Population, 2010: 76,569
Density: 71.7 people/square mile
Area: 1,069 square miles
County Seat: Los Lunas
Incorporated communities: Belen, Bosque Farms, Los Lunas, Peralta, Rio Communities
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.
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), SÃ¼d-Chemie Performance Packaging, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad
Major public employers: New Mexico Corrections Department, Los Lunas Public School District, Belen Public School District
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.
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.
2000 and 2010 Population and Housing
|10-Year Population Growth||15.7%||46.2%|
|High School Graduate or higher||80.1%||76.1%|
|Bachelor's Degree or higher||16.8%||14.8%|
|Average Commute Time to Work||30.1||30.7|
|Median Household Income||$42,044||$34,099|
|Single Family Housing Units||61.7%||60.5%|
|Multi-Family Housing Units||5.2%||4.6%|
|Mobile Homes & Other||33.1%||34.9%|
|Owner-Occupied Housing Unts||80%||77.2%|
|Average Household Size||2.73||2.84|
Source: 2010 Decennial Census, American Community Survey 2006-2010
Five Commissioners, elected by district to staggered four-year terms
County manager, appointed by commission
Roads: I-25, NM 314, NM 6, NM 47
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
Transit: Rio Metro fixed route and dial-a-ride service on week days