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Laura Berry

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Former Insurance Agent

Joshua Adamson

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

UPDATED: Dec 11, 2023

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15 Best and Worst Commuter Cities in New Mexico

Best and Worst Commuter Cities in New Mexico

The average worker in America spends about 25 minutes commuting to their job each day. But those who live in New Mexico’s best commuter cities are commuting for about 16.4 minutes, and for six in 10 workers in the state, the drive takes less than 15 minutes.

Local job opportunities and an efficient highway system are two factors that help these commuters get to work quickly. Another is a high rate of carpooling, as it helps minimize traffic congestion. Nearly 16 percent of the residents of the cities on our list share a ride to work, which is 60 percent more than the national average.

Commuters who spend a nominal amount of time behind the wheel enjoy several benefits over those with long commutes, and that’s why we’re recognizing the best commuter cities in New Mexico. A short commute can minimize the stress associated with driving, keep gas and vehicle maintenance costs down, and may reward you with a competitive car insurance rate. On the other hand, a long commute can leave you more stressed, increase vehicle related expenses, and could mean you pay more for car insurance.
To create our best commuter cites list, we analyzed traffic data from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau survey and then identified cities with a population of 4,000 residents or more at the time of the 2013 Census Survey.

Click here to see the worst commuter cities in New Mexico.

How Commute Length Affects Auto Insurance Premiums

The more time you spend commuting, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. This means you’re a greater risk to an insurance company than someone with a short commute, and that’s why you might pay a higher auto insurance premium. This is one reason an insurance agent will ask how far you commute before giving you an auto insurance rate quote.

If your commute increases, your insurance premium could go up by as much as $10 per month. Contact your New Mexico auto insurance provider to find out how the amount of time you spend driving may impact your premium.

Has your commute changed recently? Do you want to find out how a shorter commute will help lower your premiums? Call for a free quote today!

How Commute Length Affects Quality of Life

There are several aspects of your life that may be affected by the length of your commute. Here are a few examples.

    • Scientists discovered that, compared to workers who have short commutes, those who have long commutes are more likely to be tired, worried, and less likely to feel enjoyment.
    • Research conducted by the University of California Los Angeles and California State University Long Beach foundthe number of miles driven each day had a more significant connection to obesity than any other factor analyzed.
    • Political Scientist Robert Putnam discovered that, for every 10 minutes a person commutes, their social connections drop by 10 percent.
    • A Gallup Poll found that people who spend more than 90 minutes behind the wheel are at greater risk for constant neck and back pain.
    • Thomas James Christian of Brown University reports that, for every minute of their drive to work, commuters spend less time on healthy activities such as resting, exercising, and preparing meals.
    • Data analyzed by social geographer Erika Sandow reveals that when one partner in a marriage commutes longer than 45 minutes a day, there is a 40 percent greater chance the marriage will end in divorce.

If you endure a long commute, it could be impacting your quality of life in more ways than you realize. Whether you start carpooling, working a few days from home each week, or move closer to your place of employment, get motivated by these 15 commuter friendly cities and consider how you might shorten your commute.

The 15 Best Commuter Cities in New Mexico

#1 – Tucumcari

Tucumcari offers a low cost of living, abundant recreation, and an awarding winning high school. Add in the fact that residents enjoy a commute that’s approximately half the national average and it’s easy to see why Tucumcari is at the top of many lists. Plus, one of the roads many people are commuting on is a historic landmark. U.S. Route 66, now known as Interstate 40, is commonly traveled and even draws several travelers to the city.

Tucumcari - Best Commuter Cities in New Mexico

#2 – Taos

Taos is an amazing place to visit but it’s also a great place to settle, especially if you want to launch a business in food services. The Taos Food Center provides food and beverage based entrepreneurs with services such as training, marketing, and product development. Taos Mountain Energy Bars, a company that received help from the Food Center, recently announced it is expanding its operations and adding a number of full time jobs in the area. Economic development initiatives like this are helping attract small businesses to Taos, which could further reduce its already enviable commute.

#3 – Raton

Approximately one out of five Raton workers carpools. That’s the highest percentage among the 15 best commuter cities in New Mexico and more than twice the national carpooling rate. Sharing a ride to work helps keep cars off the road, which might be one reason Raton residents spend an average of just 15.3 minutes behind the wheel.

#4 – Artesia

Artesia is home to a variety of employers, including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Artesia General Hospital, and several oil related companies. And a new manufacturer recently opened its doors in Artesia, which will add dozens of high paying jobs to the local economy. Artesia’s growing mix of employers means residents are more likely than ever to find a job that matches their skills without leaving town. That could be why 72 percent of Artesia citizens get to work in less than 15 minutes.

#5 – Socorro

Almost 80 percent of Socorro residents commute for less than 15 minutes. When they arrive at their place of employment, nearly two out of 10 find themselves working in the engineering or science industries. This isn’t surprising considering Socorro is home to two major observatories plus the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, one of the country’s premier technology and engineering universities.

#6 – Silver City

Entrepreneurs who move to Silver City will appreciate its wealth of business resources, such as the Small Business Development Center and the International Business Accelerator. These groups help residents get their businesses off the ground and successful in New Mexico. No matter what industry Silver City residents work in, they’ll be thankful there’s a 90 percent chance their trip to work will last 29 minutes or less.

#7 – Clovis

The Clovis Industrial Development Corporation (CIDC) wants to strengthen and diversify local job opportunities. To that end, the CIDC competed against 30 other organizations for a New Mexico Economic Development Department job growth grant, which it won. Expanding job opportunities through grants like this could further reduce Clovis’ already enviable average commute time of just 16.3 minutes.

#8 – Portales

Strong schools, an affordable cost of living, and friendly neighbors are a few reasons Portales is a great place to raise kids. A short commute only adds to the city’s family-friendly appeal. Portales’ working parents spend 36 percent less time commuting than most moms and dads, so they can enjoy more time at home.

#9 – Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences, also called “T or C,” got its name in 1950 when game show host Ralph Edwards asked for American towns to rename their city in honor of the popular shows 10th anniversary. Before it was renamed, the city was known as Hot Springs. As the name implies, there are hot springs for residents and visitors to enjoy in the area. If you’re looking for shopping, there are several businesses lining Main Street. Whether a resident works at one of these businesses, or somewhere else in town, seven in 10 locals get to work in less than 15 minutes. And about 1/4 of T or C residents carpool or work from home, helping cut back on traffic congestion.

#10 – Deming

The 10th best commuter city in New Mexico is leading the way for the production of renewable energy. In fact, several energy related companies like Duke Energy, Naes Corporation, and Sapphire Energy have all set up shop in Deming. With employers like these coming to town, it’s no wonder locals are sticking close to home for work, which could be why 87 percent get to their job in 29 minutes or less.

#11 – Hobbs

Partially due to an increase in oil related industries and economic diversification, the population of Hobbs increased significantly over the last few years. In fact, “Forbes” named it one of the Fastest Growing Small Towns in America. A rapid growth spurt often results in traffic congestion, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem in Hobbs, where one out of five workers commutes for 15 minutes or less.

#12 – Gallup

Gallup city officials put together the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC). The GGEDC uses online resources like its building site locator and community comparison tool to attract new and expanding businesses. This helps ensure residents have access to range of local jobs, which is probably why they get to work eight minutes faster than most Americans.

#13 – Roswell

Economic incentives like New Mexico’s Job Training Incentive Program can go a long way toward helping companies pay for training costs associated with expanding their workforce. In fact, a Roswell aviation service company recently received more than $300,000 through this program to help fund three dozen new jobs. With companies leveraging opportunities like these, more people are likely to want to work in Roswell instead of commuting outside of the area, which could help cut down on commute times.

#14 – Grants

The National Main Street Center named Grants a National Main Street Accredited Community due to its commitment to commercial district revitalization. Accomplishments like this fuel Grant’s economic development, which brings more jobs to the community. With all the job opportunities right in town, it’s no wonder that commute times are an average of only 18.3 minutes.

#15 – Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a designated New Mexico Certified Community. To earn this title, the city’s economic development organization completed a demanding application process that, among other things, required them to create a strategic plan for long term growth. This is just one way Las Vegas goes the extra mile to attract and retain businesses. With great employment opportunities in the area, residents don’t have to go too far for work, which is probably why seven out of 10 residents get to the office in less than 15 minutes.

15 Worst Commuter Cities in New Mexico

On average, the residents of these 15 New Mexico cities commute for 10 minutes longer than those who live in the state’s best commuter cities. But the residents of these “worst” cities only drive one minute longer than most Americans, so it makes sense why many are willing to make the tradeoff of a longer commute to live in any of the cities listed below.

15 Worst Commuter Cities in New Mexico

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To determine the rankings, Obrella analyzed traffic data from the 2013 survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Considering only New Mexico cities whose population exceeded 3,000 at the time of this report, Obrella analysts sorted cities by average commute time and used other available data points to help visualize the breakdown of commute types and commute lengths. Please contact [email protected] with any questions about this report.

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