What's it like to live in Albuquerque, NM?

Profile written by local expert:

Steve Larese

Perhaps best known for the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and as the setting for AMC's hit show "Breaking Bad," Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a culturally rich and naturally beautiful metropolitan area. Sitting at the crossroads of New Mexico's major highways (Interstates 40 and 25), Albuquerque has long attracted new residents with its favorable economy and artistic atmosphere.

Albuquerque residents have plenty to keep them busy, from the art galleries of Old Town to the historic Native American sites all around the region. The Albuquerque BioPark's zoo, gardens and aquarium are popular with families, and a host of museums are great places to spend the rare rainy day. While its nightlife is tame by big-city standards, Albuquerque has a robust culinary scene that features local red and green chile peppers, and includes nationally recognized wineries and breweries.   

Albuquerque offers quick access to outdoor recreation, such as hiking, mountain biking and even skiing in the Sandia Mountains that border the metro area to the east. The Rio Grande that flows through the city center is a playground for kayakers, and miles of walking and cycling trails wind through its wooded banks.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Albuquerque, New Mexico is ranked:

#129 in Best Places to Live

#133 in Best Places to Retire

#16 in Most Dangerous Places




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Albuquerque, NM Quick Stats

  • 910,012

    Metro Population

  • $46,860

    Average Annual Salary

  • 68.7° / 45.4°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 37.9

    Median Age

  • $205,750

    Median Home Price

  • 9.5 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $873

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 23.6 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Albuquerque, NM?

Albuquerqueans of all ages enjoy hiking the Sandia Mountains and exploring area parks like Petroglyph National Monument. During the winter, residents are quick to head to the mountains for ski weekends. In addition to outdoor recreation, Albuquerque enjoys a thriving art scene with a wide array of local galleries and a flourishing performing arts scene. Families enjoy visiting Albuquerque's zoo, aquarium and museums, such as the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science and the Explora children's museum.

Albuquerque offers a diverse range of shopping, from major retailers to many local boutiques. Nob Hill still sports the neon signs of its Route 66 heyday, now lined with fun locally owned shops and restaurants. The culinary scene is dominated by New Mexico's legendary green chile; however, Albuquerque also has a growing craft beer scene, not to mention a number of local wineries.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Albuquerque, NM.

What's the cost of living in Albuquerque, NM?

Albuquerque's cost of living is slightly below the national average, but the city has one of the highest property tax rates in the state. The average rent tends to be lower than the national average. Albuquerque residents also pay slightly less than the average American for groceries, utilities and transportation.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.2 /10

How we calculate this.

Albuquerque offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Albuquerque, NM.

What's the weather like in Albuquerque, NM?

Albuquerque enjoys all four seasons. During a typical year, monsoon rains in June and September bring cooler temperatures. Albuquerque receives three or four good snowstorms a year, though the snow melts quickly. In all, Albuquerque records around 300 sunny days a year, making it one of the sunniest places in the U.S.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

0.5 in


0.6 in


1.6 in


1.1 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Albuquerque, NM?

Given the large size of Albuquerque, plus people's love for the nearby mountains and wilderness areas, most people rely on their own cars to get around. The Nob Hill, Downtown and Old Town neighborhoods are pedestrian-friendly, and Albuquerque has extensive paved bike paths popular with both commuters and recreational riders.

The ABQ Ride bus system operates routes throughout Albuquerque. The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is a passenger train that travels the north-south Interstate 25 corridor from the cities of Belen to Santa Fe, with more than a dozen stops in between.

The Albuquerque International Sunport is serviced by several major airlines, and Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains also stop in Albuquerque. 

Commuting in Albuquerque, NM

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

23.6 minutes

3.0 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Albuquerque, NM?

Albuquerque's population is slightly older. Because of the area's pleasant weather and low cost of living, it is a popular retirement destination. 

Albuquerque's long Spanish and Native American history is easily seen in its population and culture. The Old Town Plaza, where the historic San Felipe de Neri church can be found, is surrounded by art galleries and restaurants that reflect the metro area's Hispanic heritage. This area also hosts numerous cultural events, such as the San Felipe Fiestas.

Roughly half the population is religious here, and many people identify as Catholic.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

More single people in Albuquerque than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.