Thank you to the Great Courses Plus for sponsoring this video. Arizona and New Mexico Two bordering states in these United States. Both are in the heart of the American Southwest. Both are about the same size…New Mexico is just slightly bigger. However, Arizona has more than three times as many people. (A- 7.2 million, NM- 2.1 million), and it’s growing at a higher rate. In fact, Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country (4th fastest), while New Mexico is definitely not. (30th) A big reason why is Phoenix, which is the fifth biggest city in the country. Phoenix attracts all the concerts, all the professional sports teams, all the best comedians, and all the best indie films in theaters that people think they’re cool for seeing. Arizona also has Tucson, which has a larger metropolitan population than New Mexico’s biggest city, Alburquerque. Still, it has an amazing balloon festival called the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Plus Albuquerque is a waayyy cooler name for a city. I just love saying it. Both states are known for their deserts, for both are two of the driest states in the country. (A- 2nd driest, NM- 4th driest). However, both have these little areas that get higher rainfall due to having a higher elevation. Due to these elevation differences, both do have some climate variation. I mean, Arizona has the high plateau in the northeast part of the state, the mountainous region that runs from the northwest to southeast, and the low ranges and desert valleys down in the southwestern part. Its biggest desert is the Sonoran. The Chihuahuan Desert is the big one in New Mexico, and it even creeps into Arizona. New Mexico also has the Rocky Mountains in the north, the Great Plains in the east, and basically high plateau throughout the rest of the state. Where the elevation is high, they also tend to get four seasons. Otherwise, folks have been moving to both states for decades due to their mild winters and generally beautiful weather. Or at least snowbirds just head down there for the winter. Lots of retirees move to the two states. In fact, New Mexico gets more retirees than Florida. Still, the average age in both states is lower than the national average. (A-37.5, NM- 37.7, USA- 38.1) But yeah…both states are part of the Sun Belt, an area across the Southern United States known for milder weather and huge population growth since the 1960s. Oh yeah…hey…I actually made a video about the Sun Belt. Check it out. How about that sunshine? Both get A LOT of it. In fact, Arizona gets the most out of any state in the country, and New Mexico gets the second-most. Hey did you say rivers? Orange- No? Well let’s talk about rivers. Orange- But I don’t really think they care about rivers… Oh cry me a river. Most of the western border of Arizona is the mighty Colorado River. However, due to high water use and being dammed so much, it dries up just southwest of Yuma. The big river in New Mexico is the Big River. I mean, uh, as it’s commonly called by its Spanish name, the Rio Grande. Orange- You mean Grande? (Gronde) Well, Americans often say Grande. Orange- Well Americans say it wrong man Again, go cry me a river.
Both border a foreign country! Mexico, to the south. There is lots of movement back and forth at that border. Especially a lot of movement into the United States from Mexico. Whenever you hear “We’re going to build a wall” the southern border of these two states is often what they’re talking about since there are gaps there. Although, it’s really hostile land there, and dangerous to cross. Thousands have died trying to, often getting lost in the desert and dehydrated. There are approximately 226,000 undocumented immigrants in Arizona and 85,000 in New Mexico. Most of them are indeed from Mexico, but since 2007 there has been a decline of undocumented immigrants from there. Both do have strong cultural ties to Mexico. You’ll regularly see and hear the Spanish language as you travel across the two states. Up until the 1940s, both southern Arizona and southern New Mexico had a majority of Spanish-speakers. Due to the blend of American and Mexican cultures in the two states, many speak a weird blend of English and Spanish known as Chicano English. Northern New Mexico even has both New Mexican Spanish and New Mexican English. And guess what? Both actually used to be part of Mexico before they were states! Yeah, let’s get into a little history here. Before modern-day Arizona and New Mexico were in you know, Old Mexico, they were in New Spain. Before that, home to various American Indian tribes for thousands of years. Some of the earliest known people to settle the Americas settled in present-day New Mexico. In fact, archaeologists found remains near present-day Clovis, New Mexico, and these findings are so significant that people now call them the Clovis People. When the Spanish first explored the area that would later become the two states, they encountered lots and lots of American Indian tribes. Unlike most of the rest of the country, some of these tribes are near their ancient lands today. One of those, the Navajo Nation, today has the second highest membership and the first largest land area of Native American tribes within the country. Their territory spans much of northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico. After the conquistadors came through and, you know, conquered several American Indian nations, they didn’t really settle the area much. However, a bunch of Jesuit missionaries came to convert the locals to Catholicism. The most notable Spanish settlement was Santa Fe. Originally home to the Tanoan peoples for hundreds of years, the Spanish came in and took over the area. They made Santa Fe the capital of the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. After the Pueblo Revolt, the native Pueblo peoples regained control of the area after they kicked the Spanish out. Well that lasted for 12 years, anyway. The Spanish came back. But for the next 100 years or so, the Spanish had a difficult time getting settlers to move to the north part of New Spain. Most of them hung down by Mexico City. After the residents of New Spain declared independence, they named their new country after Mexico City, but dropped the city part. Here is where Arizona and New Mexico later would be. Still, during this time, few folks lived in Northern Mexico, although some Americans were now moving there thanks to the opening of the Santa Fe Trail. 27 years later, and the northern half of Mexico was now part of the United States after it defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. Thanks to the Compromise of 1850, the United States created the territory of New Mexico and settled its border dispute with Texas. For more about that border dispute, be sure to check out the Cynical Historian’s video about the long rivalry between New Mexico and Texas. Anyway, so yeah Arizona used to be part of New Mexico Territory. Thanks to the California Gold Rush, tens of thousands of miners traveled to and through the area. In 1853, in order to more easily build a proposed transcontinental railroad, the U.S. bought some more land from Mexico, aka the Gadsden Purchase. During the American Civil War, the Confederacy claimed the southern half of New Mexico Territory and held onto it for awhile. Well you probably know how that story ended. The Union troops regained control, and Congress created Arizona Territory. For the rest of the 1800s, the two territories helped create what would eventually become the “Wild West” mythology, some of it based on reality, much of it based on exaggeration. Both territories had ranching and mining, and so towns popped up that did tend to be a bit crazier than towns back east. Tombstone, Arizona famously became a boomtown. Due to the discovery of silver nearby, its population grew from about 100 to 14,000 in less than seven years. The film Tombstone does a fairly good job of capturing the excitement of the place, including the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Arizona almost didn’t become a state. In 1912, Republicans tried to get it statehood only as part of New Mexico, but Arizona residents were like “excuse me?” New Mexico became a state before Arizona, but just barely. Both were the last two states to be admitted to the Union in the contiguous United States. When they both became states, hardly any Americans lived there. It was too freaking hot in the summer. Only after air conditioning was invented did more and more people begin to move there. During World War II, the United States built a bunch of military bases in Arizona. Due to this and a blossoming high-tech industry in Phoenix, the state’s population surpassed New Mexico’s population for the first time ever, and it’s been way ahead ever since. Today, 32% of Arizona residents and 49% of New Mexico residents identify as Hispanic or Latino. Over 5% of Arizona residents and almost 11% of New Mexico residents identify as American Indian. So yeah, they are pretty ethnically diverse places. New Mexico residents are more religious. Like all the states in the uh United States, Christianity is the largest religion in both. However, of those Roman Catholic is the largest group in New Mexico while Evangelical Protestant is the largest group in Arizona. Arizona leans more conservative politically, although both states are known to regularly vote for both Republicans and Democrats. The last time Arizona residents voted for a Democratic candidate for President was Bill Clinton in 1996, whereas New Mexico residents have voted for Democrats six out of the seven past Presidential elections. Arizona has a higher cost of living. However, Arizona residents pay less taxes than New Mexico residents, on average. According to Forbes magazine, Arizona is a MUCH better state for business than New Mexico. Well now hold up, though. New Mexico has a higher GDP per capita (A- $38,590, NM- $46,695) Arizona has a better educated workforce overall, although New Mexico has more PhDs per capita than any other state. Both have the exact same unemployment rate, which is higher than the national average. (4.9%) Top industries in both states include healthcare, retail, and education. Arizona has a lower poverty rate. (A-14.9%, NM- 19.7%). Only Mississippi has a higher poverty rate than New Mexico. Both states are known for their amazing astronomical observatories due to having clear skies most of the year. Not only can you stand in both states at one time, you can stand in both of them and two more at one time at the Four Corners Monument, the only point in the country shared by four states. The whole region is even called the Four Corners Region. Near that area and near the border of Arizona and Utah is the legendary Monument Valley, what everyone basically seems to automatically picture when they think of the Old American West, thanks to all the movies filmed there. Arizona wins in the tourism department. It’s the 8th most popular state to visit in the country. A big reason why is the Grand Canyon, one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world. Oh, and it’s part of a national park of the same name. Arizona has three national parks total. New Mexico has one. A lot more TV shows and films are shot in New Mexico, and its film industry continues to grow. And New Mexico has Roswell. You know, the city where a military balloon crashed nearby and everybody thought it was aliens but it wasn’t really but it doesn’t matter because you go to Roswell today and there is the International UFO Museum and Research Center? Way to make money off that, Roswell. Yeah. In case you didn’t know, I’m a big fan of college towns, and both states have two of my favorite college towns ever. Flagstaff, in Arizona, is home to Northern Arizona University. And Las Cruces, in New Mexico, is home to New Mexico State. Most of Arizona doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time. Good for you, Arizona. Culturally, Arizona seems to have more in common with Southern California, while New Mexico seems to have more in common with Colorado. Overall though, both states have a lot more in common than differences, and they are likely places that people will continue to flock to for decades to come. For this video I got to research the good old American West. I’m a sucker for anything related to the American frontier, though, so boy was I excited to find an entire course dedicated to it called “The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy,” on The Great Courses Plus. Orange: The Great Courses Plus, you say? Why yes, this video is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus, a subscription on-demand video learning service with top-notch lectures and courses from top professors from top universities around the world. I keep saying “top” because they are on top man. For example, the American West course I was telling you about is led by Professor Patrick Allitt of Emory University. He’s amazing. But that’s just one course. With a subscription, you get access to a library of over 11,000 video lectures about anything that interests you, from science to literature, to even how to cook. Hmmm, I suck at cooking, so maybe I should check out that one, too. The Great Courses Plus is giving viewers a great offer of a FREE trial. Show your support for my channel by subscribing to The Great Courses Plus at the thegreatcoursesplus.com/MrBeat. Click on the link in the description to start your free trial today. So which is better? New Mexico or Arizona? Comment below if you are from either state. I especially want to hear from you New Mexico folks about Zozobra. I stumbled across that last weekend and boy am I fascinated by it. This video was recommended by not one, but two of my Patreon supporters. That’s right. Austin Rudolph, who is from New Mexico currently living in Las Cruces, but he’s lived all over both New Mexico and Arizona. He wanted me to mention that there’s other great New Mexico attractions like White Sands National Monument. and New Mexico gave us Smokey Bear. Arizona gave us Grumpy Cat? And also a shout out to my long-time Patreon supporter Flabby who lives in Phoenix and loves it there. He loved all the parts about Arizona in this video. Are you tired of Mr. Beat not taking your suggestions? Well, how about you just donate to him on Patreon and he will take your suggestions. At at least $15 a month, you will be heard. Wait, did I just talk in the third person? Mr. Beat thanks you for watching.