Census data offer mixed news for NM

A few reports have come out from the US Census Bureau which highlight New Mexico’s slow population growth (or even population declines) in recent years. It is important to understand this data for a few reasons:

  1. While a lot of data highlights positive and negative economic and social trends, population growth or decline is the result of people actually moving. Thus, it shows what their actual preferences are.
  2. New Mexico is in the American Southwest, the fastest growing area in the nation which means it should be compared against those states.
  3. New Mexico is in the midst of an unprecedented oil and gas boom and has been for several years. This windfall could be used to make New Mexico a more attractive place for businesses and families. So far, that has not been done.

The good news is that unlike last year, New Mexico DID see a slight population uptick this year (of course none of New Mexico’s neighbors have had declines and some of them have been among the fastest growing states in the nation):

Looking at the data through a longer lens (April 1, 2020 through July 1, 2023) highlights New Mexico’s population challenges with the State experiencing a loss of 6,088 people. No neighboring state lost people over that time period. Shockingly, New Mexico saw states like West Virginia, Vermont, Kentucky, Maine, and Alabama grow, while it shrank.


Thanks to Phil Kerpen (an excellent follow on Twitter) for the information.