Coordinates: 32°48′N 103°25′W / 32.80°N 103.42°W / 32.80; -103.42

Lea County
Lea County Courthouse in Lovington
Map of New Mexico highlighting Lea County
Location within the U.S. state of New Mexico
Map of the United States highlighting New Mexico
New Mexico's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 32°48′N 103°25′W / 32.8°N 103.42°W / 32.8; -103.42
Country United States
State New Mexico
FoundedMarch 17, 1917
SeatLovington
Largest cityHobbs
Area
 • Total4,394 sq mi (11,380 km2)
 • Land4,391 sq mi (11,370 km2)
 • Water3.3 sq mi (9 km2)  0.07%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2019)
71,070
 • Density15/sq mi (6/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district2nd
Websitewww.leacounty.net

Lea County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, its population was 64,727.[1]

Its county seat is Lovington.[2] It is both west and north of the Texas state line. Lea County comprises the Hobbs, NM micropolitan statistical area.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,394 square miles (11,380 km2), of which 4,391 sq mi (11,370 km2) are land and 3.3 sq mi (8.5 km2) (0.07%) are covered by water.[3] Lea County is located in the southeast corner of New Mexico and borders Texas to the south and east.

The Permian Basin, 250 mi (400 km) wide and 350 mi (560 km) long, underlies Lea County and adjacent Eddy County, as well as a large portion of West Texas. It produces 500,000 barrels of crude a day, and this number was expected to double in 2019. The shale in this basin lies 3,000–15,000 ft (910–4,570 m) below the surface, below a salt bed and a groundwater aquifer.[4]

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
19203,545
19306,14473.3%
194021,154244.3%
195030,71745.2%
196053,42973.9%
197049,554−7.3%
198055,99313.0%
199055,765−0.4%
200055,511−0.5%
201064,72716.6%
2019 (est.)71,070[5]9.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2016[1]

2000 census

As of the 2000 census,[10] 55,511 people, 19,699 households, and 14,715 families were living in the county. The population density was 13 people per square mile (5/km2). The 23,405 housing units averaged 5 per mi2 (2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 67.13% White, 4.37% African American, 0.99% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 23.85% from other races, and 3.27% from two or more races. About 39.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 19,699 households, 39.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.80% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.30% were not families. About 22.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73, and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county, the age distribution was 30.10% under 18, 10.10% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 20.30% from 45 to 64, and 12.20% who were 65 years older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 100.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,799, and for a family was $34,665. Males had a median income of $32,005 versus $20,922 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,184. About 17.30% of families and 21.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.00% of those under age 18 and 14.90% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, 64,727 people, 22,236 households, and 16,260 families were living in the county.[11] The population density was 14.7 inhabitants per square mile (5.7/km2). The 24,919 housing units averaged 5.7/sq mi (2.2/km2).[12] The racial makeup of the county was 75.0% White, 4.1% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 16.6% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 51.1% of the population.[11] In terms of ancestry, 9.3% were German, 7.6% were Irish, 7.2% were English, and 6.3% were American.[13]

Of the 22,236 households, 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.9% were not families, and 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.30. The median age was 31.9 years.[11]

The median income for a household in the county was $43,910 and for a family was $48,980. Males had a median income of $44,714 versus $25,847 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,637. About 15.2% of families and 17.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.[14]

Transportation

Airports

These public-use airports are located in the county:[15]

Politics

Lea County, like most of the High Plains, eastern New Mexico and west-central Texas, is powerfully Republican. It has repeatedly claimed the status of the most Republican county in New Mexico in Presidential elections. In the 2004 Presidential election, Lea County was the top New Mexico county, as far as percentage, for Republican George W. Bush. He beat John Kerry 79%-20%. In 2008, the Republican candidate John McCain beat Democratic candidate Barack Obama by a wide but slightly smaller margin, 72% to 27%.[16] In 2020, Donald Trump won over 79% of the county's vote, while Joe Biden only received 19%, the worst showing for a Democrat in the county's history. It was Trump's strongest county in New Mexico in the 2020 election. No Democrat has received more than 30% of the county's vote since Bill Clinton in 1996.

However, Lea County was a Democratic stronghold prior to 1968, voting Republican only once in Herbert Hoover's 1928 landslide.

United States presidential election results for Lea County, New Mexico[17]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 16,531 79.03% 4,061 19.41% 326 1.56%
2016 12,495 70.55% 3,930 22.19% 1,287 7.27%
2012 12,548 73.75% 4,080 23.98% 387 2.27%
2008 13,347 71.58% 5,108 27.40% 190 1.02%
2004 14,430 79.37% 3,646 20.05% 105 0.58%
2000 10,157 71.25% 3,855 27.04% 244 1.71%
1996 7,661 52.24% 5,393 36.77% 1,612 10.99%
1992 7,921 48.56% 5,047 30.94% 3,343 20.50%
1988 11,309 65.36% 5,879 33.98% 115 0.66%
1984 14,569 75.26% 4,558 23.55% 230 1.19%
1980 10,727 66.28% 5,006 30.93% 452 2.79%
1976 8,773 56.82% 6,533 42.31% 135 0.87%
1972 12,478 76.41% 3,429 21.00% 424 2.60%
1968 7,415 48.21% 4,751 30.89% 3,216 20.91%
1964 7,033 44.10% 8,862 55.57% 53 0.33%
1960 7,548 48.78% 7,806 50.45% 120 0.78%
1956 5,661 47.66% 6,140 51.69% 78 0.66%
1952 4,738 47.52% 5,204 52.19% 29 0.29%
1948 1,273 21.13% 4,708 78.14% 44 0.73%
1944 1,227 29.44% 2,938 70.49% 3 0.07%
1940 1,286 23.00% 4,295 76.81% 11 0.20%
1936 549 12.22% 3,905 86.95% 37 0.82%
1932 271 9.83% 2,371 86.03% 114 4.14%
1928 537 52.96% 474 46.75% 3 0.30%
1924 138 18.75% 552 75.00% 46 6.25%
1920 255 25.22% 733 72.50% 23 2.27%


Communities

Cities

Town

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Education

School districts include:[18]

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  4. ^ John L. Smith (December 29, 2018). "Oil: Black gold or prime polluter?: Oil leases bring jobs, strains, to southeast New Mexico". Gallup Independent. Searchlight New Mexico. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  12. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  13. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  14. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Public and Private Airports, Lea County, New Mexico
  16. ^ "County Results – Election Center 2008 – Elections & Politics from CNN.com". www.cnn.com. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  17. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Lea County, NM" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2022. - Text list