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Old 02-14-2008, 12:32 AM
 
907 posts, read 1,789,448 times
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hi again! it's getting very close to job hunting time, and so i'm just reviewing my short list of cities that i'm considering.

Seattle ~ now out of the picture
Denver ~ top pick thus far, pretty well have decided on it
Albuquerque ~ hmmm seems not so lively, but beautiful and possibly better climate.


so i haven't seen the Denver vs Albuquerque comparison yet, and dare i say, i don't think there even is one on here?... there are things that appeal to me in both cities, and was just wondering what people thought who have lived in or been to both places. this is my last little bit of doubt about moving to Denver, is that boy.. Albuquerque seems nice too. thing is, i've been to and briefly lived in Denver, and i've never been to Albuquerque. but i've read more than once that it's a bit dirtier and more rough. i'm just looking for an ideal place to raise my kids. does anyone know how the healthcare compares?

thanks in advance!
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,913 posts, read 29,411,953 times
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Default from city-data

Denver, 26th largest:
Population (year 2000): 554,636. Estimated population in July 2006: 566,974 (+2.2% change)

Males: 280,207 (50.5%)
Females: 274,429 (49.5%)
Median resident age: 33.1 years
Colorado median age: 34.3 years

Estimated median household income in 2005: $42,370 (it was $39,500 in 2000)

Denver $42,370
Colorado: $50,652

Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $231,900 (it was $165,800 in 2000)
Denver $231,900
Colorado: $223,300

Median gross rent in 2005: $704.
Percentage of residents living in poverty in 2005: 15.3%
(8.1% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 25.9% for Black residents, 21.9% for Hispanic or Latino residents, 13.7% for other race residents)

Albuquerque, 32nd largest:
Population (year 2000): 448,607. Estimated population in July 2006: 504,949 (+12.6% change)

Males: 217,887 (48.6%)
Females: 230,720 (51.4%)

Bernalillo County

Median resident age: 34.9 years
New Mexico median age: 34.6 years
Estimated median household income in 2005: $41,820 (it was $38,272 in 2000)

Albuquerque $41,820
New Mexico: $37,492


Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $149,900 (it was $127,600 in 2000)
Albuquerque $149,900
New Mexico: $125,500

Median gross rent in 2005: $620.
Percentage of residents living in poverty in 2005: 13.7%
(8.1% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 16.3% for Hispanic or Latino residents, 13.4% for other race residents)
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:29 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,767,737 times
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My parents have retired to NM so I've spent quite a bit of time down there. Abq is probably more comparable to Colorado Springs than Denver in terms of size and amenities. It certainly doesn't have the urban scene that Denver does. It also has more of that "Southwestern" feel in all the positive and negative connotations that has.

The climate is nice (about as good as you'll find IMO), better than Denver I'd say except in summer. ABQ is the "other" mile high city in the high desert. The summers can be a bit hot, but it's nothing remotely like Phoenix or even Las Cruces. It rarely gets out of the nineties there. ABQ does have winters with snow, but unlike Denver, winter moisture patterns keep the snow amount less, even if it's often cold enough to snow, and the southern location takes the edge off the arctic air masses felt further north. The mountains to the east gets plenty of real snow and there's in fact a small ski resort accessible via tramway.

The other plus is the great NM food. Much of the Mexican food along the Front Range, though I think relatively good, is really more of an imitation of the NM style, without really doing it justice. To tell the truth, the smaller towns in NM, including Santa Fe, have better food than ABQ itself does, but the city does have some great spots.

Proximity to outdoor recreation is one advantage that Denver has over nearly all cities, but in this case ABQ also has a lot to offer. With the Sandias on the eastern side, and the new Mexico high country to the north, ABQ has a lot to offer in terms of mountains. In some ways, not as much as Denver, but far less crowded: ABQ residents don't really appreciate what they have IMO, and don't get out for recreation nearly as often as Denverites do.

On the downside, the job market is difficult far beyond anywhere in Colorado: jobs of all kinds are scarce and pay is among the worst in the nation. Poverty is alarmingly high: (think Mississippi or worse). Crime is strikingly high, schools are troubled. (On both counts the newer suburb of Rio Rancho offers better options, though very cookie-cutter). Housing is somewhat cheaper than Denver but compared to lesser salary I think not a great value.

I have certainly considered living there, at the urging of parents. There are a few technology companies there, but I've looked into it and found that I'd be taking a huge financial sacrifice to go there, without really gaining anything that I could tell (other than proximity to family). It just doesn't work for me -- maybe it will for you.

From what I can tell, NM is good for retirees (for whom the employment situation doesn't matter), or for those who prefer its high desert climate (which I think is great, but those allergic to snow may still find it not tropical enough for them). Otherwise, I think the Front Range has more to offer, for me anyway.
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Old 02-14-2008, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,725,122 times
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Well what do you know? I'm actually considering moving to Albuquerque myself. Chances are I'll be moving back to Denver (option #1) three months from now when I graduate college, but I'm now also considering Albuquerque as a close option #2. I've been posting a lot on their forum lately; see this thread I started if you want to torture yourself with the workings of my mind: Miscellaneous questions about Albuquerque, especially the last page if you want to cut to the chase. Main thing is I want to live where I'll be the most happy. There are some kinds I'd be giving up, some things I'd be gaining in either place. I'll be following both forums in the upcoming months to see what people have to say.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:12 AM
 
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good points. and by reading in the ABQ forum plus other sites, it just overall doesn't seem quite as good of a fit for my family... but hey, it might be a great place for a weekend getaway. i think i've finally, finally made up my mind. Denver seems to have more for families, which i must remember is the whole point of us moving. New Mexico has more my ideal climate, but it's a relatively short drive. plus it may be harder to find sailing opportunities in NM. sooo... for these reasons and more, i can finally comfortably say that we've settled on Denver!!! go Nugs! i need to practice.. lemme see... Nuggets, Rockies, Avalanche... and most importantly, Rapids! i have longed for a city with a soccer team. as soon as my honey finds a Denver job, i'm ordering season tickets LOL

kk i'm excited now
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,725,122 times
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Here's a question for you, tfox (or anyone else who cares to answer): Is there any part of Denver, any particular neighborhood, etc that resembles Albuquerque in terms of "look," "feel," "vibe," or "culture"? It's probably a very dumb question, but I'm asking it anyway. I don't consider Denver to be a part of the "southwest" (it's just West), but what part of Denver do you think feels the most "southwestern"?
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:35 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,767,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Here's a question for you, tfox (or anyone else who cares to answer): Is there any part of Denver, any particular neighborhood, etc that resembles Albuquerque in terms of "look," "feel," "vibe," or "culture"? It's probably a very dumb question, but I'm asking it anyway. I don't consider Denver to be a part of the "southwest" (it's just West), but what part of Denver do you think feels the most "southwestern"?
I think they're pretty different in look and feel -- as I said, the Springs or especially Pueblo have some more of that NM look than anywhere in Denver. Also, this is coming from someone who knows Colorado far better than New Mexico, so take that with a grain of salt: a native New Mexican in Colorado might have completely different take on things.

In Albuquerque, there's "downtown" Albquerque, which is on the upswing but a far cry from Denver -- it reminds a bit of Colorado Springs downtown (not including Old Colorado City) -- kind of unimpressive actually. There's also "Old Town" Albuquerque that's more for the Tourists -- we don't have anything quite equivalent to that here though many cities do.

Central, as you said yourself, is clearly Albuquerque's Colfax -- they've done up a whole section is sort of a chrome 1950s kitsch that matches a lot of Colfax's faded, run-down 1950s heritage. There's also plenty of the urban grit on Central including the shady motels, etc that will remind of Colfax, but also some more bohemian sections that also will remind.

The area south/se of UNM, including the "Nob Hill" area, does remind a bit of parts of Capitol Hill in terms its alternative appeal, though the latter is infinitely more dense and urban, not to mention larger. Nob Hill even has Central running right through it, just like Colfax with Cap Hill.

In Denver, The Lincoln Park area with the Santa Fe drive corridor has been made to look a bit southwestern and might remind a bit of parts of Abq, though to be honest I think that's a bit of a facade now that the area's become gentrified. Still, Lincoln park has always had a large Hispanic population even in Denver's early days, so that might give you some idea. One thing about Albuquerque is that most of its Hispanic residents aren't immigrants but rather multi-generational citizens, so Denver's immigrant neighborhoods aren't really the best guide to how it would be.

Some of the poorer areas of southwest Denver (I'm thinking of the S Federal/Mississippi area for example), which as you know are heavily immigrant populated, match some similar sections in Albquerque especially in its southern side (minus the big Vietnamese sections, of course). You know what I mean, the crumbling strip malls each with a carniceria, taqueria, lavanderia, pasteleria, and pawn shop. They're both auto-oriented but kind of crumbling in similar ways. I actually think those neighborhoods are kind of cool in sort of a strange way.

As you get further out of the core of both Denver and Abq, you get into the more generic suburbia that characterizes both cities, though Denver's is more of the anytown-usa while Abq has the stucco southwest thing you know so well from Phoenix. Rio Rancho may remind you a lot of a southwestern version of Highlands Ranch with the affluent families seeking better schools and newer construction -- though the look is probably closer though to something like Chandler or Gilbert, AZ though. The older "suburban" areas in the northeast heights are less self-consciously southwestern, and might remind a bit of University Hills or Southmoor in Denver with a similar set living there.

By the way, when you visit Abq, be sure to stop in the Frontier Restaurant on Central. It's kind of a greasy spoon: the food is very cheap and really just so-so in quality, but it's really the experience -- that place has fed generations of UNM students and is kind of an Abq institution. Of course that's only after you've been to all the fine NM restaurants in town -- and avoid Gardunos at all costs -- they've completely sold out for more mass-market/chain appeal. Even in Phoenix there are better NM options.

I hope I don't sound too down on Abq from my previous post. It's actually I think a great town in a lot of ways, and even in the jobs area some careers probably do fine there. It just didn't work for me when I looked into it.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:43 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,862,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Here's a question for you, tfox (or anyone else who cares to answer): Is there any part of Denver, any particular neighborhood, etc that resembles Albuquerque in terms of "look," "feel," "vibe," or "culture"? It's probably a very dumb question, but I'm asking it anyway. I don't consider Denver to be a part of the "southwest" (it's just West), but what part of Denver do you think feels the most "southwestern"?
Not in a positive connotation. There are parts of Denver that are definitely the "barrio." Some of them can be pretty scary. Albuquerque's "barrio" on its south side goes beyond scary--it is just plain hostile. A friend worked there for years as a teacher. She related that virtually every student in the school where she worked was a member of one gang or another. She took early retirement to get out of there, and moved out of New Mexico altogether. I would suspect some of the rougher Hispanic areas of Denver would have about the same "vibe."

Most of the Albuquerque suburbs, Rio Rancho especially, don't look much different than Denver suburbs--the same sprawling crap with just a little more southwestern architecture. Albuquerque is essentially growing the same way Denver has, and is making all of the same mistakes that will make it a pit in the future. Suburbia everywhere is starting to look all the same, and the minor regional differences are just putting different colored lipstick on the same pig.

I love New Mexico, but it is even harder there to make a living outside of Albuquerque metro than it is outside of the Front Range in Colorado, as tfox has alluded. One other thing--all the posts you see on the Albuquerque forum about crime problems there are not just paranoia. I've seen the crime problems in Albuquerque first-hand. It is one of the few cities that I have been in that I really don't feel very comfortable or safe anywhere in the city limits.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,295,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Not in a positive connotation. There are parts of Denver that are definitely the "barrio." Some of them can be pretty scary. Albuquerque's "barrio" on its south side goes beyond scary--it is just plain hostile. A friend worked there for years as a teacher. She related that virtually every student in the school where she worked was a member of one gang or another. She took early retirement to get out of there, and moved out of New Mexico altogether. I would suspect some of the rougher Hispanic areas of Denver would have about the same "vibe."

Most of the Albuquerque suburbs, Rio Rancho especially, don't look much different than Denver suburbs--the same sprawling crap with just a little more southwestern architecture. Albuquerque is essentially growing the same way Denver has, and is making all of the same mistakes that will make it a pit in the future. Suburbia everywhere is starting to look all the same, and the minor regional differences are just putting different colored lipstick on the same pig.

I love New Mexico, but it is even harder there to make a living outside of Albuquerque metro than it is outside of the Front Range in Colorado, as tfox has alluded. One other thing--all the posts you see on the Albuquerque forum about crime problems there are not just paranoia. I've seen the crime problems in Albuquerque first-hand. It is one of the few cities that I have been in that I really don't feel very comfortable or safe anywhere in the city limits.
<sarcasm>Woe is me, I live in Denver. It's soo ugly, soo overcrowded, everybody's a mean transplant from California here to ruin Colorado. I live in a big, overpriced cookie and it's just so awful. Oh, this place is so terrible. I can't go outside because the Mexicans will shoot me. Somebody get me out!!! Help!!</sarcasm>
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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I agree wholeheartedly with tfox's assessment. to me, the weather is pretty near perfect, we have family there as well and have considered several times about moving. Cost of living is lower, but surprisingly similar if you narrow it down to the areas with the best schools or better neighborhoods. For me, I'd only consider it if we could do private school (so factor that into the housing differential). We wouldn't want to live in Rio Rancho and I've found the more affluent areas to be comparable to same in Denver.

The overwhelming issue is the job market. We have more flexibility in our careers than ever before but if things went south there is no way I could get a remotely comparable career there. The government, medical industries appear to be doing very well down there but I'd almost compare it with Ft. Collins- a lot of overeducated, underemployed people.

Beautiful place, highly underrated.
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