Quality of Life

“I love the geography here. We tell people this is the best of Denver and the best of Phoenix. You get the high desert and mountains, but it’s not as hot as Phoenix or as cold as Denver.”

Pat Vincent-Collawn, Chairman, President, and CEO of PNM Resources

Cost of Living

Rio Rancho is the largest municipality in Sandoval County. Rio Rancho’s overall Cost of Living Index rating is 100.2. Overall, the county is not significantly expensive or inexpensive – but offers an excellent quality of life at a relatively affordable price point. To see how the Sandoval County and Rio Rancho compare to other metros in the United States, download the Cost-of-Living Index Quarter 1, 2023 Data below.

Rio Rancho COLI

The American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association (ACCRA) Cost of Living Index (COLI) is based on a multitude of items and produces an index that can be The American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association (ACCRA) Cost of Living Index (COLI) is based on a multitude of items and produces an index that can be compared against other participating cities across the United States. Participating organizations price study items every quarter according to ACCRA specifications. The U.S. COLI base is 100 and Rio Rancho’s Composite Index for 2023 Q1 is 100.2.








Sandoval County offers some of the best schools in New Mexico and increasingly offers a range of in-demand CTE programs and dual enrollment with local colleges. The University of New Mexico (UNM), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) have campuses in Sandoval County.

Both Rio Rancho High School & V. Sue Cleveland High School, located in Sandoval County, are currently ranked nationally on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best High Schools.

The Lottery Scholarship

The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship is for New Mexico high school graduates attending a New Mexico public post-secondary institution of higher education. Created by the New Mexico Legislature and funded from Lottery revenues, the scholarship is intended to make higher education more accessible to New Mexico high school students. For more information, visit the New Mexico Lottery website.

Colleges & Universities

Many post-secondary educational institutions exist within the Albuquerque Metro Area including the University of New Mexico (UNM), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and the New Mexico Highlands University. Additionally, several of these institutions have branches or are based in Sandoval County. For more information, visit the New Mexico Higher Education Department website.

The Opportunity Scholarship

With the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, and more than 25 scholarships, grants, and college financial aid programs available, there are options for every New Mexican to pursue higher education without having to worry about the cost of tuition and fees. For more information, visit the New Mexico Opportunity website.


Sandoval County offers a temperate, high-desert climate where residents enjoy all four seasons and an extremely low risk of natural disasters.

With approximately 300 days of sunshine, Sandoval County gets an average of 10 inches of rain per year and 24 inches of snowfall. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 30. The July high is around 93 degrees and the January low is 21. Sperling’s Best Places rates Sandoval County with a comfort index of 73 out of 100, where a higher score indicates a more comfortable year-round climate. The US average for the comfort index is 54.


Sandoval County has two established hospitals – Presbyterian Rust Medical Center and University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center – that provide a wide range of medical services and treatment options for residents.”

“Presbyterian Rust Medical Center recently invested $34.5 million in a three-story, 109,000-square-foot second Physician Office Building. New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center recently opened the UNM Center of Excellence for Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation. The 50,000-square-foot teaching hospital, includes a research laboratory, X-rays, patient exam rooms, two bio-safety level 2 workstations, a cadaver lab and a high-tech HydroWorx pool for physical rehab. Since 2008, more than $600 million has been invested in hospitals and clinics in Sandoval County, including a new, state-of-the-art cancer center.


The Safest Communities

Sandoval County and Rio Rancho are known for their low crime rates and for being among the safest places in New Mexico. In fact, both Corrales and Rio Rancho are both consistently ranked in the top 10 safest cities in the state by Safewise, while Sandoval County is ranked #2 for safest New Mexico counties.

Rio Rancho Annual Crime Data

Violent Crimes per 1,000 Residents: 2.0
Property Crimes per 1,000 Residents: 16.37

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2018


Sandoval County has attracted award-winning local, regional, and national home builders, which has resulted in a wide range of housing options. The county has maintained its reputation and marketability of affordable housing while building a name for itself in high-end real estate.

According to the US Census Bureau, the median home value in Sandoval County was $180,200 in 2016.

Housing Statistics

Housing units in 2016: 55,246
Homeownership rate, 2012-2016: 81.7%
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2012-2016: $176,700
Persons per household, 2012-2016: 2.83

For more housing information by community, or to search for a property, visit the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.