Although New Mexico is one of the economically weaker states, its population is growing particularly rapidly.

New Mexico is a state in the southwestern United States. Its scenic beauty has earned New Mexico the nickname “Land of Enchantment”.

Location and residents of New Mexico

New Mexico’s neighboring states are Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado. At the Four Corners, the state borders on Utah, and to the southwest on Mexico. With an area of 314,915 square kilometers, New Mexico is the fifth largest of the 50 states. With a little more than two million residents (as of 2019), it is only relatively sparsely populated. However, New Mexico recorded a particularly rapid population increase compared to the rest of the states, in the years 1990-2000 it was over 20 percent. This is also related to the increased (legal and illegal) immigration from the south.

A brief outline of the history of New Mexico

Since the Conquistador Coronado crossed the southwest of the American continent in the 16th century and Spanish missionaries and settlers followed him, there have been repeated conflicts and armed conflicts between the Indians living in the area and the Spanish immigrants. Until the beginning of the 19th century the area was under Spanish rule, later it fell to Mexico. After the Mexican-American War (1846-48) it finally went to the United States. In February 1863, New Mexico was set at its current borders and in January 1912 it was officially declared the 47th state of the USA.

New Mexico today

Today New Mexico is one of the economically weaker states and based on the prosperity indicator, real GDP per capita, New Mexico is 40th place (out of 50) rather in the lower range (as of 2016). Livestock is an important industry, agriculture is only possible with the help of additional irrigation. Due to its impressive nature and many historical sites, New Mexico is particularly interesting for tourists. The traditional adobe building style using adobe bricks and natural materials is also used in the larger cities, making Albuquerque and Santa Fe stand out from the crowd of other American cities.

New Mexico State Bird and Flower


The per capita income is 23,081 US dollars (2001), only 76% of the US average. This ranks New Mexico third from bottom of the 50 states. This can be interpreted as a sign of the generally lower prosperity of the Latin American and Indian population groups in US society and the still lower level of development of the state. The growth of the gross national product is positive: from 1990 to 1999 it increased by 88%. Tourism is an important economic factor.


Because of its southern location and the fact that it is on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains, New Mexico’s climate is consistently very dry and very hot, especially in summer. In winter, however, due to the altitude, it can also get bitterly cold, especially in the north, where there is a real winter sports area in the mountains north of Santa Fe.


Santa Fe, capital (62,203 residents), Albuquerque, largest city in New Mexico (448,607 residents), Las Cruces, near Mexico (74,267 residents), Roswell, agricultural area (45,293 residents), Alamogordo, air force base at the White Sands gypsum desert (35,582 residents ), Los Alamos, Taos Atomic Research Center and Taos Pueblo, artist and Indian village north of Santa Fe that has mutated into a tourist resort.


Like the rest of the states, New Mexico has a two-chamber parliament, a Senate and a House of Representatives. The governor is the Democrat Bill Richardson (elected until 2007). The capital is Santa Fe – incidentally the oldest seat of government in the USA, because Santa Fe was the seat of a governor even under Spanish rule. In Congress in Washington, New Mexico has two members of the Senate and three members of the House of Representatives. New Mexico is divided into 33 counties.


Because of its natural beauty and relatively well-preserved historical sites, New Mexico is rich in attractions. In addition, the consistent observance of the historical adobe architectural style in recent times particularly highlights the cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque from the uniform image of American cities in the west. Examples of natural attractions are: Carlsbad Caverns National Park (caves), White Sands gypsum desert near Alamogordo, Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque.

Examples of historical sites worth seeing: Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Chaco Canyon (Pueblo ruins of the Chaco culture), Gila Cliff Dwellings north of Silver City (rock dwellings), Coronado State Park near Albuquerque.

Largest Counties in New Mexico by Area

According to Countryaah, the biggest counties in New Mexico are listed as below:

Ranking County Area
1 Bernalillo County 3,020 km² km2
2 Catron County 17,943 km2
3 Socorro County 17,216 km2
4 Otero County 17,164 km2
5 Chaves County 15,724 km2
6 Rio Arriba County 15,172 km2
7 San Juan County 14,281 km2
8 McKinley County 14,113 km2
9 Lincoln County 12,512 km2
10 San Miguel County 12,217 km2
11 Cibola County 11,759 km2
12 Lea County 11,378 km2
13 Eddy County 10,831 km2
14 Sierra County 10,826 km2
15 Grant County 10,272 km2
16 Union County 9,920 km2
17 Doña Ana County 9,860 km2
18 Colfax County 9,731 km2
19 Sandoval County 9,609 km2
20 Hidalgo County 8,925 km2
21 Torrance County 8,664 km2
22 Guadalupe County 7,850 km2
23 Luna County 7,679 km2
24 Quay County 7,394 km2
25 Roosevelt County 6,343 km2
26 De Baca County 6,022 km2
27 Taos County 5,706 km2
28 Harding County 5,506 km2
29 Mora County 5,001 km2
30 Santa Fe County 4,944 km2
31 Curry County 3,642 km2
32 Valencia County 2,766 km2
33 Los Alamos County 282 km2