Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Do Per Capita Incomes in the South Mesilla Valley Compare with Chihuahua's?

Yesterday I estimated Chihuahua (state) per capita incomes in 2007 to be the equivalent of $10,915 in purchasing power, compared to New Mexico's estimated per capita income of $30,706 in 2007. But since salaries and wealth levels are higher in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (nearly one half of the state's population) this raises the state totals significantly higher than per capita incomes in many parts of the state. Dona Ana County, the second largest county in the state, had an estimated per capita income in 2007 of only $25,106, more than 20 percent less than the state average. And even within Dona Ana County there is a wide disparity in incomes from place to place. Just in the South Mesilla Valley (SMV) of Dona Ana County, for example, Santa Teresa had a per capita income in 2000 of $24,561, while its next-door neighbor, Sunland Park had a per capita income of $6576. Also in the SMV, Anthony had a per capita income of $6674, Vado's was $6323, and Mesquite's was $7129. The year 2000 was the last time incomes were measured by the Census Bureau for these communities, so I had to adjust these figures to account for the growth of income that has taken place from 2000-2007.

Since the Census Bureau's annual estimate of county per capita incomes is pretty accurate, I assumed that these communities had increased their incomes proportionately to the county as a whole. Using that criterion, in 2007 Santa Teresa had a per capita income of $34,586; Sunland Park had a per capita income of $9260, Vado had a per capita income of $8903, and Mesquite had a per capita income of $10,039. If these estimates are reasonably accurate, all of these communities except Santa Teresa had per capita incomes below the purchasing power per capita in the state of Chihuahua in 2007.

The good news here is that Chihuahuans have caught up to the standard of living of some New Mexican communities. The bad news is that there are some communities in Dona Ana county where the standard of living is equal to or below that of our Third World neighbor to the South.

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