5 Small Towns in New Mexico to Put Down Roots inFor cozy living, you simply can't compete with the charm and low cost-of-living you'll find in New Mexico's tiny towns.
No disrespect intended to the beautiful cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Roswell, but the small towns in New Mexico are really the main attraction. Sprawling little oases in the middle of the desert, surrounded by the spacious, scenic beauty of the Southwestern desert. These quiet, peaceful small towns are perfect for laying down roots as you explore the Land of Enchantment:
Truth or Consequences
You may have heard the story of where the town of "T or C" New Mexico got its name: Back in the 1950's, NBC radio host Ralph Edwards dared any town in the US to change their name to that of his quiz show, Truth or Consequences. Today the town is divided into the "T" and "C" sides, with those letters written on the faces of the mountains surrounding the town. T or C was once known as Hot Springs, New Mexico, for the abundance of natural hot springs in the town. These hot springs may be why the town is so laid back, even by New Mexico standards.
The total population numbers at just 6,451 according to the 2011 Census, with 576 people per square mile. There's plenty of room to breathe out here. The largest age demographics in T or C are the 40-64 middle age set, with 31% of the population, and the 65+ crowd making up another 25%. The agreeable weather, easy pace and low cost of living make T or C a very pleasant little town for people who are ready to slow things down a bit and spend the rest of their lives taking it easy.
Mesilla is located just a little west of Las Cruces, New Mexico's second largest city. Most small towns situated next to big cities wind up being swallowed by their neighbor, transformed into just another neighborhood in the metropolitan area. Mesilla has, against all odds, maintained its small town charm, with just over 2,000 total residents according to the 2010 Census, and a population density of 326 people per square mile.
Far from the stereotypical "hick town" some people expect to find in the Southwest, 60% of the town's population has attained a bachelors or associate degree, and education and health are the top employers here, making up a total 35% of the workforce. The town also boasts a relatively sizeable population of bachelors and bachelorettes, with 28% of households in Mesilla being single-person, and another 28% being non-family households. Reflecting the low cost of living, 56% of people in the town make less than $30,000 a year, with another 30% making between $30,000 and $75,000.
Not the Nevada gambling oasis, but a small city in San Miguel County. With a population of 14,408 people as of the 2010 Census, Las Vegas is big enough that you won't have to sacrifice the conveniences of modern living, but small enough to feel cozy and familiar. The town has a rich history, and was once a hotspot in the American Southwest, frequented by the likes of Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. The town's character hasn't changed much in the hundred odd years since those days, and that rugged American spirit can still be felt in Las Vegas.
Education and Health are the big employers out here, and household income levels range in the modest middle class, with 35% of the population earning between $30,000 and $75,000. Las Vegas is a great place for young couples and families, with 50% of households here being 2-3 person homes.
If you want quiet and cozy, Ruidoso is technically not even a town, but a village. With a population of around 8,000 according to the 2010 Census, Ruidoso is a part of the Ruidoso Micropolitan Statistical Area, with a population of 21,223. The town sees very little crime, with almost all of it bein non-violent. That's about what you might expect from this sleepy little resort town. This being said, Ruidoso is the fourth fastest growing city in New Mexico, so it might not be a small town for long. This means that it's a great time to move to Ruidoso if you want to be on the ground floor of a booming little town, but you may want to look elsewhere if you'd prefer for your small town to stay small.
Cloudcroft has to be seen to be believed. A small mountain community with a population of just over 600 people as of the 2010 Census, in Cloudcroft you can see wooden railroad bridges disappearing into the green mountains like an Ewok village. The really surprising thing about Cloudcroft may be just how green it is. New Mexico has plenty of enchanting little desert towns, but all that tan and brown sand can get a little tiresome. In Cloudcroft you're surrounded by the kind of greenery you'd expect to have to move to Oregon to see.
The median list price in the town is around $89,250, but the median square footage value is only $56, around half of what a typical Albuquerque home will cost you. In Cloudcroft you can just about own a mansion for the price of an apartment in a big city.
No disrespect intended towards New Mexico's big cities, but you simply can't compete with the charm and low cost-of-living you'll find in New Mexico's tiny towns.