Belen, New Mexico
While "Belen" is the Spanish name for "Bethlehem," the town is more famous because of the Belen Railroad Cutoff. Before the Cutoff was built, train traffic generally crossed over Raton Pass, a long, steep mountain crossing that considerably cut into the number of trains that could run through the area at any one time. The Belen Cutoff changed all that and made it possible to run an average of 110 trains per day through the southern Rocky Mountain region.
Belen was founded by Antonio Salazar and his brother-in-law, Captain Don Diego Torres in 1740. They were accompanied by 40 families who had come to farm the land. Over time they expanded their operations into sheep ranching and the town began to grow. After the Mexican-American War, immigration to the area increased significantly and the Belen area developed into a mercantile center serving the area west to Arizona and east to the Estancia Valley. The first railroad tracks arrived in 1880, bringing in shops, an ice plant, a roundhouse, a depot and miles and miles of track yards. The village of Belen was first incorporated in 1918. Belen became a town in 1940 and a city in 1966.
Belen is near the southern county line of Valencia County but is still considered part of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population of Belen is up about 5.6% since 2000.
The Rail Cafe at Belen Station
High School or Higher: 70.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 12.6%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 2.7%
Cost of Living Index for Belen: 92.4
Median Household Income: $31,370
Median Home Value: $112,260
Median Resident Age: 34.6 Years
Educational Services, Health Care, Government, Construction, Lodging & Food Services, Retail Services, Social Services, Finance & Insurance Services, Transportation Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 7.3%
|Population by Age|
|18 & over||5,504|
|65 & over||1,204|
|Population by Ethnicity|
|Hispanic or Latino||4,745|
|Non Hispanic or Latino||2,524|
|Population by Race|
|Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||9|
|Two or more||352|
Other photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License