The 10 Biggest Cities In New Mexico

Hot air balloon above Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hot air balloon above Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The US state of New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the country. With an area of 314,160.8 square km and a population of 2,059,192 inhabitants, New Mexico ranks as the nation's 5th most extensive state and the 15th least populous. 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.

The Most Populated Cities in New Mexico

1. Albuquerque

With a population of 545,852, Albuquerque is New Mexico’s most populous city, and the 32nd most populous in the US. Located in the north-central part of the state, the city serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County. The Rio Grande flows through Albuquerque, while the Sandia Mountains are located to the east. The city’s elevation ranges between 4,900 feet and 6,700 feet, making it one of the highest major cities in the country. A number of government institutions, research facilities and post-secondary schools are located in the city. For example, the New Mexico Technology Corridor is home to several government institutions and high-tech private companies. Additionally, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held in the city every year, which is the world’s largest gathering of hot-air balloons. 

2. 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.

3. Rio Rancho

Rio Rancho is New Mexico’s third most populous city, with a population of 87,521. Located in Sandoval County, and extending slightly into Bernalillo County, the city is the economic hub of Sandoval County. The Intel Corporation's semiconductor fabrication plant, Intel Fab 11X, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, is located in Rio Rancho. Additionally, the Intel Corporation is the city's biggest employer.

4. 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.

5. Roswell

Roswell is the state’s fifth most populous city, with a population of 48,411. The city serves as the seat of Chaves County, and is a hub for ranching, manufacturing, dairying, farming, and petroleum production. Roswell is also located near various natural areas, such as Bottomless Lakes State Park and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The Smallest Municipality in New Mexico

Grenville is the smallest municipality of New Mexico. Located in Union County and classified as a village, Grenville had a population of only 38 according to the 2010 census.

The Largest and Smallest Municipalities by Land Area

Albuquerque is not only the largest city in the state by population but also in terms of area, as it covers an area of 486.2 square km. With an area of only 0.57 square km, Virden is the state’s smallest municipality.

List of the 10 Biggest Cities in New Mexico

RankCityCountyPopulation (2010)Land area (2010)
1AlbuquerqueBernalillo545,852486.2 km2
2Las CrucesDoña Ana97,618198.1 km2
3Rio RanchoBernalillo/Sandoval87,521267.7 km2
4Santa FeSanta Fe67,947119.1 km2
5RoswellChaves48,36677.3 km2
6FarmingtonSan Juan45,87781.6 km2
7ClovisCurry37,77558.8 km2
8HobbsLea34,12262.1 km2
9AlamogordoOtero30,40355.5 km2
10CarlsbadEddy26,13875.0 km2

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