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Community Profile

A snapshot of Albuquerque

Albuquerque is New Mexico’s urban center and the 32nd largest city in the U.S., with a metro area population of over one million people. Albuquerque is a city of potential. Located in the high desert of the southwest, Albuquerque is a place of natural beauty, historically and culturally rich, and is a top 100 best place to live - offering an excellent and affordable quality of life. Albuquerque is a resilient city emerging with strength to reach its place in the global economy.

Population, Growth and Demographics:

The Albuquerque metro area’s population totals a little more than 910,000 residents, with a median age of 38. More than 64% have achieved a two-year degree or higher (New Mexico has one of the highest concentration of PhDs in the country). The median household income is $50,192 and the average household income is $69,380.

Historically, the area has grown at a pace of 1-2 percent per year. The Albuquerque metro area is growing year over year, specifically in the 30-34 and 40-44 age ranges. There is a favorable ratio of residents in the key working age group of 20-34 years.

We are a minority-majority state that reflects what America’s workforce will look like in the coming decades, with a diverse population that embraces a culture of inclusiveness and cohesiveness. It’s easy to get lost in big tech hubs, but in Albuquerque, you’re part of an inclusive, familiar culture.

Uniquely Diverse:

Albuquerque is arguably the most ethnically diverse, tolerant, and economically integrated city in the United States. More than 6 in 10 residents are people of color, and over 47% identify as Hispanic or Latino. Home to a vibrant LGBTQ community, the state of New Mexico has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2003 and same-sex marriage was legally recognized in 2013. Here are some other notable examples:

  • Albuquerque neighborhoods have the feel of a small rural town with a burgeoning downtown in the middle of an arts and cultural renaissance.
  • New Mexico is home to 23 Native American communities, all of which have distinct cultures, traditions, and ways of life. These communities converge in Albuquerque, and are part of the cultural fabric of the city. (For example: Albuquerque Public Schools is hosting the 11th annual Native American Fashion Show.)
  • New Mexico is home to the U.S.’s first Native American MainStreet program. Zuni Pueblo MainStreet features Art Walks where you can explore the Pueblo and see Zuni artists practice their art and jewelry making in their homes, using traditions that have been passed down for generations.
  • The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center hosts the Albuquerque American Indian Arts festival every year during the first weekend of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
  • The National Hispanic Cultural Center is a world-class cultural center located in the heart of a historic community, featuring year-round live performances of music and dance.
  • Albuquerque was listed at number 18 in the ranking of top places for LGBTQ retirement friendly cities in 2018 by Senior Advice.
  • Organizations such as Equality New Mexico and ACLU of New Mexico work hard to improve the lives of the LGBTQ community in the state. 
  • Women hold several key leadership roles in our community, including: governor, president of the university, president of the community college, president of the utility company, CAO of the City of Albuquerque, first female Economic Development Director and more.

A Talented Workforce:

The Albuquerque metro area has a pipeline of more than 60,000 college students, with a labor force of nearly 450,000. It’s a young, affordable and smart workforce. In 2016, more than 3,700 software developers and programmers were working in New Mexico. 

In the past three years, New Mexico schools have produced the following graduates:

  • 2,727 in computer and mathematical occupations.
  • 11,437 in business and financial operations occupations.
  • 558 in legal occupations.
  • 6,676 in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations.
  • 1,246 in transportation and material moving occupations.
  • 2,105 in production occupations.

Education:

The University of New Mexico

Our flagship research university, just minutes from downtown, both enables and supports our entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem. UNM offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 87 accredited disciplines, master’s degrees in 72 fields and doctoral degrees in 38 areas, as well as law and medicine.

  • School of Engineering: The school offers degree programs in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, chemical and biological engineering, and civil engineering. The Department of Computer Science invented MATLAB, a high-level programming language and interactive tool involved in data analysis, capable of sorting and re-visualizing data. MATLAB is used for mathematical computation, algorithm development, modeling, simulations and data analysis. In 2018:
  • Enrollment: more than 2,500 students
  • 328 graduates, bachelor’s degree program
  • 211 graduates, master’s degree program (50 in computer science or computer engineering)
  • 56 graduates, Ph.D. program (8 in computer science or engineering)
  • Anderson School of Management: The Anderson School is highly regarded as a Tier One MBA school, as ranked by CEO Magazine. The college offers degrees in BBA, MBA, MACCT, MS ISA, Executive MBA, MBA Ed and career and professional development certificates.
  • School of Architecture and Planning: The school develops leaders who understanding, visualize, design and plan responsible and inclusive futures for people in a culturally rich region. Consistently produces quality research throughout the diverse communities in New Mexico. Many students who have a passion for design go into multimedia fields.
  • Center for Advanced Research Computing: The interdisciplinary research center is the hub of computational research at UNM. It’s a community that uses computational resources to create new insights. CARC provides not only the computing resources but also the expertise and support to help the university’s researchers.
  • STC.UNM: The economic development arm of the University of New Mexico protects and licenses technology developed at the school, connects the business community to the school, and facilitates UNM’s role in New Mexico economic development initiatives.
  • UNM innovation Academy: This program provides the opportunity for students and faculty to work on real problems and pursue creative disruption while earning credit towards degrees. The Innovation Academy offers interdisciplinary courses for a variety of majors and has developed unique programs to support career-readiness, diversity, and access to innovative education.
  • UNM Small Business Institute: This group provides consulting work for local startups, expanding businesses and nonprofit organizations. Every semester, UNM faculty members lead 15-20 student teams to assist clients in preparing strategic business plans, financial analyses and market research studies.

Central New Mexico Community College

CNM is New Mexico’s largest and most comprehensive community college. After starting out as a vocational school, it has grown into a nationally respected and innovative community college with more than 23,000 students. CNM often partners with local business and industry to develop programs and curriculum specific to the needs of employers. Today, CNM offers certificate and degree programs in more than 100 areas.

  • CNM Ingenuity: A nonprofit that helps CNM pursue cooperative ventures in technology and entrepreneurship, the organization includes the CNM STEMulus Center featuring programs such as coding bootcamps, makerspace, cyber academy, food and beverage institute, entrepreneurial mindset training and more.

In addition to UNM and CNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico is home to several other brick and mortar universities and colleges from which to recruit talent, such as the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University, Eastern New Mexico University and more.

A Research and Development Hub:

Home to Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Air Force Research Laboratory and more, we’ve long pioneered research and development in the following areas:

  • High-performance computing, modeling and simulation
  • Advanced materials and specialization in nanotechnology and microsystems
  • Dynamic and energetic materials science
  • Superconductivity
  • Quantum information systems
  • Bioinformatics
  • Theoretical and computational biology
  • Chemistry
  • High power electromagnetics
  • Directed energy and optics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Cybersecurity

The Labs often work with local companies to help the companies build capacity, spin out new technology and solve complex problems.

Access to Decision Makers:

Both the governor and mayor make themselves available to meet with companies considering the Albuquerque metro area. County commissioners, City councilors and state legislators are supportive of business and in attendance at community events.

A Low-Risk Location:

Albuquerque boasts a temperate climate with 310 days of sunshine per year, perfect for outdoor activities. Here you’ll enjoy peace of mind and certainty of operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With more than 310 days of annual sunshine, Albuquerque’s weather is mild and predictable. No damaging floods. No ice to snap power lines. No massive snowfall to shut down roads. No tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes to take you offline. When companies operating in other locations experience disruptions from natural disasters, it’s business as usual in Albuquerque.

Transportation and Commute:

Albuquerque International Sunport is one of the best-loved airports among travelers, both for its regional architecture and its permanent art collection. Even the car-rental facility, opened in 2001, has its own art collection. Pilots consider Albuquerque a safe and easy place to land because the Sunport has four runways, more than most cities, and enjoys a good relationship with Kirtland Air Force Base, which handles all fire and rescue. The Sunport is 600,000 square feet with 22 gates in two concourses.

The Sunport has a U.S. Port of Entry with its own customs facility, so that exporters can ship freight directly and pay duties locally. And there is a foreign trade zone on 60 acres near the air cargo center.

The Albuquerque International Sunport is served by eight major airlines and four regional air service providers. The airport offers nonstop service to 21 out-of-state cities, including several daily nonstop flights to Los Angeles and Burbank.

Double Eagle II Airport on Albuquerque's West Side is a general aviation facility used for training, military, air ambulance, charter, private and corporate flights. It’s slated to become the center of the city’s budding aviation manufacturing cluster, with the development of the Aerospace Technology Park.

The airport has two runways and two fixed-based operators that include flight training and charter service, avionics service, airframe and powerplant repair, tie downs, hangars, catering, and aircraft rental.

Downtown is close to the intersection of two major highways (I-25 and I-40), providing national access for business and industry.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, with north-south and east-west lines, hauls 90 percent of freight originating in the state and 80 percent of cargo terminating here.
Albuquerque is a stop on Amtrak’s Chicago-to-Los Angeles route.

The New Mexico Rail Runner currently operates in the Rio Grande corridor from Belen to Santa Fe with several stops in Albuquerque. Bus connections are available from the Albuquerque stops.

Commutes here pale in comparison to most other areas of the country. Our workforce has the luxury, by nature of our low living costs, to focus on choosing employment based on career objectives and the type of work they wish to do, without the need to make lifestyle compromises. The average commute in Albuquerque is 25 minutes. That means there’s no soul-crushing commute keeping your employees from being more productive – at work or at home. In Albuquerque, work/life balance is actually a thing.

The city features a multitude of transportation options, from ridesharing to a 50-mile bike loop to city buses.

History, Culture and Traditions:

Albuquerque has a deep and unique history. Today, a multi-cultural metropolis with residents who can trace their ancestry back thousands of years to Native Americans and the first Spanish explorers, who later founded Albuquerque in 1706. The history is still present today and can be experienced by visiting the ancient rock carvings at Petroglyph National Monument or by strolling around one of America’s Friendliest Neighborhoods - Old Town, the original town proper.

Countless customs and traditions have been passed down over generations and are still celebrated today. From fascinating museums and cultural centers to the World’s largest gathering of Native American tribes and unique holiday traditions, Albuquerque is the epicenter of southwestern culture.

A Sense of Place and Quality of Life:

Nestled in the high desert, at the base of the Sandia Mountains to the east, along the Rio Grande Valley, with volcanic remains to the west, lies Albuquerque.

The Land of Enchantment provides more than world-renowned natural beauty. Our quality of place advantage enables us to attract the best and the brightest from around the world. Employers in Albuquerque are fortunate: their workers are here because they want to be. We regularly hear from major employers that their New Mexico operations provide higher retention and better performance than other global sites. Unlike many places where retention is based on financial and career opportunities companies can offer to offset high housing costs, long commutes or unbearable weather, here “place” works in your favor.

Perhaps the thing that will be most appealing to your employees is the quality of life that the Albuquerque-Santa Fe region offers. Here they’ll find a refreshing blend of beauty and charm, with amenities ranging from world-class skiing to world-renowned opera.

  • The City of Albuquerque works hard to create an environment where hobbyist and artists can become entrepreneurs and be featured at events and markets. One Albuquerque: Engage campaign is partnering with Square to host workshops that help small entrepreneurs build a web presence and financial management systems; create a pop-up-business-license and lease vacant commercial spaces on a short term basis and invest in innovative incubation programs that help anyone with an idea or business reach their potential.
  • The City of Albuquerque supports the Rail Yards Market, a Sunday artisan and farmers market that draws thousands of people every weekend and feature Albuquerque’s best local micro-entrepreneurs, hobbyists and artists. The holiday market event drew more than 36,000 visitors this year.
  • Albuquerque is a place where people can explore their creative side and are able to share their talents at multiple venues and events.
  • In Albuquerque you have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and grow with the City. This is the kind of place where you get to be “a big fish in a small pond.”

Affordable:

Albuquerque is consistently below the national index mark of the C2ER Cost of Living index. This study measures intercity differences in the costs of consumer goods and services. Here are some examples of affordability in Albuquerque:

  • The median sale price of a house is $193,800, which is 55% lower than the western median.
  • At any movie theater in the city on Tuesdays: $5 movie tickets
  • Beer at a local microbrewery: $6
  • Annual pass to the Albuquerque BioPark: $54
  • Annual pass to Explora children’s museum for a family of six: $100
  • Annual bus pass: $225
  • Tickets to major concerts: $40-100

Lifestyle:

There are many lifestyle options in New Mexico, giving people the choice of a range of different types of living while still maintaining reasonable commutes and access to amenities. One person can select a rural setting but still be a short distance from the urban center. Another has the option of an urban or suburban lifestyle, with hiking or mountain biking nearby. Downtown Albuquerque features several local breweries and coffee shops that serve as venues for musicians and artists, as well as places where Albuquerque’s artists, creatives, professionals and students converge to make connections with people from all walks of life.

Recreation:

Albuquerque’s natural beauty is breath-taking with vast landscapes that are not only pleasing to the eye, but provide endless outdoor recreation opportunities. Experience Albuquerque’s unique geography by riding the World’s longest aerial tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains 10,000+ feet above sea level or soar across the city in a hot air balloon. Albuquerque’s location is perfect for businesses to thrive while providing employees with an excellent quality of life. Year-round recreational opportunities abound here, with more than 28,000 acres of open space; miles of trails throughout the region; mountains, lakes and rivers; and more. In fact, the weather and topography here are such that you can ski and golf in the same day. The metro area offers residents and visitors alike a variety of outdoor activities:

  • There are hundreds of parks throughout the region and more than 80 miles of running and biking trails.
  • Albuquerque has purchased and dedicated over 28,000 acres as permanent open space.
  • Sports enthusiasts cheer on the Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A baseball team), the University of New Mexico’s many Division 1 sports teams, and the new-to-market USL professional soccer team, United.
  • Petroglyph National Monument on Albuquerque’s Westside preserves tens of thousands of Native American petroglyphs.
  • World-class skiing is within minutes from anywhere in the metro area.
  • For dazzling views and access to skiing and wilderness areas, residents and visitors can take the Sandia Peak Tram, the longest single-span tram in North America.
  • New Mexico has 31 State Parks and 13 National Parks.
  • Other popular activities in the area include hot air ballooning, golfing, mountain climbing, hunting, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking along the Rio Grande, and more.

Eat & Drink:

Albuquerque is home to countless local restaurants serving one of America’s most treasured regional cuisines, New Mexican food. New Mexican cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, Native American and Mexican food. At its core is chile, red or green, and uniquely grown in Hatch, NM. Beyond our famed cuisine, Albuquerque offers a rich culinary scene including pizzerias, sushi bars, barbeque joints and more.

Albuquerque also offers an excellent beer and wine scene. The city has earned its place as a top 10 beer destination with over 60 local breweries. Wine enthusiasts will also take delight in the exceptional wineries Albuquerque offers.

Whether you are a foodie, a brewery hopper, or like to relax at the vineyard, Albuquerque is the place to be, in fact many have chosen Albuquerque for the food alone.

For more information on Albuquerque’s characteristics or visitor information visit VisitABQ’s webpage.

What Employers Are Saying:

“I’ve found a lot of wonderfully talented people right here in Albuquerque or through local networks. After all, innovative tech talent pipelines like Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp, Cultivating Coders and Girl Develop It are churning out skilled developers in our back yard. RS21 is a company that does hard science – high-level, analytical work – and my New Mexico employees not only keep up, they’re leading the charge. In addition to our local talent, I take special pride in my employees who aren’t from New Mexico – people who decided to relocate here from places like Colorado and Chicago to join our company. We’re receiving an unprecedented number of applications from Burqueños who left the state to pursue education or careers elsewhere. They’re returning in droves from Oregon, Colorado, Texas and even Michigan.” - Charles Rath, CEO of RS21

"Instead of moving everyone out to the Bay Area like a predictable tech entrepreneur, I took a leap of faith and made our home in New Mexico. Initially it was about convenience, then it was about the lifestyle, but it’s become something more. New Mexico is now part of our culture, part of who we’ve become as a company, and one of our strengths." - Mark Johnson, CEO of Descartes Labs

Recent Accolades:

New Mexico’s largest city, however, the city moves at a relaxed pace for its size (Source: https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/best-cities-to-live-in-new-mexico/)
New Mexico’s largest city, however, the city moves at a relaxed pace for its size (Source: https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/best-cities-to-live-in-new-mexico/)
New Mexico’s largest city, however, the city moves at a relaxed pace for its size. (Source: https://www.chamberofcommerce.org/best-cities-to-live-in-new-mexico/)

#1 on MovieMaker Magazine's Best City to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in the U.S. List
#2 on Chamber of Commerce 2019 Best Cities to Live in New Mexico List
#4 on Best Cities 2019 America’s Best Small Cities List
#9 on Business Facilities 2019 Metro Rankings Report for Large Cities with Economic Growth Potential
#9 of move.org’s Top 75 Most Affordable U.S. Cities List
#9 on FDI’s 2019/2020 American Cities of the Future List for Business Friendliness and Connectivity
#67 on Livability 2019 Best Places to Live List
Old Town Ranked on National Geographic’s 28 Friendliest Neighborhoods