers are bright and sunny. Since this is a desert region, residents can expect less rain and very dry air, but many don’t mind this too much.
Even with occasional draught conditions, many people prefer this environment because of the abundance of blue skies. There are also plenty of high elevation areas. Even the most populated city is already at over 5300 feet above sea level, and Santa Fe is over 7,000 ft.
People worldwide know of New Mexico for its rich history, long history, and long-standing traditions. These communities are home to diverse people, including many Hispanics, Latinos, and Native American groups. Together, they have a unique and well-kept cultural heritage.
Many cities in New Mexico often look like open-air exhibits because there are so many ancient ruins, museums, and old properties. The wide range of architectural styles also shows the state’s rich and varied past. Albuquerque, hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta annually in early October. This hot air balloon event is a great way to learn about the colorful culture of the area.
The abundance of high-quality restaurants serving tasty meals has earned New Mexico widespread acclaim. You can eat both traditional southwestern food and specialties from south of the border because Mexican cooking is one of the state’s culinary inspirations.
The Hatch chile is a staple component in many dishes from the state. Locals love their style of relish, which is often produced from sun-dried, grilled peppers that have been pickled in vinegar and cooked with various spices.
Friendly Locals and Communities
The people of New Mexico are some of the most hospitable you’ll ever meet. Those seeking a sweet spot to settle down, meet new friends, and start a family can find what they’re looking for in this region.
Fewer people mean more time to get to know the neighbors, and less big business means a more genuine feeling of community. Some residents claim New Mexico boasts an inviting style of southern hospitality, a quality many love living around.
No Bad Traffic
Being stuck in traffic is one of life’s most frustrating sensations, and it’s particularly bad if you reside in a major city. The low population density of New Mexico means that no one, not even those living in the state’s largest populations, has to deal with this issue often.
Driving between Santa Fe and Albuquerque rarely will take you more than an hour. Shuttles and railroads connect the two metropolises as well.
Less Expensive Higher Education
If you want to get a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, you might be able to save money by going to school in New Mexico. Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico State University, and the University of New Mexico are three of the state’s top public universities, all conveniently located across the state.
In-state college tuition in the Land of Enchantment is reportedly one of the lowest in the nation, with average costs significantly less than those in neighboring states.
Cons of living in NM
Even the best places on earth have a few unfavorable qualities, and New Mexico is no different. From crime to high heat, there are certain things to consider before moving here. For some the dry climate and lack of humidity is favorable, while for others, it’s a detriment.
Limited Job Market
Despite the state’s rich cultural history and delicious cuisine, New Mexico has few job opportunities compared to other states. The state’s economy, which is primarily based on service jobs, agriculture, manufacturing, and oil, discourages many people who might otherwise move there.
Relocating to New Mexico might be a good idea if you are retired and have a steady income, work from home, or have a job offer in the Land of Enchantment. Otherwise, there is little room for growth in many industries.
New Mexico has a greater poverty rate than the national average, partially because of a lack of well-paying work options, low literacy, and poor grade school education. Currently, about one-fifth of people live below the poverty line, with some regions having much higher percentages.
It also has one of the highest child poverty rates in America. Even though there are wonderful areas to live in around the state, you should research to be sure it’s the best choice before relocating there permanently.
High Crime Rate
Criminal happenings and activities are unfortunately ordinary in this southwestern state. Several factors, including generational poverty, drug abuse, and a poor job market, could be to blame for New Mexico’s high crime rate.
Potential new residents may think twice about moving because of this problem, which is prevalent throughout the state. Before you move or settle anywhere, research the local crime rate to make sure it’s a place where you would feel safe living. Talk to the neighbors and drive by the area after dark.
Bad Quality of Roads
Because of New Mexico’s size and dispersed population, residents and newcomers will likely want access to a car. Some of the worst roads in the region can be found in this state; sadly, this is particularly true in the more rural sections.
Due to the poor condition of the roads in the hills and the number of damaged bridges, accidents are more likely to occur. While public transit may exist in certain places, it may only serve a small portion of the city, so driving is really the only way to get around.
Extreme Desert Heat
The summers in New Mexico’s deserts may become quite hot, despite the state’s relatively moderate average temperature. In the middle of the day during the summer, temperatures often exceed 100 °F.
However, some larger cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, are higher in elevation and therefore cool down and night and don’t see the same extreme summer highs as in the desert regions.
In addition to the extreme heat, New Mexico has one of the worst drought seasons in the nation throughout the summertime. These high temperatures usually continue until autumn, creating problems for those sensitive to heat.
Anybody considering relocating there should stock up on water and sunscreen and keep themselves and their families in the shade throughout the day.
Low-Quality K-12 Education
New Mexico has some of the worst grade-school educational standards in the country, partially due to a lack of funding and an economy that isn’t thriving like other places. Parents in New Mexico who have children in school should carefully monitor their kid’s academic achievement rather than placing their trust in the state or the instructors.
Budgeting for private school education is an option for some new residents, who may later choose to attend one of the state’s public colleges because of the lower cost of in-state tuition.
Overdose deaths are far higher than the national rate, and drug usage is one of the state’s most pressing problems. It has been a big problem especially among the state’s young people. Depression, heart disease, and liver illness are just some of the health issues that have increased due to this crisis, which is also costing the state billions of dollars a year in damages.
New Mexico is a vibrant and welcoming state with breathtaking beauty all around. Like all states, it boasts many pros and cons to moving there. Despite its challenges, go throughout the region at your own pace and see if this is the ideal spot for your next new home.