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New Mexico

New Mexico

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New Mexico is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, it has also been part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics at 44% (2008 estimate), being descendants of Spanish colonists and recent immigrants from Latin America. It also has the third-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska and Oklahoma, and the fifth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas. The tribes represented in the state consist of mostly Navajo and Pueblo peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are unique for their strong Hispanic, Mexican, and Native American cultural influences. At a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth most sparsely inhabited U.S. state.

 
Geography
Further information: List of New Mexico counties
 
Digitally colored elevation map of New Mexico.The state's total area is 121,665 square miles (315,110 km2). The eastern border of New Mexico lies along 103° W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, and three miles (5 km) west of 103.5° W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that. The western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03' W longitude. The 37° N latitude parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. New Mexico, although a large state, has little water. Its surface water area is only about 250 square miles (650 km2). New Mexico's average precipitation rate is only 15 inches (380 mm) a year.

 
Wheeler Peak, the highest point in the State of New Mexico.
 
Northern New Mexico Landscape, Near Youngsville.
 
Pueblo Ruins at Aztec Ruins National Monument.
 
Carlsbad Caverns Interior.
 
The Dunes at White Sands National Monument.
The landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande in the rugged, pastoral north. The most important of New Mexico's rivers are the Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila. The Rio Grande is the eighth longest river in the U.S.

Creosote bush, mesquite, cacti, yucca, and desert grasses, including black grama, purple three-awn, tobosa, and burrograss, cover the broad, semiarid plains that cover the southern portion of the state.

The Federal government protects millions of acres of New Mexico as national forests including:

Carson National Forest
Cibola National Forest (headquartered in Albuquerque)
Lincoln National Forest
Santa Fe National Forest (headquartered in Santa Fe)
Gila National Forest
Gila Wilderness
Areas managed by the National Park Service include:

Aztec Ruins National Monument at Aztec
Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos
Capulin Volcano National Monument near Capulin
Carlsbad Caverns National Park near Carlsbad
Chaco Culture National Historical Park at Nageezi
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
El Malpais National Monument in Grants
El Morro National Monument in Ramah
Fort Union National Monument at Watrous
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument near Silver City
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Pecos National Historical Park in Pecos
Petroglyph National Monument near Albuquerque
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument at Mountainair
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo
Visitors also frequent the surviving native pueblos of New Mexico. Tourists visiting these sites bring significant monies to the state. Other areas of geographical and scenic interest include Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Gila Wilderness lies in the southwest of the state.

See also: Delaware Basin
 Climate
The climate of New Mexico is highly arid and its territory is mostly covered by mountains, high plains, and desert.

 Flora and fauna
New Mexico offers habitat for occurrence of many plant and animal species, with emphasis upon many desert areas and large amounts of pinon-juniper woodland. Native birds include the Road-runner, Geococcyx californianus and Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo subspecies mexicana.

 
Desert scene not far from Chaco Canyon.
The Organ Mountains Near Las Cruces. History
Main article: History of New Mexico
The first known inhabitants of New Mexico were members of the Clovis culture of Paleo-Indians.19 Later inhabitants include Native Americans of the Mogollon and the Anasazi cultures.:52 By the time of European contact in the 1500s, the region was settled by the villages of the Pueblo peoples and groups of Navajo, Apache and Ute.6,48

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado assembled an enormous expedition at Compostela in 1540–1542 to explore and find the mystical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola as described by Fray Marcos de Niza.[12]:19–24 The name Nuevo México was first used by a seeker of gold mines named Francisco de Ibarra who explored far to the north of Mexico in 1563 and reported his findings as being in "a New Mexico". Juan de Oñate officially established the name when was appointed the first governor of the new Province of New Mexico in 1598.36–37 In 1598 he founded the San Juan de los Caballeros colony, the first permanent European settlement in the future state of New Mexico, on the Rio Grande near Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.:37 Oñate extended El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, "Royal Road of the Interior," by 700 miles (1,100 km) from Santa Bárbara, Chihuahua to his remote colony.:49

 
Wagon in the mechanics corral of Fort Union National Monument.The settlement of Santa Fe was established at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains around 1608.182 The city, along with most of the settled areas of the state, was abandoned by the Spanish for 12 years (1680–1692) as a result of the successful Pueblo Revolt. After the death of the Pueblo leader Popé, Diego de Vargas restored the area to Spanish rule.:68–75 While developing Santa Fe as a trade center, the returning settlers founded Albuquerque in 1706 from existing surrounding communities,:84 naming it for the viceroy of New Spain, Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, 10th Duke of Alburquerque.

As a part of New Spain, the claims for the province of New Mexico passed to independent Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence.:109 The Republic of Texas claimed the portion east of the Rio Grande when it seceded from Mexico in 1836. Texas was separated from New Mexico by the Comancheria and its only attempt to establish a presence or control in the claimed territory was the failed Texas Santa Fe Expedition. The extreme northeastern part of New Mexico was originally ruled by France, and sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Spanish population increased rapidly, possibly to 25,000 by 1800. The Apache and Comanche raids on Hispanic settlers were common until well into the period of U.S. occupation.

Following the Mexican-American War, from 1846–1848 and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, Mexico ceded its mostly unsettled northern holdings, today known as the American Southwest and California, to the United States of America.:132 In the Compromise of 1850 Texas ceded its claims to the area lying east of the Rio Grande in exchange for ten million dollars.:135 The United States acquired the southwestern boot heel of the state and southern Arizona below the Gila river in the mostly desert Gadsden Purchase of 1853.:136

Congress admitted New Mexico as the 47th state in the Union on January 6, 1912.:166

 
Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos, New Mexico.During World War II, the first atomic bombs were designed and manufactured at Los Alamos and the first was tested at Trinity site in the desert on the White Sands Proving Grounds between Socorro and Alamogordo.:179–180

Historical populations
Census Pop.   %±
1850 61,547  —
1860 93,516  51.9%
1870 91,874  −1.8%
1880 119,565  30.1%
1890 160,282  34.1%
1900 195,310  21.9%
1910 327,301  67.6%
1920 360,350  10.1%
1930 423,317  17.5%
1940 531,818  25.6%
1950 681,187  28.1%
1960 951,023  39.6%
1970 1,017,055  6.9%
1980 1,303,302  28.1%
1990 1,515,069  16.2%
2000 1,819,046  20.1%
Est. 2008 1,984,356  9.1%
Sources: 1850–1990, 2000
New Mexico has benefited from federal government spending. It is home to three Air Force bases, White Sands Missile Range, and the federal research laboratories Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The state's population grew rapidly after World War II, going from 531,818 in 1940 to 1,819,046 in 2000. Employment growth areas in New Mexico include microelectronics, call centers, and Indian casinos.

Demographics
See also: List of cities in New Mexico  and New Mexico locations by per capita income
 Population
 
New Mexico Population Density Map.The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated New Mexico's population at 1,984,356, which represents an increase of 165,315, or 9.1%, since the last census in 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 114,583 people (that is 235,551 births minus 120,968 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 59,499 people into the state.Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 34,375 people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 25,124 people.

The center of population of New Mexico is located in Torrance County, in the town of Manzano.

7.2% of New Mexico's population was reported as under 5 years of age, 28% under 18, and 11.7% were 65 or older. Females make up approximately 50.8% of the population.

As of 2006, 8.2% of the residents of the state were foreign-born.

Important cities and counties
 
Albuquerque, located in central New Mexico, hosts the University of New Mexico and Sandia National Laboratories. Albuquerque is the largest city in the state.
Las Cruces, located in southern New Mexico, hosts New Mexico State University and is the second most populous city in the state.
Rio Rancho, located in the Albuquerque Metro Area. Rio Rancho is New Mexico's third largest and fastest growing city and is the site of Intel's Fab 11X, the largest and most advanced semiconductor plant in the world.
Santa Fe, approximately 60 miles North-Northeast of Albuquerque, it is the capital and the state's fourth largest city.
Roswell is located in southeastern New Mexico and is the fifth largest city in the state.The 10 Most Populous New Mexico Cities and Towns
2008 Census Bureau estimates Rank   City   County   Population  
1 Albuquerque Bernalillo County 521,999
2 Las Cruces Doña Ana County 91,865
3 Rio Rancho Sandoval County 79,655
4 Santa Fe Santa Fe County 71,831
5 Roswell Chaves County 46,198
6 Farmington San Juan County 42,637
7 Alamogordo Otero County 35,757
8 Clovis Curry County 32,352
9 Hobbs Lea County 30,476
10 Carlsbad Eddy County 25,629
The 5 Most Populous New Mexico Counties
2008 Census Bureau estimates Rank   County   Population
within
county limits   Land Area
sq. miles   Population
Density
per sq mi   Largest city  
1 Bernalillo County 635,139 1,166 540 Albuquerque
2 Doña Ana County 201,603 3,807 52 Las Cruces
3 Santa Fe County 143,937 1,909 75 Santa Fe
4 San Juan County 122,500 5,514 22 Farmington
5 Sandoval County 122,298 3,710 32 Rio Rancho

Race and ancestry
 This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2008)

According to the Census Bureau, 1.5% of the population is Multiracial/Mixed-Race, a population larger than both the Asian and NHPI population groups In 2008 New Mexico had the highest percentage (45%) of Hispanics of any state, with 83% of these native-born and 17% foreign-born The state also has a large Native American population, third, in percentage, behind Alaska and Oklahoma.

According to estimates from the United States Census Bureau's Population Estimate Program, on July 1, 2007 the population of New Mexico was 1,969,915, and the number of New Mexicans of these single races were: White, 1,663,821 (84.46%); Black, 56,083 (2.85%); American Indian or Alaskan Native, 186,256 (9.46%); Asian, 27,722 (1.41%); and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 2,787 (0.14%). There were 33,246 (1.69%) of two or more races. Whites are broken into Hispanic and non-Hispanic. There were 874,688 (44.40%) Hispanics. White persons not Hispanic 833,274 (42.3%).

According to the 2000 United States Census,:6 the most commonly claimed ancestry groups in New Mexico were: Mexican (16.3%), American Indian (10.3%), German (9.8%), Hispanic (9.4%), and Spanish (9.3%).

Languages
According the 2000 U.S. Census, 28.76% of the population aged 5 and older speak Spanish at home, while 4.07% speak Navajo. Speakers of New Mexican Spanish dialect are mainly descendants of Spanish colonists who arrived in New Mexico in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

New Mexico is commonly thought to have Spanish as an official language alongside English, due to the widespread usage of Spanish in the state. Although the original state constitution of 1912 provided for a temporarily bilingual government, New Mexico has no official language. Nevertheless, the state government publishes a driver's manual as well as ballots in both languages (they are required to publish ballots in Spanish by federal law).

The constitution provided that, for the following twenty years, all laws passed by the legislature be published in both Spanish and English, and thereafter as the legislature should provide.

Prior to 1967, notices of statewide and county elections were required to be printed in English and "may be printed in Spanish." Additionally, many legal notices today are required to be published in both English and Spanish.

In 1995, New Mexico adopted a State Bilingual Song, New Mexico - Mi Lindo Nuevo México.:75,81

Religion
Religious affiliations
 
San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is the oldest standing church structure in the United States. The adobe walls were constructed around A.D. 1610.According to a report compiled by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, the largest denominations in 2000 were the Catholic Church with 670,511; the Southern Baptist Convention with 132,675; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 42,261 (63,987 year-end 2007) ; and the United Methodist Church with 41,597 adherents.[34] According to a 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center, the most common self-reported religious affiliation of New Mexico residents are::100

Roman Catholic – 26%
Protestant
Mainline – 15%
Evangelical – 25%
Other Protestant – 2%
LDS (Mormon) – 3%
Jewish – 2%
Buddhist – 2%
Other Religions – 3%
Unaffiliated – 22%
 Catholic Church hierarchy
 
The Santa Cruz Church one of the oldest churches in the state built in 1733, located in Santa Cruz, New Mexico near Espanola. The Spanish name for the church is "La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada".Within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, New Mexico belongs to the Ecclesiastical Province of Santa Fe. New Mexico has three dioceses, one of which is an archdiocese:

Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Diocese of Gallup
Diocese of Las Cruces
Economy
Main article: Economy of New Mexico
 
New Mexico State Quarter circulated in late 2008.Oil and gas production, tourism, and federal government spending are important drivers of the state economy. State government has an elaborate system of tax credits and technical assistance to promote job growth and business investment, especially in new technologies.

 Economic indicators
In 2007 New Mexico's Gross Domestic Product was $76.178 billion (preliminary figure). In 2007 the per capita personal income was $31,474 (rank 43rd in the nation). In 2005 the percentage of persons below the poverty level was 18.4%. The New Mexico Tourism Department estimates that in Fiscal Year 2006 the travel industry in New Mexico generated expenditures of $6.5 billion.

 Oil and gas production
New Mexico is a leading crude oil and natural gas producer in the United States. The Permian Basin (part of the Mid-Continent Oil Field) and San Juan Basin lie partly in New Mexico. In 2006 New Mexico accounted for 3.4% of the crude oil, 8.5% of the dry natural gas, and 10.2% of the natural gas liquids produced in the United States. In 2000 the value of oil and gas produced was $8.2 billion.

Federal government
 
The F-22 Raptor is flown by the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB.Federal government spending is a major driver of the New Mexico economy. In 2005 the federal government spent $2.03 on New Mexico for every dollar of tax revenue collected from the state. This rate of return is higher than any other state in the Union.

Many of the federal jobs relate to the military; the state hosts three air force bases (Kirtland Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, and Cannon Air Force Base); a testing range (White Sands Missile Range); and an army proving ground and maneuver range (Fort Bliss - McGregor Range). A May 2005 estimate by New Mexico State University is that 11.65% of the state's total employment arises directly or indirectly from military spending. Other federal installations include the technology labs of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

Economic incentives
New Mexico provides a number of economic incentives to businesses operating in the state, including various types of tax credits and tax exemptions. Most of the incentives are based on job creation.

New Mexico law allows governments to provide land, buildings, and infrastructure to businesses to promote job creation. Several municipalities have imposed an Economic Development Gross Receipts Tax (a form of Municipal Infrastructure GRT) that is used to pay for these infrastructure improvements and for marketing their areas.

The state provides financial incentives for film production. The New Mexico Film Office estimated at the end of 2007 that the incentive program had brought more than 85 film projects to the state since 2003 and had added $1.2 billion to the economy.

 State taxes
Beginning in 2008, personal income tax rates for New Mexico range from 1.7% to 4.9%, within four income brackets. Beginning in 2007, active-duty military salaries are exempt from the state income tax.

New Mexico imposes a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) on many transactions, which many even include some governmental receipts. This resembles a sales tax but unlike the sales taxes in many states it applies to services as well as tangible goods. Normally, the provider or seller passes the tax on to the purchaser, however legal incidence and burden apply to the business, as an excise tax. GRT is imposed by the state and there may an additional locality component to produce a total tax rate. As of July 1, 2008 the combined tax rate ranged from 5.125% to 8.4375%.

Property tax is imposed on real property by the state, by counties, and by school districts. In general, personal-use personal property is not subject to property taxation. On the other hand, property tax is levied on most business-use personalty. The taxable value of property is 1/3 of the assessed value. A tax rate of about 30 mills is applied to the taxable value, resulting in an effective tax rate of about 1%. In the 2005 tax year the average millage was about 26.47 for residential property and 29.80 for non-residential property. Assessed values of residences cannot be increased by more than 3% per year unless the residence is remodeled or sold.

 Transportation
New Mexico has long been an important corridor for trade and migration. The builders of the ruins at Chaco Canyon also created a radiating network of roads from the mysterious settlement. Chaco Canyon's trade function shifted to Casas Grandes in the present-day Mexican state of Chihuahua, however, north-south trade continued. The pre-Columbian trade with Mesoamerican cultures included northbound exotic birds, seashells and copper. Turquoise, pottery, and salt were some of the goods transported south along the Rio Grande. Present-day New Mexico's pre-Columbian trade is especially remarkable for being undertaken on foot. The north-south trade route later became a path for colonists with horses arriving from New Spain as well as trade and communication. The route was called El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.

 
Santa Fe Trail in Cimarron, New Mexico.The Santa Fe Trail was the 19th century US territory's vital commercial and military highway link to the Eastern United States. All with termini in Northern New Mexico, the Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail and the Old Spanish Trail are all recognized as National Historic Trails. New Mexico's latitude and low passes made it an attractive east-west transportation corridor. As a territory, the Gadsden Purchase increased New Mexico's land area for the purpose of the construction of a southern transcontinental railroad, that of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Another transcontinental railroad was completed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The railroads essentially replaced the earlier trails but brought on a population boom. Early transcontinental auto trails later crossed the state bringing more migrants. Railroads were later supplemented or replaced by a system of highways and airports. Today, New Mexico's Interstate Highways approximate the earlier land routes of the Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail and the transcontinental railroads.

 Road
 
New Mexico highways.
Gallup, New Mexico along old U.S. Route 66.The automobile changed the character of New Mexico, marking the start of large scale immigration to the state from elsewhere in the United States. Settlers moving West during the Great Depression and post-World War II American culture immortalized the National Old Trails Highway, later U.S. Route 66. Today, the automobile is heavily relied upon in New Mexico for transportation.

New Mexico had 59,927 route miles of highway as of the year 2000, of which 7,037 receive federal-aid. In that same year there were 1,003 miles (1,614 km) of freeways, of which 1000 were the route miles of Interstate Highways 10, 25 and 40. The former number has increased with the upgrading of roads near Pojoaque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces to freeways. The fatality rate, in terms of persons killed per 100 million lane miles traveled, in the year 2000 was 1.9 percent. This is approximately the same as Wyoming, but higher than Massachusetts (0.8 percent) and lower than Mississippi (2.7 percent).Notable bridges include the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos. As of 2001, 703 highway bridges, or one percent, were declared "structurally deficient" or "structurally obsolete".

Rural and intercity public transportation by road is provided by Americanos USA, LLC, Greyhound Lines and several government operators.

See also: Speed limits in the United States#New Mexico and List of New Mexico highways
 Urban mass transit
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is a commuter rail system serving the metropolitan area of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It began operation on July 14, 2006. The system runs from Belen to downtown Santa Fe. Larger cities in New Mexico typically have some form of public transportation by road, ABQ RIDE is the largest such system in the state.

See also: Category:Bus transportation in New Mexico
 Rail
There were 2,354 route miles of railroads in the year 2000, this number increases with the opening of the Rail Runner's extension to Santa Fe. In addition to local railroads and other tourist lines, the state jointly owns and operates a heritage narrow-gauge steam railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, with the state of Colorado. Narrow gauge railroads once connected many communities in the northern part of the state, from Farmington to Santa Fe.110 No fewer than 100 railroads of various names and lineage have operated in the jurisdiction at some point.8 New Mexico's rail transportation system reached its height in terms of length following admission as a state; in 1914 eleven railroads operated 3124 route miles.[61]:10

 
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.Railroad surveyors arrived in New Mexico in the 1850s.The first railroads incorporated in 1869.9 The first operational railroad, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), entered the territory by way of the lucrative and contested Raton Pass in 1878. It eventually reached El Paso, Texas in 1881 and with the Southern Pacific Railroad created the nation's second transcontinental railroad with a junction at Deming. The Southern Pacific Railroad entered the territory from the Territory of Arizona in 1880.:9, 18, 58-59 The Denver & Rio Grande Railway, who would generally only use narrow gauge equipment in New Mexico, entered the territory from Colorado and began service to Espanola on December 31, 1880.:95-96  These first railroads were built as long-distance corridors, later railroad construction also targeted resource extraction.:8-11

See also: List of New Mexico railroads
 Freight
New Mexico is served by two class I railroads, the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. Combined, they operate 2,200 route miles of railway in the state.

 Passenger
 
The railway station in Tucumcari.A commuter rail operation, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, connects the state's capital, its largest city and other communities. The privately-operated state owned railroad began operations in July 2006. The BNSF Railway's entire line from Belen to Raton, New Mexico was sold to the state, partially for the construction of phase II of this operation, which opened in December 2008. Phase II of Rail Runner extended the line northward to Santa Fe from the Sandoval County station, the northernmost station under Phase I service. The service now connects Santa Fe, Sandoval, Bernalillo, and Valencia Counties. The trains connect Albuquerque's population base and central business district to downtown Santa Fe with up to eight roundtrips in a day. The section of the line running south to Belen is served less frequently. Rail Runner operates scheduled service seven days per week.

With the rise of rail transportation many settlements grew or were founded and the territory became a tourist destination. As early as 1878, the ATSF promoted tourism in the region with emphasis on Native American imagery.:64 Named trains often reflected the territory they traveled: Super Chief, the streamlined successor to the Chief; Navajo, an early transcontinental tourist train; and Cavern, a through car operation connecting Clovis and Carlsbad (by the early 1950s as train 23-24)[49-5051, were some of the named passenger trains of the ATSF that connoted New Mexico.

Passenger train service once connected nine of New Mexico's present ten most populous cities (the exception is Rio Rancho), while today passenger train service only connects two: Albuquerque and Santa Fe. With the decline of most intercity rail service in the United States in the late 1960s, New Mexico was left with minimal services. No less than six daily long-distance roundtrip trains supplemented by many branch line and local trains served New Mexico in the early 1960s. Declines in passenger revenue, but not necessarily ridership, prompted many railroads to turn over their passenger services in truncated form to Amtrak, a state owned enterprise. Amtrak, also known as the National Passenger Railroad Corporation, began operating the two extant long-distance routes in May 1971. Resurrection of passenger rail service from Denver to El Paso, a route once plied in part by the ATSF's El Pasoan:37, has been proposed over the years. As early as the 1980s former Governor Toney Anaya proposed building a high-speed rail line connecting the two cities with New Mexico's major cities.Front Range Commuter Rail is a project to connect Wyoming and New Mexico with high-speed rail.

 
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is a commuter rail operation train that runs along the Central Rio Grande Valley.Amtrak's Southwest Chief passes through daily at stations in Gallup, Albuquerque, Lamy, Las Vegas, and Raton, offering connections to Los Angeles, Chicago and intermediate points. The Southwest Chief is the fastest Amtrak long distance train, being permitted a maximum speed of 90 mph in various places on the tracks of the BNSF Railway. It also operates on New Mexico Rail Runner Express trackage. The Southwest Chief is the successor to the Super Chief and El Capitan.:115 The streamliner Super Chief, a favorite of early Hollywood stars, was one of the most famous named trains in the United States and one of the most esteemed for its luxury and exoticness—train cars were named for regional Native American tribes and outfitted with the artwork of many local artists—but also for its speed: as few as 39 hours 45 minutes westbound.

The Sunset Limited makes stops three times a week in both directions at Lordsburg, and Deming, serving Los Angeles, New Orleans and intermediate points. The Sunset Limited is the successor to the Southern Pacific Railroad's train of the same name and operates exclusively on Union Pacific trackage in New Mexico.
 Aerospace
The Albuquerque International Sunport is the state's primary port of entry for air transportation.

Upham, near Truth or Consequences is the location of the world's first operational and purpose-built commercial spaceport, Spaceport America. Rocket launches began in April 2007.It is undeveloped and has one tenant, UP Aerospace, launching small payloads. Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company, plans to make this their primary operating base.

See also: List of airports in New Mexico
 Law and government
See also: New Mexico local government
State of New Mexico Elected Officials
Governor William B. Richardson III (D)
Lieutenant Governor Diane D. Denish (D)
Secretary of State Mary Herrera (D)
Attorney General Gary King (D)
State Auditor Hector Balderas (D)
State Treasurer James B. Lewis (D)
State Land Commissioner Patrick H. Lyons (R)
The Constitution of 1912, as amended, dictates the form of government in the state.

On March 18, 2009, the Governor signed the law abolishing the death penalty (although the repeal is not retroactive to capital crimes committed before it took effect) in New Mexico after the assembly and senate vote the week before, thus becoming the 15th U.S. state to abolish the penalty.

Governor Bill Richardson and Lieutenant Governor Diane D. Denish, both Democrats, won re-election in 2006. Their terms expire in January 2011. Governors serve a term of four years and may seek reelection for one additional term (limit of two terms). For a list of past governors, see List of New Mexico Governors.

Other constitutional officers, all of whose terms also expire in January 2011, include Secretary of State Mary Herrera, Attorney General Gary King, State Auditor Hector Balderas, State Land Commissioner Patrick H. Lyons, and State Treasurer James B. Lewis. Herrera, King, Balderas and Lewis are Democrats. Lyons is a Republican.

 
The Capitol of New Mexico in 1900, It was later set on fire. Today the building is the Bataan Memorial Building.
The Current New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe.The New Mexico State Legislature consists of a 70-seat House of Representatives and a 42-seat Senate.

New Mexico sent Democrat Jeff Bingaman to the United States Senate until January 2013 and Democrat Tom Udall until January 2015. Democrats Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague and Ben R. Luján represent the state in the United States House of Representatives. See New Mexico congressional map.

Politics
New Mexico is considered a swing state, whose population has favored both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates in the past. The current governor is Bill Richardson (D), who has been in office since 2003. Prior to Richardson, Gary E. Johnson (R) served as governor from 1995 to 2003. In previous presidential elections, Al Gore carried the state in 2000; George W. Bush won New Mexico's five electoral votes in 2004, and the state's electoral votes were won by Barack Obama in 2008.

Democratic strongholds in the state include the Santa Fe Area, the west and south sides of the Albuquerque Metro Area, and most of the Native American reservations. Republicans have traditionally had their strongholds in the eastern and southern parts of the state, Rio Rancho, and Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.
 Education
 
Jerry Apodaca Education Building, the headquarters of the New Mexico Public Education Department
The Zimmerman Library of University of New Mexico.Due to the state's various research facilities, New Mexico had the highest concentration of Ph.D holders of any state in 2000.

 Primary and secondary education
See also: List of high schools in New Mexico
The New Mexico Public Education Department oversees the operation of primary and secondary schools.

 Colleges and universities
Main article: List of colleges and universities in New Mexico
 Culture
See also: List of people from New Mexico
 
Symbols of the Southwest — a string of chili peppers and a bleached white cow's skull hang in a market near Santa FeWith a Native American population of 134,000 in 1990, New Mexico still ranks as an important center of Native American culture. Both the Navajo and Apache share Athabaskan origin. The Apache and some Ute live on federal reservations within the state. With 16 million acres (6,500,000 ha), mostly in neighboring Arizona, the reservation of the Navajo Nation ranks as the largest in the United States. The prehistorically agricultural Pueblo Indians live in pueblos scattered throughout the state, many older than any European settlement.

More than one-third of New Mexicans claim Hispanic origin, the descendants of the Spanish colonists in the northern portion of the state. Most of the Mexican immigrants reside in the southern part of the state.

There are many New Mexicans who also speak a unique dialect of Spanish. New Mexican Spanish has vocabulary often unknown to other Spanish speakers. Because of the historical isolation of New Mexico from other speakers of the Spanish language, the local dialect preserves some late medieval Castilian vocabulary considered archaic elsewhere, adopts numerous Native American words for local features, and contains much Anglicized vocabulary for American concepts and modern inventions.

The presence of various indigenous Native American communities, the long-established Spanish and Mexican influence, and the diversity of Anglo-American settlement in the region, ranging from pioneer farmers and ranchers in the territorial period to military families in later decades, make New Mexico a particularly heterogeneous state.

There are natural history and atomic museums in Albuquerque, which also hosts the famed Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Art and literature
 This section requires expansion.

A large artistic community thrives in Santa Fe, and has included such people as Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, John Connell and Steina Vasulka. The capital city has museums of Spanish colonial, international folk, Navajo ceremonial, modern Native American, and other modern art. Another museum honors late resident Georgia O'Keeffe. Colonies for artists and writers thrive, and the small city teems with art galleries. In August, the city hosts the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which is the oldest and largest juried Native American art showcase in the world.

 
The interior of the Crosby Theatre at the Santa Fe Opera; viewed from the mezzanine.Performing arts include the renowned Santa Fe Opera which presents five operas in repertory each July to August, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival held each summer, and the restored Lensic Theater a principal venue for many kinds of performances. The weekend after Labor Day boasts the burning of Zozobra, a 50 ft (15 m) marionette, during Fiestas de Santa Fe.

In the mid-20th century there was a thriving Hispano school of literature and scholarship being produced in both English and Spanish. Among the more notable authors were: Angélico Chávez, Nina Otero-Warren, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Aurelio Espinosa, Cleofas Jaramillo, Juan Bautista Rael, and Aurora Lucero-White Lea.

As well, writer D. H. Lawrence lived near Taos in the 1920s at the D. H. Lawrence Ranch where there is a shrine said to contain his ashes.

Silver City in the southwestern mountains of the state, was originally a mining town, and at least one nearby mine still operates. it is perhaps better known now as the home of and/or exhibition center for large numbers of artists, visual and otherwise.

 Sports
 This section requires expansion with:
discussion and possibly more teams.
 
The New Mexico Scorpions and the New Mexico Wildcats play in the Santa Ana Star CenterNotable professional sports teams based in New Mexico include the professional teams Albuquerque Isotopes, Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers (baseball), Albuquerque Thunderbirds (basketball), New Mexico Scorpions (ice hockey), and the New Mexico Wildcats (indoor football). The state universities field teams in many sports; teams include the University of New Mexico Lobos and the New Mexico State Aggies.

Olympic gold medalist Tom Jager, who is an advocate of controversial high-altitude training for swimming, has conducted training camps in Albuquerque (elevation 5,312 ft (1,619.1 m)) and Los Alamos (7320 ft (2,231 m)).

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