Fastest-growing counties in New Mexico

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July 1, 2022
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Fastest-growing counties in New Mexico

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in New Mexico. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in New Mexico using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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#33. San Juan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -8,383
--- #3,121 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.4%
--- #25 among counties in New Mexico, #2,535 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 121,661
--- #5 largest county in New Mexico, #520 largest county nationwide
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KeanoManu // Wikimedia Commons

#32. San Miguel County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -2,192
--- #2,868 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.5%
--- #27 among counties in New Mexico, #2,668 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 27,201
--- #16 largest county in New Mexico, #1,520 largest county nationwide
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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Colfax County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,363
--- #2,667 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.9%
--- #29 among counties in New Mexico, #2,855 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 12,387
--- #24 largest county in New Mexico, #2,249 largest county nationwide
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Torrance County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,338
--- #2,659 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.2%
--- #28 among counties in New Mexico, #2,724 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 15,045
--- #23 largest county in New Mexico, #2,083 largest county nationwide
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#29. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,329
--- #2,655 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.5%
--- #22 among counties in New Mexico, #2,241 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 28,185
--- #15 largest county in New Mexico, #1,488 largest county nationwide

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#28. Socorro County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,271
--- #2,633 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.1%
--- #26 among counties in New Mexico, #2,634 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 16,595
--- #22 largest county in New Mexico, #1,997 largest county nationwide
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Hidalgo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -716
--- #2,343 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.6%
--- #32 among counties in New Mexico, #3,044 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,178
--- #29 largest county in New Mexico, #2,874 largest county nationwide
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Mora County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -692
--- #2,323 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -14.2%
--- #31 among counties in New Mexico, #3,030 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,189
--- #28 largest county in New Mexico, #2,873 largest county nationwide
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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Roosevelt County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -655
--- #2,291 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.3%
--- #19 among counties in New Mexico, #2,047 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,191
--- #21 largest county in New Mexico, #1,861 largest county nationwide
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#24. Chaves County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -488
--- #2,135 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.7%
--- #16 among counties in New Mexico, #1,604 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 65,157
--- #10 largest county in New Mexico, #828 largest county nationwide

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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Union County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -470
--- #2,115 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -10.3%
--- #30 among counties in New Mexico, #2,888 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,079
--- #30 largest county in New Mexico, #2,881 largest county nationwide
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psyberartist // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Sierra County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -412
--- #2,057 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.4%
--- #20 among counties in New Mexico, #2,065 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,576
--- #25 largest county in New Mexico, #2,310 largest county nationwide
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Drmccreedy // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Valencia County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -364
--- #1,995 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.5%
--- #15 among counties in New Mexico, #1,566 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 76,205
--- #6 largest county in New Mexico, #736 largest county nationwide
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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#20. De Baca County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -324
--- #1,947 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -16.0%
--- #33 among counties in New Mexico, #3,068 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,698
--- #32 largest county in New Mexico, #3,066 largest county nationwide
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Tony Hisgett // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Quay County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -295
--- #1,913 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.3%
--- #18 among counties in New Mexico, #2,044 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,746
--- #26 largest county in New Mexico, #2,505 largest county nationwide

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Guadalupe County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -235
--- #1,823 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.0%
--- #23 among counties in New Mexico, #2,332 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,452
--- #27 largest county in New Mexico, #2,859 largest county nationwide
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#17. Lincoln County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -228
--- #1,816 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.1%
--- #17 among counties in New Mexico, #1,670 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 20,269
--- #19 largest county in New Mexico, #1,802 largest county nationwide
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Peter Potrowl // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Catron County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -146
--- #1,692 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.9%
--- #21 among counties in New Mexico, #2,152 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,579
--- #31 largest county in New Mexico, #2,914 largest county nationwide
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#15. Cibola County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -41
--- #1,544 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.2%
--- #14 among counties in New Mexico, #1,513 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 27,172
--- #17 largest county in New Mexico, #1,522 largest county nationwide
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Vacaypicts // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Harding County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -38
--- #1,540 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.5%
--- #24 among counties in New Mexico, #2,399 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 657
--- #33 largest county in New Mexico, #3,130 largest county nationwide

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Curry County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +54
--- #1,427 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.1%
--- #13 among counties in New Mexico, #1,469 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 48,430
--- #12 largest county in New Mexico, #1,014 largest county nationwide
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#12. Rio Arriba County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +117
--- #1,383 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.3%
--- #12 among counties in New Mexico, #1,446 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 40,363
--- #13 largest county in New Mexico, #1,178 largest county nationwide
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Luna County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +332
--- #1,243 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #11 among counties in New Mexico, #1,279 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,427
--- #18 largest county in New Mexico, #1,583 largest county nationwide
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#10. McKinley County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,410
--- #923 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.0%
--- #10 among counties in New Mexico, #1,187 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 72,902
--- #8 largest county in New Mexico, #756 largest county nationwide
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#9. Los Alamos County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,469
--- #912 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #4 among counties in New Mexico, #553 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,419
--- #20 largest county in New Mexico, #1,853 largest county nationwide

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Lochaven // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Taos County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,552
--- #892 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.7%
--- #8 among counties in New Mexico, #855 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,489
--- #14 largest county in New Mexico, #1,313 largest county nationwide
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#7. Otero County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,042
--- #625 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.3%
--- #6 among counties in New Mexico, #679 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 67,839
--- #9 largest county in New Mexico, #789 largest county nationwide
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#6. Eddy County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,485
--- #468 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +15.8%
--- #1 among counties in New Mexico, #203 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 62,314
--- #11 largest county in New Mexico, #856 largest county nationwide
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Lea County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,728
--- #433 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +15.0%
--- #2 among counties in New Mexico, #227 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 74,455
--- #7 largest county in New Mexico, #744 largest county nationwide
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#4. Dona Ana County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +10,328
--- #416 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.9%
--- #7 among counties in New Mexico, #827 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 219,561
--- #2 largest county in New Mexico, #314 largest county nationwide

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Asaavedra32 // Wikimedia

#3. Santa Fe County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +10,653
--- #412 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.4%
--- #5 among counties in New Mexico, #604 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 154,823
--- #3 largest county in New Mexico, #436 largest county nationwide
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M.Bucka // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Bernalillo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +13,880
--- #360 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.1%
--- #9 among counties in New Mexico, #1,167 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 676,444
--- #1 largest county in New Mexico, #100 largest county nationwide
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#1. Sandoval County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +17,273
--- #317 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +13.1%
--- #3 among counties in New Mexico, #280 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 148,834
--- #4 largest county in New Mexico, #449 largest county nationwide

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