New Mexico is a state with diverse landscapes, rich cultures, and a long history. However, not all places in the Land of Enchantment are equally enchanting. Some cities and towns in New Mexico have high crime rates, low incomes, poor education, and other problems that make them undesirable places to live. Based on various sources and criteria, one city stands out as the worst city to live in New Mexico: Española.
Why is Española the Worst City to Live in New Mexico?
Española is a small city in Rio Arriba County, with a population of about 10,000 people. It is located in the Española Valley, between the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains. The city was founded in 1880 as a railroad town, and later became a center for agriculture, trade, and tourism. However, in recent decades, Española has faced many challenges and difficulties that have lowered its quality of life.
One of the main issues that plagues Española is crime. According to MSN and iHeart, Española has the highest drug-induced mortality rate in the state, with 100.3 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the state average of 40.5. The city also has high rates of violent and property crimes, such as robbery, assault, burglary, and theft. Residents of Española have a 1 in 83 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and a 1 in 15 chance of being a victim of a property crime.
Another problem that affects Española is poverty. The city has a poverty rate of 19.9%, which is higher than the state average of 18.3%. The median household income in Española is $42,611, which is lower than the state average of $54,020. The median home value in Española is $165,600, which is lower than the state average of $184,800. Many people in Española struggle to afford basic necessities, such as food, housing, health care, and education.
Speaking of education, Española also has a low level of educational attainment and performance. The city has a high school graduation rate of 77%, which is lower than the state average of 84%. The city also has a low college graduation rate of 18%, which is lower than the state average of 27%. The public schools in Española have low test scores, low ratings, and low funding. According to Niche, the Española Public Schools district ranks 79th out of 89 districts in New Mexico, with a grade of D.
Are There Any Positive Aspects of Living in Española?
Despite its many drawbacks, Española is not a completely hopeless place. The city has some positive aspects that make it worth visiting or living in for some people. For example, Española has a rich cultural heritage, as it is one of the oldest settlements in the United States, and the home of many Native American and Hispanic communities. The city has many historical and cultural attractions, such as the San Gabriel Mission, the Bond House Museum, the Chimayo Museum, and the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center. The city also hosts many festivals and events, such as the Española Fiesta, the Lowrider Day, the Española Valley Arts Festival, and the Northern New Mexico Music Awards.
Another positive aspect of living in Española is the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. The city is surrounded by scenic mountains, rivers, forests, and deserts, that offer stunning views and diverse wildlife. The city is close to many national and state parks, such as the Bandelier National Monument, the Pecos National Historical Park, the Santa Fe National Forest, and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The city also has many trails, parks, and golf courses, where people can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, camping, skiing, and golfing.
Española is a city that has a lot of potential, but also a lot of problems. The city suffers from high crime, low income, poor education, and other issues that make it the worst city to live in New Mexico.
However, the city also has some positive aspects, such as its cultural heritage, its natural beauty, and its outdoor recreation opportunities. Therefore, Española is not a place that everyone should avoid, but a place that everyone should be aware of its pros and cons. Española is a city that needs more attention, support, and improvement, to become a better place for its residents and visitors.