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Las Cruces, New Mexico

Las Cruces is a city located in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 74,267, making the city the second largest in the state. Las Cruces is the center of an agricultural region irrigated by the Rio Grande, which flows through the city. Las Cruces is also the home of New Mexico State University. The Organ Mountains are to the east of the city. Las Cruces has a mayor-council form of government. It is the county seat of Dona Ana County6.


Las Cruces's name (Spanish for "the crosses") is in memory of an Apache massacre of a party of forty travellers on the site in 1830. The nearby village of Mesilla was founded in 1848 by settlers from northern New Mexico who wished to stay in Mexican territory after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that year. However in 1853, the region was incorporated into the United States with the Gadsden Purchase. Las Cruces was incorporated as a city in 1907.

The completion of the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir to the north of the city in 1916 provided water for agriculture and electricity for urban devolopment. Since World War II the growth of the nearby White Sands Missile Range and its National Aeronautics and Space Administration facilities added greatly to the local economy.


Las Cruces is located at 32°19'11" North, 106°45'55" West (32.319693, -106.765157)1. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.2 km² (52.2 mi²). 134.9 km² (52.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.25% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 74,267 people, 29,184 households, and 18,123 families residing in the city. The population density is 550.5/km² (1,425.7/mi²). There are 31,682 housing units at an average density of 234.8/km² (608.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 69.01% White, 2.34% African American, 1.74% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 21.59% from other races, and 4.10% from two or more races. 51.73% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 29,184 households out of which 30.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% are married couples living together, 15.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% are non-families. 27.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.46 and the average family size is 3.05.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 16.0% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,375, and the median income for a family is $37,670. Males have a median income of $30,923 versus $21,759 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,704. 23.3% of the population and 17.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.7% are under the age of 18 and 9.7% are 65 or older.

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