Published 23 February 2020
Most locals are surprised to learn that Doña Ana County and Los Angeles County are roughly the same size — each measuring roughly 4,000 square miles in area. Locals are even more surprised to learn how lucky they are to have so much room to roam compared to their Southern California counterparts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates, Doña Ana County measures 3,807 square miles in area and has a population of almost 217,522 residents. That equates to about 57 people for each square mile. In comparison, Los Angeles County, with its population of 10,105,518, shoehorns 2,488 people into each of its 4,061 square miles.
While that sounds like a heck of a lot of people crowded into a county the size of Doña Ana, L.A. County residents have it pretty good compared to the 1,628,701 residents of New York County, New York (Manhattan area), where the occupancy ratio is 70,813 citizens per each of its 23 square miles. Closer to home, Bernalillo County’s 1,162 square miles is home to 678,701 New Mexicans, or about 584 residents per square mile. Each square mile contains 640 acres.
Owner-occupants make up approximately 61.8 percent of the 89,049 housing units in Doña Ana County, down from 65.4 percent five years ago, according to the Census Bureau. In Bernalillo County, about 62.8 percent of the population own their own home. Just under 45.8 percent of L.A. County residents own the place they call home, while slightly less than one-in-four New York County residents hold deeds to the properties they occupy.
New York County residents brought home the most bacon, posting a median income of $82,459 per household. The median is the point at which half earned more and half earned less. The median income for L.A. County households was $64,251. Bernalillo County family units earned approximately $51,643, and Dona Ana County households earned just over $39,164.
New Mexico’s inbound population migration trend peaked in 2009, when that year’s United Van Line’s Annual Migration Study ranked New Mexico as the No. 8 state for inbound relocations. A decline of 9,750 people took place between April 2010 and July 2013, according to the Census Bureau. In 2014, the Land of Enchantment again achieved No. 8 status in the United Van Line study — but this time because the number of people leaving the state exceeded the number moving here. In fact, New Mexico was one of only six states that lost population in 2014.
An additional decline of 458 residents occurred between July of 2014 and July of 2015. New Mexico’s status, while still struggling to add population since then, improved over the subsequent two years. The moving study revealed that our state moved down to No. 20 in the 2016 outbound migration study and to No. 22 in the 2017 report. In 2018, the Land of Enchantment had 3,509 more people leave the state than move in.
The one-two punch of our declining population and the recession brought on by the crash of the housing market in 2007-08 (depending on where you live) began a downward trend in closed home sales throughout the state. The decline finally bottomed out in Las Cruces during 2011, before beginning to rise in 2012. Annual sales have steadily increased in volume ever since, with the 2,154 closed sales in 2019 representing the second-best production year on record. Last year was also the year that the local median single-family home price returned to its pre-recession level.
See you at closing.
Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and the owner of Gary Sandler Inc., Realtors in Las Cruces. He loves to answer questions and can be reached at 575-642-2292 or Gary@GarySandler.com