Rio Rancho, New Mexico

  • The Rio Rancho campus of the University of New Mexico
  • Rio Rancho City Hall
  • The Hewlett-Packard shop in Rio Rancho
  • The Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho

Rio Rancho lies mostly in Sandoval County but a small portion crosses the line into Bernalillo County. As of 2010, Rio Rancho is the third-largest and the fastest growing city in New Mexico. The townsite was originally part of the Alameda Land Grant of 1710. As the land grant was settled and the papers were all in order, the owners of record in 1847 were able to hold onto title to the land but most of it had been sold to land speculators by the early 1900's.

Amrep Corporation bought some 55,000 acres in 1961 and surveyed, platted, registered, bulldozed roads and started selling that property as Rio Rancho Estates. Many of the first buyers were from New York and they started building and moving their families in by the mid 1960's. The population grew tenfold between 1970 and 1980. That led to the city's incorporation in 1981. Another impetus pushing incorporation was a deal with Intel Corporation to build a major semi-conductor plant in town: the folks of Rio Rancho wanted to have some amount of say as to what was going to happen with all the tax money involved.

In the 1990's, Rio Rancho took steps to differentiate itself from Albuquerque in order to become a real city in its own right. Among the first steps taken then were the establishment of separate library and school systems. Then came the establishment of a large industrial park and efforts to recruit new businesses to the area. The downtown area has also seen considerable development with a new city hall being opened for business in September 2007, a satellite University of New Mexico campus, a Central New Mexico Community College campus and the Santa Ana Star Center, a 7,000-seat event center/sports arena. However, finding these buildings in City Center can be a real pain... the signage is very misleading and if you do get there, you'll find the place is surrounded by sand dune desert.

The population of Rio Rancho is up more than 70% since 2000.

Fast Facts about Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Rio Rancho, Sandoval County, NM 87124, 87174
Latitude: 35.2862°N
Longitude: 106.6707°W
Incorporated: 1981
Elevation: 5,312'

High School or Higher: 91.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 24.8%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 7.9%
Cost of Living Index for Rio Rancho: 94.7

2014 Estimates:
Median Household Income: $61,850
Median Home Value: $183,300
Median Resident Age: 35.1 Years
Major Industries:
Health Care, Educational Services, Professional Services, Lodging & Food Services, Construction, Government, Finance & Insurance Services, Computers & Electronic Products, Waste Management Services
Unemployed (August 2014): 6.7%
Population Demographics: 2010
Total Population 87,521
Males 42,613
Females 44,908
Population by Age
Under 18 24,611
18 & over 62,910
20-24 4,604
25-34 11,292
35-49 19,289
50-64 16,095
65 & over 9,443
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 32,153
Non Hispanic or Latino 55,368
Population by Race
White 66,534
African-American 2,533
Asian 1,656
Native American 2,830
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 153
Other 9,732
Two or more 4,083