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Rio Rancho, NM and Sandoval County: A Perfect Place to Call Home

See why the region checks all the boxes for many young professionals.

By Kari Kynard Ridge on December 16, 2019

Rio Rancho, NM Monuments
Rio Rancho / iStock.com/ferrantraite

Whether you are a 20-something looking for a place to find your footing after college or in your 30s and ready to change jobs, Rio Rancho and Sandoval County should be at the top of your list of potential communities to call home.

Located in Central New Mexico, this region has a wealth of qualities that are not only attracting young talent but keeping skilled workers in the community.

All the Essentials

With employers like chipmaker Intel and tech company Hewlett-Packard in the area, young professionals are sure to find a job to match their skill sets. However, while working for a good company is a key part of career happiness, a few other factors also play a role, such as commute time, community environment and, of course, affordability.

Hours-long commutes are not the norm in Rio Rancho and Sandoval County, and residents are able to get around with ease. The average commute time is just 21 minutes, and 60% of residents only spend 15 minutes or less behind the wheel.

“If you live and work here, then the commute would be a breeze, says Lauren Hemphill, chair of the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber Visionaries, a young professionals group dedicated to developing a young workforce. “People are not going to have to spend an hour in their car driving back and forth. It’s just a quick trip down the street.”

As far as the community’s environment, the word “inclusive†only begins to describe the area. Many cultures call Sandoval County home, and the percentages of Native American and Hispanic residents are well above the national average.

“We do have lots of different races and different religions here, and I think it is a very welcoming community†Hemphill says. “Rio Rancho itself reminds me a little bit of the Midwest. It has that kind of feel where it is welcoming, and people are friendly, and that’s not necessarily what you’re going to get everywhere.”

When it comes to buying a house, the perfect home will not drain a young professional’s wallet, as housing costs in Sandoval County are below the national average. The median home value is $183,300, while the median income is $60,345, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Rio Rancho, NM Parks
Rio Rancho / Sergio Salvador

Future Ready

While young adults can build a career in this area, there is no need to pack up and move if kids are on the radar.

Known for its low crime rates, this community offers young families a safe and secure place to live. In fact, Rio Rancho was named the fourth-safest city on the 20 Safest Cities in New Mexico for 2019 list by home security company SafeWise.

As far as schools, children are sure to receive a quality education in the Rio Rancho/Sandoval County area. Rio Rancho High School and V. Sue Cleveland High School are ranked nationally on the list of Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report, and both schools give students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement coursework and exams.

“People are looking for a safe community, good schools, good cost of living, and we have all of those things,†Hemphill says. “Just with all the community support and the great people in this community, it’s a great place to live and work.”

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