As the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico carves itself out as one of America's lesser-known treasures. As the United States' sixth most sparsely inhabited state, with a population density of roughly 16 persons per square mile, New Mexico's wide, rose-tinted deserts and mesas are largely untainted by mass development. In spite of its desert facade, New Mexico bears a significant portion of deep forests and mountain wildernesses in its northerly parts. This state also bears the fourth-longest river in America: the Rio Grande.
The New Mexican climate remains semi-arid to arid with average annual temperatures ranging from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to less than 40 degrees in its mountainous regions. In the summer, the deserts of New Mexico scorch at over 100 degrees, but by the wintertime temperatures drop significantly; sometimes reaching below 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the lower regions.New Mexico is inhabited by the greatest percentage of Hispanics in the United States and the third-highest percentage of Native Americans. This strong Hispanic and Native American demographic heavily contributes to the state's culture, even down to a state flag that is a combination of Spanish and Native American symbols. Although English is the de facto spoken language, there is no official language of New Mexico. Many New Mexicans speak either Navajo or New Mexican Spanish, which bears a vocabulary synthesized from Native American words as well as Anglicized additions and even some archaic Castilian terms. Interestingly enough, New Mexico held the highest concentration of PhD graduates for any state in 2000.
New Mexico is regarded as a swing state, with Democratic strongholds in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque Metro Area and many of the Native American reservations. New Mexico voted for George Bush in 2004 and then Barack Obama in 2008. The state's current governor is a Republican. When many people hear the name New Mexico they also hear Roswell, the name of the town made famous for the 1947 Roswell UFO incident. Since then, Roswell, New Mexico has adopted its UFO identity by seeking enthusiastic tourists who are interested in the Roswell mystery. The rest of New Mexico hosts a plethora of museums dedicated to its late artists for tourists to come and enjoy. Georgia O'Keefe and D. H. Lawrence are among the well-known artists and writers who have lived in New Mexico. For those who have an inclination to explore, New Mexico is the host of 25 scenic byways that boast historical, cultural, natural, and recreational value.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan