New Mexico

New Mexico

  • Most Free
  • Least Free

Freedom Rankings

  • #37 Overall
  • #45 Economic
  • #10 Personal

Stats Breakdown

Change in overall freedom, 2007–2009:
Change in overall freedom ranking since 2007:
Net domestic migration, 2000–2009 (% of 2000 population):
Governor, 2011:
Susana Martinez (R)
Legislature, 2011:
House 33R/37D, Senate 15R/27D


New Mexico is the laggard of the Mountain West, but like several other small, rural states, it does well on personal freedom. Spending and taxes are high, fiscal decentralization is low, and a fifth of the state’s workforce is on state or local government payrolls (this ratio did drop consistently from 2004 to 2008). The state does well on personal freedoms because gun control is light, several kinds of gambling are allowed, private-school regulation is light (but homeschool regulation is tougher by national standards), there is RFRA, asset forfeiture has been partly reformed, a medical marijuana law has recently been enacted, and victimless-crimes arrest rates are low. However, the state recently expanded the ages of mandatory school attendance and enacted sweeping smoking bans. In economic regulation, New Mexico could improve most by rolling back health-insurance coverage mandates and occupational licenses. Eminent domain was reformed in 2007.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Roll back occupational licenses, such as those for teacher assistants, ambulance drivers, mobile-home installers, pipelayers, boilermakers, bartenders, and dental assistants.
  2. Repeal health-insurance mandated coverages for services such as lay midwives, acupuncturists, TMJ treatment, bone-mass measurement, home health care, and IVF.
  3. Spending on higher education, police, and corrections is high; these areas should be targeted for reduction with the savings applied toward cutting the gross-receipts tax.
State Freedom Calculator

You know how free your state is today, but how free could it be in the future? Here are four policies from each area of the index--fiscal, regulatory, and paternalist--that allow you to play policy maker. Select from the options below and observe as your state's rankings in economic, personal, and overall freedom will be recalculated in real time and your state's ranking will rise or fall depending on your choices.

Fiscal Policies
Actual Value: 9.6%
Actual Value: 20.0%
Actual Value: 29.0%
Actual Value: 0.185
Regulatory Policies
Actual Value: 3.1
Actual Value: 49.30%
Actual Value: 27.28%
Actual Value: 3
Paternalist Policies
Actual Value: -2.36
Actual Value: 0
Actual Value: $0.91
Actual Value: 0
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