Valencia County

Statistics

  • Area: 1,069 square miles
  • County Seat: Los Lunas
  • Density: 70.8 people per square mile
  • Incorporated communities: Belen, Bosque Farms, Los Lunas, Peralta, Rio Communities
  • Population, 2015: 75,737

About

Valencia County, traditionally agricultural, has become increasingly diversified. The Village of Los Lunas has become the county's commercial center as well as a growing satellite community for the Albuquerque metro area. The City of Belen, farther south, maintains its identity as a transportation and agricultural center. Residents cherish a quality of life that's both country and cool in Valencia County - access to big-city amenities but rural in character.

Besides Los Lunas and Belen, the county includes Tomé, site of the University of New Mexico-Valencia campus; Peralta; Isleta Pueblo, one of the state's largest pueblos; and the state's newest incorporated community, Rio Communities.

Economy

While many - especially in northern Valencia County - commute to jobs in Albuquerque, Valencia County has drawn industries needing room to expand. The attractions are low-cost industrial sites, easy transportation access, available work force, affordable housing and a positive business climate.

  • Major private employers: Wal-Mart distribution center, Wall-Colmonoy (metal alloys), Süd-Chemie Performance Packaging, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad
  • Major public employers: New Mexico Corrections Department, Los Lunas Public School District, Belen Public School District
A Subdivision in Valencia County

Geography

Valencia County is in the Middle Rio Grande valley, flanked to the east by the Manzano Mountains and to the west by rolling mesas with the occasional volcanic hills.

History

Created in 1844 when the region was still part of Mexico, Valencia County once stretched from Texas to California. It was named for Juan de Valencia, who settled here in the 1660's. In 1852, the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico made Valencia one of the original seven counties. The county has been divided multiple times, most recently in 1981 when Cibola County was created from a chunk of Valencia County's western half.

In 1862, during the Civil War, Confederate and Union forces fought a skirmish at Peralta, and the Confederate Army retreated southward. The Union soldiers pursuing them engaged them again near La Joya, just south of the City of Belen.

Demographics

Population

Valencia County Population Graph

Housing

Valencia County Housing Graph

More Information

Government

  • County manager, appointed by commission
  • Five Commissioners, elected by district to staggered four-year terms

Transportation

  • Air: Alexander Municipal Airport, Belen; Mid-Valley Airport, Los Lunas
  • Rail, commuter: New Mexico Rail Runner Express stops at Isleta Pueblo, Los Lunas and Belen
  • Rail, freight: Burlington Northern & Santa Fe
  • Roads: I-25, New Mexico State Roads 314, 6, and 47
  • Transit: Rio Metro fixed route and dial-a-ride service on week days