Located in the southwestern part of the United States, New Mexico is the fifth-largest state in terms of area but only the 36th largest in terms of population. This makes New Mexico one of the most sparsely populated states of all, ranking 45th in terms of population density. New Mexico is part of the ‘Four Corners’ region and has borders with the following states: Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Texas, as well as two Mexican states to the south. The state is subdivided into 33 counties that contain 106 municipalities. Although New Mexico’s incorporated municipalities represent only about 1% of the state’s total land area, they are home to more than 65% of the population. Albuquerque is the largest city by population in the state, followed by Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, and Roswell.
Biggest Cities in New Mexico
With a population of 555,417, Albuquerque dwarfs the additional biggest cities; it has at least five times the population of the other four. It’s also home to the University of New Mexico and the largest international balloon festival in the world, Balloon Fiesta.
- Las Cruces
Las Cruces is New Mexico’s second most populous city, with a population of 97,618. The city is the seat of Doña Ana County and serves as the geographic and economic center of the Mesilla Valley, which is part of the Rio Grande’s floodplain. As a result, Las Cruces is surrounded by agricultural land. Several mountain ranges are also visible from the city. Las Cruces is home to the New Mexico State University, spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, and several military and space research institutions.
- Rio Rancho
Located in Sandoval County, Rio Rancho is the third-largest city in New Mexico. A small part of this city also extends into Bernalillo County. Rio Rancho is located quite close to Albuquerque in the central northern part of the state and covers an area of 103.7 square miles. Founded in 1961, Rio Rancho is a relatively new city and was only incorporated in 1981. It has an estimated population of 96,000, with over 907,000 living in the surrounding metropolitan area.
- Santa Fe
With a population of 67,947, Santa Fe is the fourth most populous city in New Mexico. It is the seat of Santa Fe County and the capital of New Mexico. The city was founded by Spanish colonists in 1610 and is the country’s oldest state capital.