Portales, New Mexico

Roosevelt County Courthouse
Roosevelt County Courthouse in Portales

Portales was founded in 1898 and named for a nearby campsite where spring waters gushed from the porches of a pueblo-style house ("portales" means "porches" in Spanish). The third largest university in New Mexico (Eastern New Mexico University) is located here. The Portales area is famous for the quality of its Valencia peanuts, although the area is actually more famous for its dairy industry.

Downtown Portales is laid out in Spanish Colonial design with a central plaza surrounded by buildings. One of those buildings is the WPA-style Roosevelt County Courthouse from the 1930's. The other three sides of the square are occupied by active retail shops. The historic Yam Theater has recently been refurbed.

The America's Dreamtowns Survey, conducted by Bizjournals.com, looked at 577 micropolitan areas and ranked Portales #15 in the nation and #9 in the western US in overall quality of life. The survey was conducted to identify America's most attractive micropolitan areas, giving points to small, well-rounded communities where the economy is strong, the cost of living is moderate, the traffic is light, most folks are well-educated and big city attractions are reasonably close by.

Also, near Portales is the Blackwater Draw Archaeological Site, a well known significant site connecting early man with the presence of the Columbian mammoth, camel, bison, horse, dire wolf and sabertooth tiger. Blackwater Draw has been a focal point of scientific investigations by more than a dozen major universities and the National Science Foundation, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the National Geographic Society, the Carnegie Institute, and the Smithsonian Institute. Because of public interest in the site and the site's long-term potential for more research, Blackwater Locality #1 Site has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

The population of Portales is up about 12% since 2000.

Eastern New Mexico University Administration Building
Eastern New Mexico University Administration Building
Fast Facts about Portales, New Mexico
Portales, Roosevelt County, NM 88130
Latitude: 34.1822°N
Longitude: 103.3387°W
Founded: 1898
Elevation: 4,006'

High School or Higher: 74.0%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 25.2%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 11.2%
Cost of Living Index for Portales: 82.1

2014 Estimates:
Median Household Income: $25,940
Median Home Value: $83,070
Median Resident Age: 27.1 Years
Major Industries:
Educational Services, Government, Lodging & Food Services, Construction, Health Care, Agriculture, Social Services, Retail Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 4.7%
Population Demographics: 2010
Total Population 12,280
Males 6,119
Females 6,161
Population by Age
Under 18 3,147
18 & over 9,133
20-24 1,750
25-34 1,795
35-49 1,774
50-64 1,660
65 & over 1,378
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 5,278
Non Hispanic or Latino 7,002
Population by Race
White 9,171
African-American 313
Asian 152
Native American 191
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 5
Other 1,983
Two or more 465