The Forecast

By 2040, the MRCOG region is expected to reach 1.375 million people and 582,000 jobs. The table below shows the 2040 forecast for population, housing and employment by county.

Socioeconomic Forecast by County, 2040

2040 Forecast
Population Housing Unites
Total Employment
Bernalillo 987,080 411,013 474,351
Sandoval 220,881 91,607 75,260
Santa Fe
17,661 7,478 2,486
Torrance 21,788 10,355 4,832
Valencia 127,981 52,152 25,671
Total 1,375,391 572,605 582,600

*The regional population projection is based on an aggregated population projection developed by UNM-GPS in 2012. The county and sub-county level population forecast and the regional employment forecast is developed by MRCOG.

While growth has slowed substantially since 2008, the forecast assumes that in time, migration will rebound and employment growth will resume as the region continues to emerge from the lingering impacts of the Great Recession.

The counties that make up the MRCOG region are diverse in size and character and exhibit differences in the expected magnitude and pace of new growth. Table 2 displays forecast population and employment growth by county.

Forecast Growth by County, 2012 to 2040

Area Population Growth
Population Percent Change
Employment Growth
Employment Percent Change
Bernalillo 311,532 46% 132,899 39%
Sandoval 84,931 62% 41,191 121%
Santa Fe
7,393 72% 923 59%
Torrance 5,601 35% 707 17%
Valencia 50,618 65% 9,971 64%
Total 460,075 50% 185,691 47%

Bernalillo County

At the heart of the metropolitan area, Bernalillo County is expected to grow by over 300,000 people and 132,000 jobs, capturing 68 percent of the region’s population growth and 72 percent of its job growth between 2012 and 2040. As such, Bernalillo County will continue to retain and attract the majority of people and jobs within the region.

Sandoval County

Sandoval County is forecast to gain 85,000 people and 40,000 jobs. While the population growth continues to be strong (62 percent), it is not expected to sustain the same pace that it has seen over the past several decades. Employment growth, however, will be more substantial than the past, as it is forecast to more than double its current job base. This growth is driven by the City of Rio Rancho, which is expected to attract new jobs in order to meet the demands of a growing population. This is already evidenced by its rapidly expanding health services sector.

Santa Fe County

Southern Santa Fe County is expected to see the fastest pace of population growth, growing by 72 percent or over 7,000 people. Its small population base means that relatively modest increases result in a higher growth rate. In addition, the greater Edgewood area offers land availability, amenities associated with a more rural lifestyle, and access to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Torrance County

The forecast for Torrance County assumes moderate population growth and slow job growth over the forecast period. Between 2000 and 2010, Torrance County experienced population loss which has continued since the 2010 decennial census.

Valencia County

Valencia County will see fast paced growth in both population (65 percent) and employment (64 percent). Along with proximity to Albuquerque and a largely rural lifestyle, Valencia County has the advantage of transit service by the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, a UNM campus, and several larger employers.