11 Pros and Cons of Living in Las Cruces, NM

Updated On October 9, 2023
Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces, situated on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, is a city in New Mexico.

It is the second largest city in the state with a population of approximately 114,139 residents, as of the 2020 census. The city and region have a desert climate.

The city is populated with adobe-style buildings and the city center hosts a bi-weekly, local market featuring a variety of food stalls, music, arts, and crafts. Money magazine voted Las Cruces as the third best travel destination in America. 

There are, however, a few advantages and disadvantages to moving to this city that may need to be considered. 

Las Cruces, NM
Las Cruces, NM

Pros of Living in Las Cruces, NM

1. No traffic problems

Las Cruces is approximately 199,5 km² in size.

You can easily drive from one side of the city to the other in about 20 minutes.

Due to its small population size of approximately 114,139 residents, Las Cruces hardly has any bumper-to-bumper traffic or long commutes that you may experience in larger metropolitan cities like New York, or Chicago

This advantage comes down to time and saving time.

Candidates who reside in larger cities spend a lot of their time commuting to and from work and are often stuck in rush hour traffic for hours on end.

When living in a smaller city like Las Cruces, where the commute is much shorter and rush hour traffic does not exist, more time can be devoted to things that matter, such as family, hobbies, and leisure activities.

2. Breathtaking views

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment and with good reason.

Las Cruces – in particular- is known for its beautiful sunsets, majestic Organ mountain views, and captivating scenery.

This small city is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who love to hike, mountain bike, go camping, or simply take a stroll in the outdoors.

The area surrounding this small city offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery you will find in all of the United States.

There are a variety of beautiful trails to choose from, such as:

  • Tortugas Mountain Trail
  • La Cruces Dam Trail
  • Aguirre Springs National Recreational Area
  • Dripping Springs Natural Area

Apart from the hiking trails, there are also several wineries to visit, such as the Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery, and the Sobra Antigua Winery, which both offer some beautiful scenery to enjoy while trying out their special wines. 

3. Affordability

A key factor that influences where people move or live is the cost of living.

How well are work and personal life balanced?

Is there enough time to spend with friends and family while enjoying leisurely activities, or do you need to work extra jobs to keep food on the table?

This comes down to the cost of living and how affordable that specific city is.

A big contributor to the cost of living is the cost of housing.

If housing and transportation costs run through the roof, residents will more than likely need to get a second, or in some cases, even a third job, just to keep food on the table.

However, if housing and transportation costs are reasonable, then the cost of living will substantially be reduced, making it possible to get by on the salary from a single job.  

In Las Cruces, transportation is exceptionally low as the city is rather small, making the commute rather short.

In addition, housing is very affordable and the city offers various well-built, new homes that are easily affordable. 

In essence, the cost of living in Las Cruces is below the national average, with aspects such as grocery costs, healthcare, housing, and transportation costs coming in below the national average.  

4. Climate

One of the biggest draw cards for residents is the climate in this region.

Summer and spring are warm seasons that can be described as arid with little to no humidity.

This kind of weather is ideal for outdoor activities.

This city does not experience any harsh weather conditions and you may expect warm weather conditions throughout the year, with little to no snowfall.

In fact, the climate in this region is so popular, that it attracts many retirees from all over the US.

So much so, that TopRetirements.com voted the city as one of the top ten retirement destinations in America.

And that has a lot to do with the climate in this area. 

5. A clean city

Another major attraction is the cleanliness of the city.

Due to the fact that there are a lot fewer cars on the roads, the city has lower levels of air pollution.

The streets are also much cleaner than you might find in bigger cities like Los Angelos or Philadelphia due to the fact that the community rallies together in environmental clean-up projects in and around the city. 

These projects are aimed at cleaning the city streets by picking up litter and clearing graffiti off the public walls.

In addition, weeds are removed and the general city areas are manicured to maintain a certain standard in and around the city.

The residents of the city take a lot of pride in their community and it shows.

Another focus area for residents is community recycling and reducing their green footprint.

6. Community

Las Cruces is a small city with a small-town mentality.

People are friendly and inviting in the city.

Neighbors are always ready to lend a helping hand and everyone has a deep sense of pride in their community and city. 

You can expect strangers in the city to greet you with a smile wherever you go.

What is so great about this city is that you may bump into people you know when visiting your local grocery store or favorite restaurant.

In addition to the wonderful people that live in the small city, you may also find that the city has a rich culture with cuisine from all corners of the world, historic sites, art, and a variety of festivals taking place. 

Cons of Living in Las Cruces, NM

1. Not enough entertainment

Some individuals love the hustle and bustle of big cities.

For these people, the small town living that Las Cruces has to offer may not be appealing.

On the contrary, these individuals may find this kind of lifestyle quite boring.

Young adults may find the city quite appealing at first when moving here, due to the beautiful scenery and outdoor living, but will quickly tell you that there is very little to do.

Las Cruces offers the kind of activities that older folk might enjoy.

Even in terms of being family-friendly, there are only so many things, other than the bi-weekly market in the city center, that will appeal to families.

That may be why the city was rated in the top ten cities in the US to retire in.

2. Higher than the average crime rate

The crime rate in Las Cruces is higher than the national average.

Violent crime incidents in the city sit at 497 incidents per 100,000 residents.

For a city with only 114,139 residents, that is rather high.

The national average, in terms of violent crime, sits at 379 incidents per 100,000 residents.

According to data from the 2019 period, the average number of reported crimes, which include property and violent crime, in Las Cruces, was 4,078 incidents per 100,000 residents. 

Of the crimes that are commonly committed in Las Cruces, larceny is by far the most common type of crime, followed by burglary, which is double the national average, and aggravated assault being the most commonly reported violent crime in the city. 

3. Lack of certain job opportunities

There are a few things to cover under this heading.

Firstly, Las Cruces is a great place if you are in the hospitality or retail industries.

There are plenty of jobs in these fields.

However, if you are someone with a very specific skill set, you may find it quite challenging to find a job that matches your skillset.

There simply is not a big enough economy to accommodate these kinds of jobs.

Furthermore, the expected growth rate of the economy in the city is lower than that of the national average.

While there is growth predicted in the economy over the next few years, it is not in line with what is expected across the nation.

The unemployment rate is also higher than the national average.

As of June 2022, the unemployment rate for the state of New Mexico sat at 4.9% whereas the national average was only 3.6%.

And, finally, the recent job market growth in the city was set at -4.0%.

The more specialized the skill set and the job, the less likely you are to find employment in Las Cruces. 

4. Higher tax rate

Las Cruces has a higher tax rate than the national average.

For example, the sales tax rate in Las Cruces is 8.0%, which is higher than the national average which sits at 7.3%.

This affects everything from groceries to luxury items.

You will be paying more for things in Las Cruces than you would in many other major cities across the US. 

Furthermore, Las Cruces’s income tax rate is slightly higher than the national average at 4.9% compared to a national average of 4.6%.

These tax rates have a major impact on the cost of living and may present Las Cruces as somewhat more expensive than many other major cities in the US. 

5. Location

We’ve mentioned earlier that there isn’t a lot to do in this city.

Apart from that, not many major singers or performers make it to Las Cruces.

If you would like to see your favorite artist in the state, you may have to travel to one of the neighboring cities that will be hosting such an event.

The problem with this is that most of the neighboring cities are not strategically very close to Las Cruces. 

The closest major city to Las Cruces is El Paso, TX, which is located approximately 42 miles away.

 Albuquerque, NM is located 191 miles away and Tucson, AZ is located 246 miles away.

In terms of location, Las Cruces is pretty isolated. 

Las Cruces, NM
Las Cruces, NM

Pros and Cons of Living in Las Cruces, NM – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Las Cruces, NMCons of Living in Las Cruces, NM
1. No traffic problems1. Not enough entertainment
2. Breathtaking views2. Higher than the average crime rate
3. Affordability3. Lack of certain job opportunities
4. Climate4. Higher tax rate
5. A clean city5. Location
6. Community

Las Cruces Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Las Cruces Safety Review

Safety Index:
Las Cruces

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the major attraction in Las Cruces?

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the biggest attraction in this area.

Is Las Cruces NM worth visiting?


There are a lot of outdoor activities and scenery to enjoy in and around the city.

Why is it called Las Cruces?

Rumour has it that wooden crosses were erected in honor of soldiers and travelers who had died in this area.

What food should I try in Las Cruces?

  • Sopapillas
  • New Mexico red chilli
  • Capirotada

What is Los Cruces known for?

The city is known for the state’s only land-grant university, New Mexico State University (NMSU).

5 Comments on 11 Pros and Cons of Living in Las Cruces, NM

  1. Wow, rather interesting, fairly objective view of the City i now live in. Although of course, i take issue with some things, mostly in what is not stated, in terms of cons.
    We do rank in the bottom 5 states for many things, meaning the worst:
    Education, poverty, child wellbeing, suicide, alcohol-related deaths, and a few other important quality of life issues. So…be aware of what to expect.

  2. Also, the name of the city is generally agreed to stem from the location as a crossing point or intersection of a few main travel routes.

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    Absolutely nothing to do in this city. Not a place for younger people to plan a future as there is no industry, etc., for employment. Shopping is extremely bad. Not much to choose from unless you like Walmart, which here is poorly stocked. Food prices are higher than many areas in the southwest, probably due to the fact that it is considered off the grid, yet located on Route 10, which is a major cross country highway.

  4. B
    Barry Leslie says:

    The weather is fantastic the organ mountains are gorgeous the nighttime city lights awesome. Cost of living low. Very little traffic. Friendly people. If you want night life El Paso is 40 miles away straight down I 10. Good schools clean air quiet nights. What’s not to love about Cruces.

  5. interesting article. I will say there is plenty to do in LC if youre into outdoor activities. as mentioned, you can travle to El Paso for nightlife and other entertainment options (not a far drive). In the FAQ section, it mentions Carlsbad caverns as being the biggest attraction in the area….. I’ll have to disagree, since it’s about 193 miles away. There are many other areas to visit between here and there in terms of national parks/nature attractions. taxes are high for sure, but it’s a nice place to live.

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