• Area: 188.84 square miles
  • Incorporated: 1891
  • Location: North-central New Mexico at the junction of I-25 and I-40
  • Population, 2015: 559,121


The City of Albuquerque, centrally located at the crossroads of two interstate highways, is New Mexico's largest city by far. Albuquerque accounts for nearly 75% of the four-county region's population, and 64% of employment. Since 1960, the city has grown 178%, and stretches from the Sandia Mountains on the east to the historic volcanoes on the west.

Albuquerque is home of the University of New Mexico (UNM), the state's flagship university; Sandia National Laboratories; and Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB). The city has three science and technology parks to capitalize on these assets.

Central Avenue Streetscape


Transportation is a strength, with two interstate highways, commuter and freight rail, an international airport, a general aviation airport, city-wide transit service, as well as a healthy network of bike lanes and trails.

Downtown Revitalization

Revitalization, public and private, has transformed Downtown and adjacent older neighborhoods into pleasant, lively, pedestrian-friendly centers of commerce and activity. Currently, the City is constructing a new Bus Rapid Transit line along the historic Route 66 Avenue corridor to improve transit efficiency and stimulate new transit-oriented development, as have the Rail Runner commuter rail stations.

Old Town Statue


Albuquerque's economy is a diverse mix of service providers, retail, high tech and manufacturing. It accounts for about one-third of the state's tourism, and hosts the internationally known Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in October. Albuquerque is nationally recognized as a movie town, with Albuquerque Studios, along with a 50-acre complex that boasts nine sound stages. Kirtland Air Force Base, located in southeast Albuquerque, is the third largest installation in Air Force Global Strike Command and sixth largest in the Air Force. The base occupies 51,558 acres and employs more than 23,000 people, including more than 4,200 active duty and 1,000 Guard, plus 3,200 part-time Reserve personnel. Kirtland AFB's economic impact for 2000 on the City of Albuquerque was over $2.7 billion.

  • Geography: Albuquerque is located on a semi-arid plateau. The metro area stretches from the Middle Rio Grande Valley east to the Sandia Mountains and the volcanic escarpment on the West Mesa, for an average elevation of 5,400 feet.
  • Major private employers: Presbyterian and Lovelace Hospitals; T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon call centers; PNM; Sitel; Tempur-Pedic World Mattress Co.; General Mills; Honeywell Aerospace; Ethicon Endo-Surgery and Fidelity Investments.


Founded in 1706 and named for a Spanish Duke, Albuquerque began as a farming community of Spanish settlers. After the Mexican War and American annexation in 1846, the government established a military outpost in Albuquerque. The first period of major growth came with the arrival of the railroad in 1880. After 1940, Albuquerque became a center for national defense research. Kirtland Air Force Base was established on the outskirts during World War II.



Albuquerque Population Graph

More Information


  • Chief Administrative Officer, appointed by the Mayor
  • Mayor, elected
  • Nine city councilors, elected by district, four-year staggered terms


  • Electric: Public Service Company of New Mexico
  • Natural Gas: New Mexico Gas Company
  • Sewer: City of Albuquerque
  • Solid Waste: City of Albuquerque
  • Source: Ground water and Rio Grande surface water
  • Telephone: CenturyLink
  • Water: Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority


  • Air: Albuquerque International Sunport, passenger and freight
  • Bus, intercity: TNM&O, El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express, Autobuses Americanos
  • Commuter: New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Belen to Santa Fe
  • Freight: Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad
  • General aviation: Double Eagle II Airport
  • Interstate Highways: I-25 (north-south) and I-40 (east-west)
  • Mean travel time to work: 21 minutes
  • Rail, passenger: Amtrak
  • Transit: City of Albuquerque


  • Higher education: University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and private schools
  • Kindergarten to 12th grade: Albuquerque Public School District and private schools


  • Arts: National Hispanic Cultural Center, with art exhibits and a performing arts center; the University of New Mexico's Popejoy Hall; more than 40 art galleries; about 250 arts organizations; hundreds of artisan manufacturing companies producing furniture, jewelry, pottery, clothing and textiles. Albuquerque is one of six major jewelry-producing centers in the nation.
  • Attractions: The Albuquerque Bio Park includes the Rio Grande Zoo, the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, and the fishing ponds of Tingley Beach, all linked by the Rio Line, an 1890's scale-model train. Sandia Peak Tramway, the world's longest aerial tramcar system, carries visitors 2.7 miles up the west face of the Sandia Mountains. At the heart of Albuquerque lies Old Town - the city's most historic district - with shops, art galleries and restaurants. Petroglyph National Monument preserves nearly 20,000 ancient rock-art etchings by Native Americans and also offers scenic walking trails. Albuquerque also contains a piece of more recent history which includes a lengthy section of famed Route 66.
  • Ballooning: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta each October draws 800,000 visitors each year to enjoy the colorful aerial spectacle of some 750 hot-air balloons rising in beautiful fall weather. Balloonists who live here enjoy accommodating ballooning weather most of the year.
  • City recreation: Along with a robust network of parks, the City's 29,000 acres of Open Space areas welcome walkers, joggers, bicyclists and horseback riders. Maps for walking tours, bicycling, and even one for viewing public art, can be found by visiting the City's official website: Albuquerque has more than 400 miles of bike trails, as well as a BMX track, a skate park, and a shooting range.
  • Mountain recreation: The Sandia Mountains to the east, which reach 10,678-foot at the highest point, offer skiing, hiking, biking and picnic spots. The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park offers trails and wildlife viewing along the Rio Grande.
  • Museums: The Museum of Natural History and Science, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Explora Science Center and Children's Museum, the University of New Mexico's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the National Atomic Museum, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Museum, and the Unser Racing Museum.
  • Sports: Basketball and football at the University of New Mexico, the Isotopes, Albuquerque's Triple-A minor league baseball team, and year-round golf on more than a dozen golf courses.