Albuquerque is a great place to experience life, but like any other place, living in Albuquerque comes with its ups and downs.
In this article, I’ll be discussing 17 honest pros and cons of living in Albuquerque.
Life in Albuquerque (ABQ)
Albuquerque is the largest city in the U.S. State of New Mexico with a population of 942,000. The city is also recognized as one of the most diverse cities in New Mexico.
Albuquerque is famous for its international balloon fiesta. The famous Burrito breakfast is said to have originated from this fiesta in the 70s.
ABQ enjoys bright blue skies about 310 days in the year. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities.
If you’re visiting Albuquerque for the first time, there are over 10 museums to visit. The streets are also stretched out with galleries and restaurants to explore.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Living in Albuquerque
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in Albuquerque:
|Pros of Living in Albuquerque||Cons of Living in Albuquerque|
|Affordable Cost of Living||High Rate of Poverty|
|Unique Culture||High Crime Rate|
|Mild Climate||Drug Abuse|
|Great Outdoor Activities||Homelessness|
|Great Food Scene||Uncomfortable Climate|
Advantages of Living in Albuquerque
Affordable Cost of Living
The cost of living in Albuquerque is relatively lower than in most neighboring cities. According to Best Places, the cost of living in Albuquerque is 91.1, below the US average.
Cost of rent by bedroom size is:
- $630 for a studio
- $777 for a one-bedroom size
- $943 for a two-bedroom size
- $1339 for a three-bedroom size
- $1614 for a four-bedroom size
Albuquerque is known for its diverse Latino, Native American, and Hispanic cultures. These diverse communities are responsible for about 70 ethnic groups in Albuquerque.
The best way to get acquainted with Albuquerque’s cultural heritage is through artifacts in museums. Some of them are
- ABQ Biopark
- Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center
- Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
- American International Rattlesnake Museum
- Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Albuquerque is very sunny. The sun in the city shines as high as 3,400 hours each year. The climate is an arid semi-continental one.
The city experiences hot summers, fairly cold winters, and little rain in the summer. The average temperature in Albuquerque ranges from 37.5°F in December and 79°F from January to July.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the weather condition throughout the year in Albuquerque.
Great Outdoor Activities
The Albuquerque balloon festival is the most popular outdoor event in Albuquerque. It’s also the second-largest balloon fiesta in the world.
These hot air balloons are flown yearly for nine days in October in commemoration of the KKOB radio station. Tickets for this event cost only $10.
Other outdoor activities to try in Albuquerque include:
- Rock climbing in Sandia Mountain
- Hiking in Carlito Springs
- Hiking in Paseo del Bosque Trail
- MST Adventures
- Paddle boarding
- New Mexico Jeep Tours
Great Food Scene
Albuquerque is known for its special local cuisines. These meals are prepared with their signature ingredients—red and green chiles.
Once you get into any restaurant, the most common question would be “red or green?”. The Chile you choose determines how your food turns out.
If you want a blend of both spices in your meal, just say “Christmas”. Biscochitos is Albuquerque’s official state cookie. It’s similar to butter cookies or shortbread, but with its special flavor.
When you visit, you can try any of the best restaurants in Albuquerque for some adventure.
Traffic is not Terrible
Unlike most cities in the United States, Albuquerque offers a saner road experience. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely free, but it’s much more appreciable in contrast with other places.
Albuquerque is generously surrounded by beauty. Whether living in Albuquerque or just visiting, you’ll never get enough of them.
The views in Albuquerque range from sky views, green vegetation, wood forestry, and mountains. You’ll get some of the best views at
- Sandia Crest
- UNM Duck Pond
- West Bluff Park
- Rio Grande Bosque
- San Antonio Oxbow Overlook
- Corrales Bosque Preserve
Education is Affordable
Parents attest to the affordability of Albuquerque schools for their children. You can find both affordable public and private schools. According to Niche, here are the 2022 best schools in Albuquerque:
- Albuquerque Academy
- Menaul School
- Bosque School
- Sandia Preparatory School
- San Jon Municipal Schools
You can also read parents’ reviews on Niche to know how they feel about these schools.
Unlike most other cities with dense populations and rude people, Albuquerque has courteous people.
Residents in Albuquerque are genuinely friendly. Though laid back, they’re always open to making friends.
Low Tax on Property
Tax is a major determinant for the choice of where to live especially for retirees and young income earners.
The tax rates in Albuquerque make living there admirable. The state income tax is 4.9% unlike most cities with higher taxes. Property tax on the other hand is 24% lower than the U.S. national average.
Downsides of Living in Albuquerque
Since Albuquerque is located in New Mexico’s high deserts, there’s limited access to water. This drastically affects agricultural growth and production.
The ripple effect of this is brain drain. Young people are inclined to seek out greener pastures immediately after getting their college degrees.
High Crime Rate
Albuquerque has one of the highest crime rates in the United States. According to Neighborhood Scout, the crime rate is 63 per 1000 residents.
The chances of becoming a victim of property or violent crime are 1 in 16. Violent crimes are most rampant in Albuquerque. They include rape, armed robbery, murder, and manslaughter.
Rampant Use of Drugs
Meth is the most common drug being abused in Albuquerque. According to Albuquerque MSA, an average of 125,000 people aged 12 and above use illicit drugs.
In 2011, about 90% of deaths among youths aged 25 and above were a result of opioid drug abuse. If you live in Albuquerque, you’ll have to take extra measures to keep your kids safe from this menace.
In 2019 alone, 567 residents were found homeless on the streets. There’s been a spike in the number as more residents are being found in the streets.
According to the report, 30% of these people had mental illnesses and 25% were struggling with substance abuse.
Climate Gets Uncomfortable
The weather gets uncomfortable mostly in December and January. December is a bit chilly with temperatures ranging from 52°F to 47°F.
In Albuquerque, there are about 55 hot days in the year with temperatures over 90°F. July is the hottest month with a temperature of 91.8°F. January experiences the coldest night temperatures at 23.5°F.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the increase in poverty in Albuquerque causes systemic issues in the city.
Wallethub attributes the bad educational system to the poverty and rural character of New Mexico. In 2021, New Mexico ranked 3rd poorest state in the United States.
Since 2014, New Mexico has held onto the 49th position in quality of education. This is out of 50 states in Columbia. This is a major issue for anyone looking to raise children in Albuquerque.
Few Well-Paying Jobs
In 2021, New Mexico made it to the top 10 states with employment gap and disability employment gap. The city depends heavily on federal government jobs.
It’s up to you! Save for crime and drugs, Albuquerque is a good place to live. I hope these pros and cons of living in Albuquerque guide you in making the best decision.
Frequently Asked Questions About Living in Albuquerque
What kind of people live in Albuquerque?
According to the World Population Review, here’s a breakdown of the racial composition of Albuquerque:
- African American/Black – 3.09%
- White – 70:32%
- Native American – 4.49%
- Asian – 3.03%
- Other races – 9.79%
- Pacific Islander / Native Hawaiian – 0.09%
Has there ever been a tornado in Albuquerque?
Yes. But tornadoes are rare in Albuquerque. However, while the chance of an earthquake in Albuquerque is 1.88%, that of a tornado is 17.45%.
Is Santa Fe a good place to live?
Yes. Santa Fe is one of the best cities to live in in New Mexico. Though small, Santa Fe offers rich scenery and a quiet environment capable of giving anyone a fresh start.
Where are the dangerous neighborhoods in Albuquerque?
According to Area Vibes, these are the neighborhoods to avoid in Albuquerque:
- Quigley Park
- La Mesa
- Jackson Area
- Crestview Bluff
- Elder Homestead
- Enchanted Park
- Skyview West
Where are the safest neighborhoods to live in Albuquerque?
According to Area Vibes, these are the safest neighborhoods to live in Albuquerque:
- Valley Gardens
- Desert Spring Flower
- Volcano Cliffs
- Paradise Hills
- Ventana Ranch
- Alameda N Valley
- Seven Bar North