Don’t let Breaking Bad, the Balloon Fiesta or the Tram fool you; New Mexico is a shit-hole.
I’ve lived in the “Land of Enchantment” for 7 years this February and I hate every minute of it. The problem is, once you’re rooted here, it’s very difficult and very expensive to leave. While I scrimp and save every last penny to find a way out of here, let me take a minute to tell you about why New Mexico is one of the worst states in the continental US.
- The Crime
Ranking the worst out of all 50 states in burglary, New Mexico sees more break-ins, armed robbery, and theft than anywhere else. We have a saying here, “If it’s not bolted down, someone’s going to take it, unless you put a sign that says FREE on it” and it’s sadly very true. For some reason there is a huge sense of self entitlement that leads New Mexicans to believe everything and anything you’re capable of walking away with is yours.
If that’s not bad enough, New Mexico also ranks the as the second worst in rape, third in violent crimes and property crime and thirteenth in murder.
One of the worst crimes I’ve ever heard of was a man whom while high on meth, raped an 8 month old baby so violently that she needed organ reconstruction just last year.
Not bad enough for you? How about the West Mesa Bone Collector whom targeted 11 similar looking girls and buried their mangled corpses outside of Albuquerque’s West Side.
- The Education System
Albuquerque Public Schools are some of the worst in the nation, and New Mexico does nothing about it. With a staggering 66% of children finishing high school in New Mexico, our education system suffers a great deal year after year. 16% of New Mexicans age 16 and older have a reading level of 1 out of 5, which is equivalent to barely being able to read a book meant for grade school kids.
In 2013, New Mexico became the lowest ranked state in the country for child well-being.
- The Wealth Gap
You can drive through Santa Fe or Albuquerque and see the clear and definite line of where poverty begins. Starting at the foothills of the Sandia Mountains are some of the richest of Albuquerque’s population and as you head further west to the Rio Grande, the neighborhoods become noticeably worse. There are those that make 6 figures a year that are only two blocks away from meth labs. The unfortunate truth about the matter is that New Mexicans don’t care on either side of the fence. The wealthy won’t stop to help the poor and the poor won’t do anything to better their situation.
- The Economy
New Mexico’s minimum wage is $7.50/hr. Albuquerque’s minimum wage is $8.75/hr if your employer doesn’t offer you health benefits (which they don’t). If you don’t want to live a neighborhood that will guarantee you’ll get your house broken into or you’ll get stabbed just trying to take the trash out, then your rent will likely be upwards of $800 a month, not including utilities, for a mere 600sqft or less apartment.
Trying to make ends meet on that sort of paycheck is nearly impossible and isn’t helped by the fact that jobs paying any more than minimum wage require at least a 4 year degree. Not a degree in anything relevant to the job, just a degree in something. With the cost of higher education rising every year, people are not able to hold down a job and go to school. So that means if you don’t have a BA yet, you’re competing for a job that the other 44% of New Mexicans want too.
- DWI Fatalities
Alcohol might as well be running through the taps in our houses with the amount of DWI arrests and DWI fatalities that occur every year in New Mexico. 30% of all traffic related deaths are alcohol related and 54,000 residents are 3rd time offenders.
All in all I am not a fan of New Mexico and I’m eagerly awaiting being able to leave. I’m sure there are worse places to live (like Detroit) but the charm of the Southwest is dead.