Sometimes you just want to move to a laid-back state with unique culture, low cost of living, and great weather.
One such state is New Mexico.
Dubbed “the land of enchantment,” New Mexico combines virtually everything an adventurous person yearns for albeit with a few drawbacks.
But, What Are the Pros and Cons of Relocating to New Mexico?
The rich unique culture comes on top of the list. Also, there’s just a lot to explore in the state – do you remember the Roswell UFOs? Many residents are jobless though.
Living In New Mexico – Pros
Here is a list of good reasons to move to New Mexico:
1. Low cost of living
Utility prices are about 15% below the national average.
This fact makes New Mexico one of the top retirement destinations in the country.
2. Lots of exciting attractions
Every state has its own unique collection of tourist attractions and New Mexico is no different.
Settling in New Mexico puts you few miles away from these attractions:
By now, everyone has heard of the famous Roswell incident of 1947, but a few have had a chance to come here in person and visit the museums.
The tale of UFOs in Roswell borders between comedy and something surreal and or even scary.
According to the recollections of a high-ranking air force pilot, not one but several Unidentified Flying Objects were spotted in Roswell in 1947.
There’s actually a dedicated International UFO Museums and Research Center in the city of Roswell.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
This national park is situated at the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains.
It is a stunning beauty with rich wildlife and endless canyons sinking within the perimeter.
Once you are done with the UFOs at Roswell, this park will be your next point of excitement.
The main attraction in this park is underground rather than outside.
Beneath it lies an extensive system of over 100 caves that cover a big part of the underground Chihuahuan Desert.
Hand-Carved Caves of Ra Paulette
These are hidden in La Madera, a desert located in the north and northeast of Santa Fe.
Ra Paulette, a local artist, curves them by hand and, over the years, has created an intricate underground marvel that attracts hundreds of tourists every year.
Most caves here are situated on private lands, meaning you will need a tour to explore them more exhaustively.
Chaco Culture National & Historical Park
Situated close to Nageezi, this park takes you back in the prehistoric era to see settlements that bustled here between 850 – 1250 AD.
You will have a chance to explore the expansive ancestral Pueblo structures that still stand scattered across the landscape.
The Lightning Field
Unlike most other attractions on this list, the Lighting Field isn’t a relic from the past but rather, a more recent jewel with cultural significance.
The stunning land art was completed by Walter De Maria, a local sculptor, in 1977 and continues to wow art lovers who visit here today.
Located in the hot remote lands of western New Mexico, it consists of up to 400 steel poles crammed in a grid of 1 mile by kilometer.
Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument
The makers of this 533-acre monument didn’t intend it for tourism but to protect the old Mogollon cliff dwellings located in the wilderness of Gila.
Nonetheless, curious visitors are allowed to stop by and snap a few photos on their way to lands beyond.
These dwellings were a thriving community between 1270 and the start of the 14th century.
2. One of a kind culinary culture in Albuquerque
The culinary culture of Albuquerque is one you’ve never seen anywhere else in the country.
If you are an avid gourmand or you are into sampling cuisines from different sources, then you should settle in Albuquerque.
Because there are so many ethnicities in and around the city, you will run into a rich variety of unique foods and a rich blend of tribal cultures with a touch of Spanish influence, American staples, and Mexican specialties.
3. No traffic jam in Santa Fe and Albuquerque
The traffic in Albuquerque and most towns in the state is unsurprisingly manageable.
This is partly a result of the low population density relative to the infrastructure.
If you are coming from states or small towns where traffic congestion is a nightmare, then Albuquerque is certainly going to make your life less stressful.
Those relocating from such places as Dallas, Las Vegas, and Denver will be glad to realize that driving to work takes shorter but the climate remains almost the same.
4. Friendly, beautiful people
Unlike certain places on the east coast and northeast part of the country where sharing a lift with another person can be a confrontation, people in New Mexico are warm and friendly to strangers.
You want to move in a welcoming environment especially if you are relocating for a fresh beginning.
The state has no recognized hate group, just a community of cute peace-loving folks.
5. Mostly warm and calm climate – zero tornados and hurricanes.
The climate of New Mexico is generally arid to semiarid, though certain areas experience alpine and continental climates.
About 300 days of the year are sunny, meaning the state is a great place to be if you are looking for a home that’s warm and balmy most of the year.
Much of the state’s countryside is covered by deserts, mountains, and high plains. Heavy rains are not common.
The statewide average precipitation stands at 12.9 inches (or 330 mm) annually, with average monthly precipitation peaking in the middle of the summer.
The average annual temperatures range from 65 °F (or 18 °C) in the areas located in the southeast to slightly below 40 °F (or 4 °C) in more mountainous northern regions.
Summer months are the hottest, with daytime temperatures exceeding 100 °F (or 38 °C) in areas with elevations below 5000 ft. (or 1500 m). March, November, and December are the coldest months of the year.
6. An opportunity to experience outer space
Did you know New Mexico’s sky is one of the least polluted with light?
The night sky is mostly clear, and that’s why the state is home to about 14 observatories.
If you are a stargazer, an astronomy enthusiast, or you just love to look at a clear night sky, the state is the best place to settle.
Moving To New Mexico – Cons
Here is the not-so-attractive side you need to know about the state:
1. The struggling job market in Albuquerque.
Relocating to New Mexico is a major disadvantage if you are coming without a job.
A significant number of locals aren’t employed – the unemployment rate stands at about 6% most years.
This situation often gets worse when the rest of the national economy is undergoing a contraction.
For that reason, the state consistently ranks poorly in job creation: between 40th and 43rd nationally!
2. High crime rate
The state scores poorly in crime rate surveys.
This percentage is lower than the country’s average of 47%.
However, the quite low concern doesn’t reconcile with New Mexico’s above-average crime rate.
Just 3 in 10 respondents said they feel safe living in New Mexico. The level of concern for crime seems to depend on the kind of crime you ask the respondent.
3. Poverty and drugs
The quality of education in the state is below average.
This, and the fact that the state is close to the border, plus the high unemployment rate, translates to high poverty levels and drug use.
So what are the pros and cons of relocating to New Mexico?
The warm balmy weather of the south appeals to most people.
The rich unique culture is something worth considering as well.
Also, there’s just a lot to explore in the state, like the UFOs at Roswell. However, crime is high and many residents are jobless.